SAN ANTONIO -

Temperatures were already pushing 80 degrees when Sarah Taylor finished her half-marathon.

"When you cross the finish line and that sun is beating down you it, it's brutal," Taylor said.

Mother nature provided an additional challenge to the more than 26,000 runners Sunday competing in the 6th annual San Antonio Rock and Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon.

The race began at the corner of Commerce St. and Cherry St. and ended at the Alamodome.

Taylor finished her eighth half-marathon with her friend Chris Matthews who was running his first half-marathon.

"It feels great once you finally say, 'You've done it,'" Matthews said. "Before, you were thinking how impossible it was."

The annual race also saw the debut of a new course. Runners pounded the pavement through the Japanese Tea Garden, Brackenridge Park, San Antonio Zoo and Trinity University Campus.

But it was the heat that took center-stage.

"It was hot," said women's full-marathon winner Jena Kincaid. "But I live in Texas and train all summer and decided to keep remembering that it's a lot hotter in the summertime."

The warm temperatures also kept men's full-marathon winner Michael Wardian off his pace.

"I wanted to come in under 2:30 so I was like a minute off, but I think, given with the heat and there were a few little bumps out there, it felt pretty comfortable," the Arlington, Virginia native said.

After crossing the finish line, Wardian made his way to the airport for a noon flight to Las Vegas. The second marathon he planned to run in less than 24 hours started at 4:30 p.m. west coast time.

Several city officials took part in the annual race. City Manager Sheryl Sculley gave runners a final pep talk before Mayor Julian Castro blew the starting horn for the first of more than 30 corrals of competitors.

"I wasn't able to train the way I wanted to, but I'm going to give it a go," said Castro.

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