Hamilton's Around the Bay Road Race is the oldest road race in North America. This Sunday's race marks 119 years of the race and thousands of participants are already registered for the sold-out event.

We asked our readers to share their stories of why they run the race. Here are some of our favourites.

Health and happiness

Barb Havens told us she ran the race for her own health and the health of others:

"I'm running Around the Bay and pushing myself in the winter to go and run because I am able to run, where as three years ago I could not walk a block without having to stop and catch my breath," she said. 

"I have lost over 100 pounds and I am a new person."

She said this year's run is particularly special because some of her close friends, including a previous Around the Bay regular, are facing ill health. 

"I am also running for a friend whose son has been in and out of St Joseph's hospital and we have come to realize how important St Joe's is and how wonderful everyone there is. That is why I am doing this race this year."

In memory of Mom

Jared Marcus gave up a sedentery lifestyle and started running in 2005. He's battled through injuries and chronic pain to complete three full marathons, three 30 kilometre races, five half-marathons and numerous smaller local races over the past five years.

  "I was officially hooked on running and not even constant injury setbacks were going to stop me," he said.  

"I was hopelessly addicted and determined to run a full marathon before my 30th birthday which I achieved with the Road2Hope full marathon in November 2010." 

While this year's Around the Bay road race will be Marcus's third, it has new meaning this year as he runs in memory of his mother, who died of pancreatic cancer just a few weeks ago.

"I prepared an aggressive training schedule with two goals: set a new personal record for the Around The Bay; and raise funds in support of Pancreatic cancer research," he said. 

"My only wish has been that my mother would live to see me cross the finish line.  Unfortunately my mother passed away on Saturday February 23rd, 2013 and my mother will not get to see me reach this goal.  The Around The Bay Road Race will mark the one month anniversary of my mother’s passing."

Celebrate and push myself

When you have run the Around the Bay race as many times as Bruce Smith has — this will be his 23rd race — you need to do something to keep things interesting.

"This year I wanted to do something different after being inspired by my church, Mount Hamilton Baptist Church, which recently celebrated its 90th year on Hamilton Mountain," Smith explained.

The church has been celebrating its 90 years by doing events with the theme of 90, such as raising $90 for 90 different charities.

"So my idea is to do a 90 kilometre warmup, starting at 7 pm, the night before the Around the Bay road race," he explained. 

"I hope to finish in time to then run the race starting at 9:30 a.m. That means I will run a total of 120 km."

Now that's dedication.

Help CBC cover the Around the Bay Road Race. Tweet your photos to @CBCHamilton on race day with the #BayRace and we'll add them to our Bay Race photo map.