Fresno half-marathon offers unique race element

FRESNO, Calif.

Organizers say the event was so popular; they had to turn away between 300 and 500 people.

Cheers and signs kept runners going all over Fresno Sunday.

"What was your favorite part about this whole thing?" "It's the finish line. It's getting to the finish line actually."Jonah Burns of Porterville said.

The race started at 7 a.m. inside Chukchansi Park.

The 13.1 mile route guided runners through parts of Downtown Fresno, the Tower District and Roeding Park.

Gerard Hughes of Visalia said, "It was a nice little tour. It was good."

But, perhaps the most popular and unique race element was inside the Chaffee Zoo,where runners actually stopped to snap photos during the race.

Sarah Walmsley of Fresno said, "I love it. It's beautiful. I love seeing the animals. It's really fun so far."

In fact. organizers say planning a half-marathon inside a zoo is a rare concept, something employees here have been planning for the past six months.

Scott Barton said, "We actually had some staff out each morning to try and get the animals used to this before the race, so this past week, our staff really got into it, running along, anyway, it's gone really well."

Organizers tell Action News at least one runner was taken in an ambulance for possible dehydration. Drivers also had to deal with several road closures.

Still, race organizers say, the weekend was a success. In fact, they plan on making the Eye-Q California Classic an annual event.

"What do you think about next year?" "We're on. We're gonna make it bigger, make it better, we have a couple kinks here and there, but overall minor, compared to the overall weekend," Mike Herman said.

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