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Runners Prepare For Chilly Route 66 Marathon

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Runners line up for packet pickup Friday. Runners line up for packet pickup Friday.
Mitch Gregory came from tornado tossed Washington, Illinois to run with his daughter. Mitch Gregory came from tornado tossed Washington, Illinois to run with his daughter.
The Route 66 Marathon is a family tradition. The Route 66 Marathon is a family tradition.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Runners are making their way to Tulsa for this weekend's Williams Route 66 Marathon. Some of the shorter runs are Saturday with the marathon and half-marathon on Sunday morning.

Organizers say 13,000 people are registered, and the race will be held regardless the weather.

The weather is going to be cold here Sunday morning, but for a certain runner from Illinois the winter weather is just a drop in the bucket compared to what he went through last weekend.

Runners began checking in for the race and checking out the latest gear.

Among the crowd is Mitch Gregory from Washington, Illinois, here to run the half-marathon on Sunday with his daughter. That's the same Washington, Illinois that was hit by an EF-4 tornado this past Sunday.

Gregory's farm was a quarter-mile from the tornado and was not damaged.

"The direct hit was pretty much centered through town, coming in my direction, it had turned north and my neighbor's farm was completely lost at that point," he said.

Gregory has had the Williams Route 66 Marathon circled on his calendar for months. His daughter lives in Owasso and the two often compete together.

She's going back to Illinois with him after the race to clean up the town.

Gregory says the response from the people back in Washington reminds him of the effort he's seen here in Oklahoma following our destructive tornados.

"Watching the people gather around themselves and trying to do the best they can just gives me the same feeling that I've seen in Oklahoma through my family being here for so long,"

said Mitch Gregory, runner and Illinois resident.

For Gregory, Sunday's race is not about how fast he can go, it's a test of ultimate will.

"It's more like, 'How tough am I going to be with my daughter for the town of Washington?' We're going to get to that finish line, and we're going to celebrate the thought that we're here and we're going to prepare to go back home," he said.

The temperature Sunday morning is expected to be around freezing. Organizers want to remind runners to wear several layers of clothing and remember to drink plenty of water.

There are also a lot of roads closed throughout town because of the race. Find out more information about the road closures.

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