Runners lace up in honor of Groundhog Day

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- According to Punxsutawney Phil, we're in for six more weeks of winter. However, Grand Rapids Gus, the mascot of the Groundhog Day Marathon, says you’ve got to embrace the shadow, snow, and even a winter run.

“The much cooler cousin of Punxsutawney Phil, who really doesn't care how much winter there is,” David Kern, director of the Groundhog Day Marathon tells FOX 17. “He can look at the calendar and see how much winter there is, we don't need shadows and things like that and so what we decided to do it come out here and have a lot of fun with it.”

The Groundhog Day Marathon and Half Marathon was inspired by the 1993 comedy film ‘Groundhog Day,’ starring actor Bill Murray, who relives the same day over and over again. It first kicked off in 2013, with nearly 500 runners.

"Our course is actually like a loop course,” Kern says. “We go out we go like a 4.4 mile loop and we cross the finish line and then we go out and do the same loop again and cross the finish line. So, you get to relive the same day over and over again until you finally get it right.”

Saturday's frigid temperatures created an obstacle for the runners.

"The weather, when you come out to this event particularly, you never know what it's going to be,” runner Ed Kornoelje tells FOX 17. “Sometimes, we’ve had it with several feet of snow. Sometimes, it's not so much like this, but it's just about getting out there. You slow down a little bit, you don't worry about any speed. But, you just worry about going, going, going.”

The race draws hundreds every year. This year's participants came from more than 20 states and Canada.

"A lot of our runners will go back and they'll tell their friends and then they'll bring them back the next year so they can have the same experience and have the fun," Kern says.

All of the participants of the Groundhog Day marathon received medals and a hot meal after the race.

You can check out pictures of the race and find out more about it by clicking here.

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