For the 1,500 or so runners who gathered in Fort Oglethorpe for Saturday's Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon and Half-Marathon, they couldn't have asked for more perfect weather.
With temperatures in the upper 30s and clear skies for the annual race, overall marathon winners James Pearce and Kaye Starosciak responded with their best times ever.
Pearce is a 31-year-old attorney who works as a Judicial Law Clerk for federal judge Curtis Collier. He finished his eighth marathon with a time of two hours, 39 minutes, 51 seconds.
Runner-up Jason Altman was more than five minutes behind as he finished in 2:45:59.
Starosciak, a pretty 38-year-old pre-school teacher from Canton, Ga., crossed the line in 2:58:17.
Hugh Enicks, a former three-time winner of the marathon who posted a 2:53 in finishing second in Chattanooga's first-ever 7 Bridges Marathon on Oct. 16, was the Half-Marathon winner with a time of 1:19:23.
Shannon Barr was the female winner in the Half-Marathon in 1:29:27.
Pearce ran a 1:17 at the 4 Bridges Half on Oct. 16 and he used it as a tune-up for Saturday's race.
"I was hoping to get under 2:40, so I'm happy. My goal is to run a marathon in all 50 states under three hours and this is my eighth.
"The first 23 miles were really smooth, but it got hard at the end. I was shooting for a particular time today. To also get the win is a nice bonus," he added.
Altman ran his personal best 2:39 in winning at Chickamauga last year and had a goal of running six-minute miles for the distance on Saturday.
He was successful for the first 18 miles, but he started to hit the proverbial wall at that point and missed his goal by several minutes.
"I went out at a six-minute pace and held it for the first 18 miles, but it was a battle the rest of the way," the 32-year-old Knoxville resident who is the race director for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon explained later.
"I was in front for the first 22 or 23 miles, but I saw that my lead had dwindled and James finally caught me.
"Coming around that last corner, my hamstrings really got tight and I had to stop and stretch as I wanted to finish. I've never dropped out of a marathon, but today was as close as I've ever come," he added.
Jack Finley, a 25-year-old assistant manager for Regions bank, was the third finisher in 2:49:57. He too had a personal best time.
"I was able to finish on my own terms, which meant I wasn't crawling at the end," he began.
"It was a solid run as I ran my best time by over four minutes. I'm satisfied that I could break 2:50, but I'm young and this just gets me one step closer to one of my overall goals.
"I'd like to one day be under 2:40," he nodded.
Starosciak was all smiles when she crossed the finish line. With her husband and three young children waiting to greet her, it was a perfect ending to a perfect day for her.
"I ran even splits today as I felt really good from the start. I was hoping to break three hours, so I had a good day.
"I got lost a couple of times, but that's nothing new for me," she said.
Starosciak won here last year in 3:03 before running a 3:01 at Boston in April.
Enicks is a 52-year-old Junior ROTC instructor at Red Bank High School who has three marathon wins at Chickamauga and now two straight wins in the Half-Marathon.
He was ahead from the start and he was still leading when he reached the end.
"It was a gorgeous out there today as I ran exactly what I wanted to," Enicks said shortly after finishing.
"I ran the whole way by myself and pushed myself pretty good, but I slowed down and enjoyed the last mile.
"It was just one of those experiences I wanted to soak up as much as possible and just enjoy the moment," he added.
Josh West, a 29-year-old from Chapel Hill, N.C. who does research at Duke University, was the runner-up.
His previous best time at this distance was a 1:23, so he beat that easily with a 1:20:58.
"It was a beautiful day. It seemed like I was shadowing him for the first half, but he just kept getting faster and faster.
"It was just me and the deer after that," he said, noting that he saw at least six deer along the way.
Barr is from New Jersey and was the Half-Marathon winner in 1:29:27.
Kirkman is a 39-year-old accountant from England who now lives in Canton, Ga.
"I had a fabulous run, but I'm glad to be at the finish line," he said, noting that her time was a personal best by some six minutes.
There were a lot of first-timers in both races, but none were any happier than Kelley McAllister, a 35-year-old social worker at Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton.
"It was an awesome experience as my goal was just to finish today," she explained shortly after completing the distance in 2:03:17.
"It was a little cold at the start, but I had a great time," she added, giving credit to her friend and running buddy Dee Goodwin, who has been the marathon winner here on several occasions.
Cleveland's Anthony Daniell is a 33-year-old house parent at Win Shape Homes, which is owned and operated by Chick-Fil-A.
He ran his first marathon and had a spectacular performance, finishing third in his age group with a 3:10:57.
"This was an amazing course and I loved it," he began.
"I couldn't have asked for anything more. I was hoping to break 3:15 and I finished just under 3:11, so I'm thrilled," he added.
Daniell proved he was ready for Saturday's race last weekend when he took part in the Ragnar Relay, a 196-mile relay from Chattanooga to Nashville.
He ran three legs during the event, but none were any tougher than the one of almost six miles where he climbed Monteagle Mountain.
Mitchell Hayes is a 47-year-old Dalton resident who also ran his first marathon, finishing in a respectable time of 3:28:30.
"I missed qualifying for Boston by three minutes, but I wish I had paced myself better at the start.
"I ran the half-marathon here last year and said I'd never do anything further than 13 miles," he concluded with a smile.
Chas Webb is a 24-year-old civil engineer who works for Hamilton County. He's the president-elect for the Chattanooga Track Club in 2013.
He ran his sixth marathon on Saturday and finished in 3:22:32, which was really good considering the circumstances.
He had registered for this race back in the spring before developing a serious case of achilles tendonitis. He had to take it easy on Saturday after finishing in 3:00:19 here two years ago.
"It started flaring up around the three-mile mark, so I just tried to stay comfortable.
"I was really hurting from 14 miles on, but this is the battlefield and I couldn't give up," he added.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)