Thousands brave cold for 26.2 run

Published On: Feb 17 2013 01:04:34 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 18 2013 07:30:33 AM EST
26.2 with Donna marathon
JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -

With temperatures near freezing Sunday morning, most people tried their best to stay indoors.  But not the thousands of runners and volunteers who took part in 26.2 With Donna marathon to end breast cancer.

On one of the coldest mornings of the year, it wasn't only freezing for the runners, but also for the volunteers who dedicated their time and energy.

With an entire day of cold weather ahead of them, volunteers scheduled to man their stations from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. came prepared for the winter blast, dressed carefully for the long haul.

IMAGES: Freezing bodies, warm hearts

Physical therapist Olivia Davis with the Mayo Clinic put on extra layers. She says the runners were cramping up more than usual, their bodies not accustomed to this cold.

"You get more stiff and more likely to cramp up," Olivia said.

Volunteers weren't the only ones wearing layer upon layer.  Family members like Mary Mortensen braved the chilly temps for hours on end as well.

”My daughter is a cancer survivor and I'm doing it in her honor," Mortensen said.

Volunteers say Donna Deegan's national marathon to fight breast cancer always seems to usher in arctic air.

"The race is the coldest of the year," volunteer Tom Bucher said. "They don't plan it like that, but people are still volunteering, having a good time.'

Robert Beringer added: ”We just bundled up, and I have layer after layer on here, keeping warm, cross country ski pants underneath. I'm nice and warm.”

Volunteers say they find the warmth in their heart, giving back.