Chicago Marathon 2012: 45,000 Runners Take To The City's Streets (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

10/06/2012 02:12 pm ET | Updated Oct 08, 2012

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.

Chicago Marathon 2012

Earlier on HuffPost:

Chicago Marathon 2012 Preview

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