NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – More than 15,000 runners took part in the eighth annual NYC Half Marathon.

The 13.1-mile race through Manhattan began in Central Park at 7:30 a.m. and the participants crossed the finish line on South Street.

READ MORE: Black History Is Our History: World Champion Gymnast Wendy Hilliard Uses Her Own Experience To Encourage Next Generation Of Black Athletes To Succeed

Some runners marked St. Patrick’s Day by donning kelly green running gear.

One participant in the half marathon opted for a purple kilt, and said the outfit has a special meaning.

“I’m running actually for Team Molly, Molly Serrano, who’s a 38-year-old female down in Florida who’s battling pancreatic cancer,” the runner told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller.

The race was organized by the New York Road Runners, the same group that puts on the city’s annual marathon.

International champions and Olympic athletes were among those who took part in the race.

“We have 22 countries represented, some 16 Olympians,” New York Road Runners CEO Mary Wittenberg told Miller.

Spectators Watch Half Marathon in Central Park March 17, 2013 (credit: Monica Miller.WCBS 880)

Spectators Watch Half Marathon in Central Park March 17, 2013 (credit: Monica Miller.WCBS 880)

As Miller reported, race officials anticipated the entire run to take less than three hours for all participants.

READ MORE: Power Restored To Co-Op City After Elderly Woman Collapsed, Died Climbing Stairs To Apartment During Outage

In just about an hour, Wilson Kipsang of Kenya won the half marathon on the men’s side.¬†Kipsang finished the 13.1 miles in 1 hour, 1 minute, 2 seconds. Italy’s Daniele Meucci was second, four seconds back. American Dathan Ritzenhein finished third in 1:01:10 on a day that was 30 degrees and windy at the start.

Caroline Rotich, also of Kenya, won the women’s half marathon in just over an hour.

It was the 28-year-old Rotich’s second NYC Half win. She set a course record of 1:08:52 in 2011 and finished this year’s race in 1:09:09, 3 seconds ahead of Burundi’s Diane Nukuri-Johnson. Croatian Lisa Stublic was third.

“I am very happy and grateful to win this race,” Kipsing said. “It was very cold from the start in Central Park, but I was feeling good. It was a very strong field, but I got in a position to break through and win this race.”

Multiple American record holder Bernard Lagat made his half-marathon debut and finished 12th in 1:02:33.

“I had so much fun today, and I’m pleased with the result,” said Lagat. “I think I’m going to do a road race every once in a while. It was tough, but now I know how to run a half.”

Please offer your comments below…

MORE NEWS: NYPD: 1 Killed, 3 Hurt In Stabbing Linked To Illegal Brooklyn Gambling Den

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)