HOUSTON -

Runners came off the starting line at the 41st annual Houston Marathon soaked by rain and chilled as temperatures dropped Sunday.

The race drew 25,000 runners for the full marathon and half marathon events.

Most of the runners who spoke with KPRC Local 2 didn't seem to mind the dismal weather.

“We ran in an ice storm,” said race director Brant Kotch. “Started at out at like 31 degrees and ended at 28.”

In fact, Paul Erway, who competed in the wheelchair class, said it was an improvement over his last marathon. Erway said he and a couple of his friends are competing in 50 races this year to raise money for the Christopher Reeve Foundation.

“We did one last weekend at Jackson, Mississippi,” said Erway. “It was cold, 36 degrees, and real hilly, so we really appreciate this flat course here today.”

Even in the cold and rain, spectators like Jack and Ruth Elvig turned out to cheer the runners on.

“We live downtown and we have never seen the stars,” said Elvig. “It’s just exciting, it's running downtown.”

So many runners braved the weather, it took 29 minutes for all of them to clear the starting line.

The full marathon wound 26 miles through downtown, Neartown, Montrose, West University, the Galleria and then back to the City Centre.

It was an Ethiopian sweep at the finish line. Bazu Worku won in the men's with a time of 2 hours, 10 minutes and 17 seconds. Merima Mohammed took the woman's marathon title with a time of 2:23:37.