About 30,000 runners flooded the city of Brotherly love this weekend for the 20th Annual Philadelphia Marathon. While an international duo took home gold and silver, the man walking away with a third place finish was on home turf.
At 7 a.m. they were off! Thirty thousdand runners testing their limits on the course. They pounded the pavement in front of nearly 60,000 fans who lined the race.
Two hours 17 minutes and 35 seconds later, the first place winner, Abebe Mekuriya, crossed the line. Within two minutes the Ethiopia native was followed by Tesfaye Dube and Nick Hilton.
Twenty-four-year-old Hilton currently lives in Arizona, but he was born and raised in Berks County.
"My first marathon ever yeah," he smiled. "It was interesting to say the least, for sure, it was a lot of fun."
The Exeter High and Lock Haven grad says the grueling 26.2 mile course was rolling and hilly. But he was ready for the elite and experienced competition.
"We started to break away about 15-16 miles, the pack started to thin out and at about 20 there was just the three of us," Nick explained. "And I figured that I kind of had a spot in at least the top three or four, so I just had to hold on."
When the miles got tough, he credits his hometown crowd cheering him on for giving him motivation to push through to the finish line.
"I had a lot of friends and family out in the course, and every time I passed one of them it was just goose bumps," shared Nick. "It was very emotionally charged, and that's what got me through the second half of the race."
On his blog, Nick says he's been training hard for the race since June. Just this week he wrote, "It's been a long road, and this is certainly NOT the end, but hopefully the beginning of a new phase of my career."
"I think third place for my first time is good," he added. "But I definitely want to come back and compete for the win again."
Click here for Philadelphia Marathon results.