TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) —Thousands of runners and walkers poured through the streets of Tampa Saturday for the Gasparilla Distance Classic, which is a tradition that’s been going on in since the 70s.

Brenda Hardy flew in from England Friday evening just for this race.

“I came here to do the race; I’m so excited,” she said.

Hardy said Florida weather is much different to run in.

“It went good, but it was very hot,” she explained. “I didn’t expect it to be as hot as it was.”

“I finished slower than I thought, but I did it,” Hardy continued.

Runners from 49 states took part in the Gasparilla Distance Classic.

Ammie Silvestri flew in from Texas taking on all four races.

“With this one, the challenge literally is to do multiple races back to back in the morning and then on back-to-back days,” she said.

For some, this was their first race.

But Boyd Yesler of Sarasota has been coming to the Gasparilla Distance Classic since 1983, all thanks to a call from a friend.

“He calls me up and goes ‘we’re going for a run in this thing called Gasparilla,'” Yesler said. “I said, ‘I’m not a runner.'”

“He goes, ‘well, do it.’, so we did it,” he explained. “He calls me the next year and goes, ‘we’re doing it for time this year.’ I said, ‘I’m not a runner.’ he goes, ‘come on up.’ he disappeared, and I kept going.”

It’s a tradition that has been bringing thousands of people to Tampa for 46 years.

The Gasparilla Distance Classic is far from over.

The half marathon and 8k are set for Sunday.