Gasparilla race weekend underway in Tampa

- Runners were on their marks and ready to go for the 2018 Gasparilla Distance Classic.

The race-filled weekend draws tens of thousands of people to Tampa each year, to run and to cheer on participants.

Children as young as 7 participated in the 15K run Saturday morning - and even a dog crossed the finish line!

Some racers turned the event into a family affair.

"It's quality time, father daughter time, and it inspires me to see them run alongside me," said Shelton Richards, who ran with his daughters Saturday. 

Runners were warned about the climbing temperatures they would be facing, and were reminded throughout the morning to stay hydrated and to take advantage of the misters along the race route.

It's a message racer Juanita Chalmers took to heart.

"I made sure I dressed in light clothes and dumped water on myself while I was running," she said.  

Thousands of runners are challenging themselves to finish all four of the Gasparilla races including the 15K and 5K on Saturday, then the Half Marathon and 8K on Sunday.

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