It's something Dan Puddister loves.
And Sunday, the 50-year-old Sault Ste. Marie resident had a chance to renew his relationship with long-distance running.
Puddister, who was born in North Bay before moving here in 1998, finished third in the half marathon in the 15th annual Run The Great Lakes.
Races are staged along the Sault waterfront and in the city's downtown area.
This marked Puddister's first half-marathon since he suffered a partial tear to his right Achilles tendon while training in September of 2011.
“I really enjoyed it,” said Puddister, who finished in 1:32:03.10. “I felt really strong at the end.”
Stephen Eles of Brimley, Mich., topped the field, winning in a time of 1:14:45.91.
Mir Shafiee of the Sault placed second in 1:28:32.89.
Two other Sault runners rounded out the top five: Robert Larkin (1:32:41.79) was fourth and Mark Wetzel (1:33:01.83) placed fifth.
Asked about his showing, Puddister figured he'd finish with a time “around 1:30 it was okay for an old guy,” he joked. “But I was hoping to break 1:30.”
After beginning competitive running in 1999, Puddister competed in the Boston Marathon in 2002 and has also entered marathons in Ottawa, Toronto and Niagara Falls, N.Y.
As he came back from his injury, Puddister ran a 5-kilometre race last fall and did another last weekend.
“It was so difficult not running,” he said of his time away. “I love the camaraderie that's a part of the sport. We have such a good group of people here. Running is good recreation, it's inexpensive and extremely accessible.”
Meantime, Sault Ste. Marie's Rosemary Baldwin (1:33:55.57) had the top women's time, finishing an impressive sixth overall.
Four other Sault women finished in the top 15.
Anya Mallinger (1:41:51.69) was second among women and eighth overall.
That was one spot ahead of Janice MacKay (1:42:24.17).
Amy Plaunt was fourth among women and 12th overall. Plaunt finished in 1:44:11.37.
Riley O'Neill rounded out the top five on the women's side.
O'Neill's time of 1:45:41.83 placed her 14th overall.
The Sault's Nathan Mudge topped the 10-kilometre field, finishing in 33:34.95.
Adam Fortais (33:47.90), Sean Vardy (34:54.75), Daniel Turco (35:07.28) and Scott McCron (37:49.50) all of the Sault finished second through fifth, respectively.
Meaghan DiAngelo was tops among the women entered. She was ninth overall in 41:38.82.
Coco Mancuso (42:18.68) was second among women and 10th overall.
Three other Sault runners, Lee-Ann Harrison (44:35.30), Sarah Caicco (45:57.87) and Laurie Burrows (47:54.88), followed. Harrison was 18th overall, Caicco 20th and Burrows 24th.
The Sault's Aron Mohammadi won the 5k, finishing in 15:48.82. Nick Adamo (16:00.12), Patrick Heeps (17:55.09), Mike DeVuono (17:58.20) and Nora Beth Saunders (18:31.68) all of the Sault -- followed.
Saunders registered the top women's time.
Sebastien Gingras (18:40.20) of the Sault finished fifth among the men.
Lynnea Lobert (19:38.78), June Byce (20:38.21) and Kara Neveau (21:52.14) all of the Sault -- were second, third and fourth, respectively, among the women.
Echo Bay's Olivia Pollari (22:15.73) finishing fifth.
Sunday's races featured over 400 finishers, who battled low temperatures and high winds.
“That's by far the largest turnout we've ever had, and that's in spite of some really bad weather,” said Doug Richardson, who's served as race director for 14 of the event's 15 years. “We're very pleased by the turnout.”