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Grant Edwards of Queensland, Australia, shown here competing in the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., was among the participants in the virtual U.S. Coast Guard Half Marathon and Guardians of the Atlantic 5K race this month in Australia.

More runners from Virginia and California took part in the inaugural U.S. Coast Guard Half Marathon and Guardians of the Atlantic 5K race than any other state, including North Carolina.

The race, which was run virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic, drew 11,237 runners by last week’s deadline and 7,657 had submitted a race time as of Monday. Participants have until the end of the month to submit their time for the race.

The inaugural USCG race was supposed to held in Elizabeth City last fall. After canceling it because of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers decided to move the race to this spring and stage it as a virtual event.

Runners from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands registered for the race. Participants also came from 13 other countries, including Austria, Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Trinidad and Tobago.

Elizabeth City, with 201 participants, was the top hometown for runners taking part in the race. However, North Carolina posted only the fourth-highest participation rate with 896 runners. Virginia was tops with 1,217 while California was second with 1,125 and Florida third with 1,087.

Other top states and their number of runners included Texas, 589; Maryland 472; New York, 391; Massachusetts 341; New Jersey, 340; and Michigan, 330.


Chesapeake, Va. was the hometown for the second-largest group of runners: 159. But the race was also popular in Washington, D.C. and the nearby cities of Alexandria and Arlington. They held the next three spots with 283 runners total.

Other top cities included Virginia Beach, 83; Alameda, Calif. 62; Jacksonville, Fla., 69; San Antonio, Texas, 58; and New London, Conn., 56.

The race was popular with both active and retired military personnel as 4,070 used the military discount that was offered to runners.

The youngest runner was a year old while the oldest was 89.

The first in-person running of the half marathon and 5K will be held March 5, 2022. Visit Elizabeth City officials expect around 6,000 runners and some 4,000 spectators to descend on the city for the event.