MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The 8th Annual Publix Battleship 12K attracted runners from South Alabama and across state lines to Mobile.

An estimated 2,500 runners and walkers from 28 states, Canada and Germany visited the Port City for Sunday’s race. 

Publix credited the Mobile Sports Authority and Visit Mobile for efforts to attract out-of-town visitors, with 65% of registrants registering outside the Mobile metro area.

Sean Gossen, 31, of Lafayette, La., set a new course record with a time of 40:01, besting the previous course record of 41:32, according to an event news release. 

Samantha Yeager-Allen from Spanish Fort, Ala., set a new women’s course record of 45:10, lowering the course record of 46:25 in 2022. 

This year’s Publix Battleship 12K, which recognized military veterans, saw an increase in athletes with disabilities competing, with some in push-rim chairs and assisted by fellow athletes. Julius McManus, a Navy Veteran of 22 years, finished at 39:07 in his push-rim.

Hundreds of cheering supporters welcomed runners as they neared the end of the 7.5-mile course, and the phrase “Thank you for your service” echoed throughout Battleship Memorial Park. 

“My father served in Vietnam and earned a Purple Heart during his service,” said Michael Wattigny, Marketing Director for FRESHJUNKIE Racing. “He didn’t receive a heroes’ welcome when he returned. He was spit on and called names. 

“I founded this race to say ‘Thank You’ in a loud and vocal way to all of the men and women who have served our country.”

The event raised awareness and funds for three military charities: Team Red, White & Blue and America’s Warrior Partnership.

See complete race results here.