JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The excitement builds for runners as they countdown to the anniversary edition of the 26.2 with Donna.

Runners like Susan Haag is no exception as she has been involved since the very first marathon 10 years ago.

"I wanted to be part of the running community and it just so happens that it was for a magnificent, although terribly devastating cause," Haag said.

She has raced in more than 100 Ironman events, but said there is nothing quite like her hometown marathon.

"That is something that can bring everybody together and give them a sense that we’re a family out here," Haag said.

A sense of family Haag strives to build on the course. She keeps pace for the 5:30 group, but it's not all business. Haag says she still finds tine for jokes, taking pictures, and taking-in all the festivities.

"Overcoming is far harder battle than us running just a couple of steps, so find the joy in the moment," Haag said.

A motto she has had for the last nine races. Now eyeing the starting line for her 10th 26.2 with Donna, she finds strength in the field of athletes and survivors.

"I could only hope that if I were struggling then instead of shutting myself off and being frightened and being angry that I would instead say this is my opportunity to shine," Haag said

An opportunity she looks forward to year after year.