Some 45,000 runners from throughout the nation and world descended on the city's streets on a chilly Sunday for the 2012 Chicago Marathon.

Two Ethiopian runners emerged as the race's winners early Sunday as Tsegaye Kebede broke the course's record finish time by nearly a minute to win the men's race, the Chicago Tribune reports. Atsede Baysa narrowly beat Kenya's Rita Jeptoo in the women's race. Kebede's time was 2 hours, 4 minutes and 38 seconds and Baysa's was 2 hours, 22 minutes and 3 seconds.

(Scroll down to view photos from the marathon.)

The 35th annual 26.2 mile race, one of the most prestigious marathons in the world, was anticipated to attract about 1.7 million spectators to the race's sidelines. Its route stretches as far north from its Grant Park starting point as Addison, as far west as Damen and as far south as 35th Street.

What arguably makes the marathon so special are many of the runners who partake in the race and raise funds for various non-profit organizations despite facing incredible obstacles.

Julian Reggans, 24, told ABC Chicago that he was racing on behalf of the Best Buddies program, despite his struggles with an intellectual disability.

State Rep. Deb Mell, 44, also planned to run the marathon despite undergoing a double mastectomy two months ago after being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. The Chicago Democrat is running to raise funds for her church, All Saints Episcopal, where she married her partner Christin Baker last year, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

A group of five Greensboro, N.C. firefighters are were expected to take part in the race in the memory of their late friend and colleague Will Caviness, who collapsed and died some 500 yards from the marathon finish line last year, according to the News & Record. The men raced to raise funds for the International Association of Fire Fighters' Burn Foundation.

Accompanying the race, of course, were a number of traffic reroutes stretching from Lakeview to Bronzeville. The Tribune has a rundown of marathon-related closures. The CTA also ran extra service throughout the race.

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  • Chicago Marathon

    Runners start the 2012 Chicago Marathon Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. With 42-degree temperatures at the start, the conditions were good for a race marked by tragedy and mishap in recent years.(AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

  • Chicago Marathon

    Runners leave the starting line during the 2012 Chicago Marathon Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

  • Chicago Marathon

    Runners start the 2012 Chicago Marathon Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

  • Tsegaye Kebede

    Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, crosses the finish line to win the 2012 Chicago Marathon Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

  • Tsegaye Kebede

    Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, celebrates after winning the 2012 Chicago Marathon Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

  • Tatyana McFadden

    Tatyana McFadden crosses the finish line to win the women's wheelchair division of the 2012 Chicago Marathon Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

  • Josh Cassidy

    Josh Cassidy of Canada, crosses the finish line to win the wheelchair division of the 2012 Chicago Marathon Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

  • Atsede Baysa, Rita Jeptoo

    Atsede Baysa of Ethiopia right, edges out Kenya's Rita Jeptoo left, to win the 2012 Chicago Marathon Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

  • Tsegaye Kebede, Feyisa Lilesa

    Tsegaye Kebede back, celebrates with fellow Ethiopian Feyisa Lilesa (6), after Kebede won first place and Lilesa finished second in the 2012 Chicago Marathon Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

  • Tsegaye Kebede, Chicago Marathon

    Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, celebrates after winning the 2012 Chicago Marathon Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

  • Chicago Marathon

    Runners start the 2012 Chicago Marathon Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. With 42-degree temperatures at the start, the conditions were good for a race marked by tragedy and mishap in recent years. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

  • Chicago Marathon

    Runners leave the starting line during the 2012 Chicago Marathon Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

  • Wesley Korir

    Wesley Korir from Kenya, responds to a question during a news conference of elite runners participating in the Chicago Marathon Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, in Chicago. The race will be run Sunday, Oct. 7. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Liliya Shobukhova

    Liliya Shobukhova from Russia responds to a question during a news conference of elite runners participating in the Chicago Marathon Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, in Chicago. The race will be run Sunday, Oct. 7. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Earlier on HuffPost:

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  • Liliya Shobukhova

    Liliya Shobukhova from Russia responds to a question during a news conference of elite runners participating in the Chicago Marathon Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, in Chicago. The race will be run Sunday, Oct. 7. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Wesley Korir

    Wesley Korir from Kenya, responds to a question during a news conference of elite runners participating in the Chicago Marathon Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, in Chicago. The race will be run Sunday, Oct. 7. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Runners start the Chicago Marathon in Chicago, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Runners participate in the Chicago Marathon in Chicago, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Lilliya Shobukhova

    Liliya Shobukhova, of Russia, crosses the finish line during the Chicago Marathon in Chicago, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. Shobukhova finished first for the women's title with a time of 2:18:20. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Wesley Korir

    Wesley Korir, of Kenya, crosses the finish line during the Chicago Marathon in Chicago, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. Korir finished second with a time of 2:06:15. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Ejegayehu Dibaba

    Ejegayehu Dibaba, of Ethiopia, crosses the finish line during the Chicago Marathon in Chicago, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. Dibaba finished second in the women's division with a time of 2:22:09. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Greensboro firefighters who rode with Capt. William Caviness on Truck 14 stand by his portrait and turn-out gear at Fire Station 14 in Greensboro, N.C., Monday, Oct. 10, 2011. Caviness died Sunday after collapsing near the finish line of the Chicago Marathon, which he was running to raise money for a burn-victim charity. (AP Photo/News & Record, Joseph Rodriguez)

  • Amber Miller, of Westchester, Ill., gestures during a news conference as she holds her baby at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Ill., Monday Oct. 10, 2011. Miller felt contractions a few minutes after finishing the Chicago Marathon on Sunday and gave birth hours later to a baby daughter. At left are her husband, Joe, and son, Caleb. (AP Photo/Daily Herald, Mark Black) MANDATORY CREDIT

  • Runners participate in the Chicago Marathon in Chicago, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Runners participate in the Chicago Marathon in Chicago, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Kayoko Fukushi

    Kayoko Fukushi, of Japan, smiles as she crosses the finish line during the Chicago Marathon in Chicago, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. Fukushi finished third among the women at 2:24:38. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)