Pelham Half Marathon and 10K send 739 around the streets of Pelham (with slideshow)

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For God, For Country, For Pelham!

Runners passed handmade crayon signs of encouragement, and families rang cowbells from front lawns. They followed red and yellow lines spray-painted on tarmac through tunnels filled with drummers and cheering police officers. They dodged ice patches, potholes and curmudgeonly dog walkers until they climbed the last slope of Harmon Avenue to the finish line.

With more than 900 registrations, the seventh annual Pelham Half Marathon and 10K on Saturday was the most successful yet. Originating in 2012 with nine Pelhamites from a running group, the race has grown to host competitors from across the tri-state area, college athletes home for the holidays and families from as far as South Africa and Singapore. In the end, when the races started, 436 ran in the half marathon while 303 competed in the 10K.

Stands lined the green in front of the Fifth Avenue gazebo advertising race sponsors such as Red Bull and McClellan Sotheby’s International Realty. Symmetry Physical Therapy set up stations for injured competitors, and Radiate Yoga held a warm-up before the 8 a.m. start.

Shivering bystanders watched as runners set their watches, stretched their calves on the curb and jumped up and down in anticipation.

The USA Track and Field-certified Pelham Half and 10K took participants through the villages of Pelham and Pelham Manor, where they periodically faced crushing hills and passed refreshing water stations. Cars idled in line or skirted past runners as the Boston Post Road, Pelhamdale Avenue, Wolfs Lane, Colonial Avenue and Boulevard all had key crossings.

Flushed runners strode to the finish, many donning Pelham Half shirts or gear from previous races. Each participant was greeted at the end of their run by a grinning volunteer carrying a finisher medal and containers of steaming coffee and hot chocolate.

The Pelham Half Marathon and 10K united Pelham residents as well as businesses, organizations and government. The Daronco Town House served as a bag check and housed the awards for race winners by age group. Downtown Pelham merchants benefited from the hundreds of racers and supporters on the cold Saturday and the whole town was shut down for a morning. The net revenue from participant registration goes to the Pelham Civic Association, which runs key programs that support the community.