Thousands of runners from around North America made their way from Brackley Beach to Charlottetown on Sunday during the P.E.I. marathon.

They were exhausted and bitterly cold. But it's the glory at the end of a long run that motivates the runners.

The winner was 39 year old Mike MacKinnon from Miscouche, PEI. He also won the marathon last year.

"It's tough to train every year to be at that level," said MacKinnon. "I mean it's not a huge level, but it's still hard."

The event, now in its ninth year, is bigger than ever. With close to 2,700 runners the race had a record turnout. Runners came to P.E.I. from all over North America.

"We're a Boston Marathon qualifier, so there's a lot of people who come here and we have a very high percentage of people that qualify for Boston," said race director Myrtle Jenkins-Smith.

For the first time, wheelchair racers had their own division.

"When they have a separate category for people with disabilities, it just makes it easier for me to do that," said Fraser MacPhee, the winner of the 10 kilometre wheelchair event. "It breaks down more barriers."

The race events were extra special for the Islanders who dominated the events.

"This is my home race. I hate to miss it," said half marathon winner Stanley Chaisson. "I've done it the last few years, so I love it."

Emotions aside, for all the competitive runners, today's race is just the beginning of a winter full of training.