MORE than 3000 people steamed alongside Puffing Billy for the 2010 Great Race.
People of all ages took on the train for the 29th race on Sunday, willing the rain to hold off.
Only 10 runners were able to beat Puffing Billy along the gruelling 13.2km run from Belgrave to Emerald Lake Park.
First-time runner Mitchel Brown from Moonee Ponds was the first male to cross the finish line, beating the train by eight minutes.
Brown came in at 43 minutes and 39 seconds, while the train steamed in at 51 minutes and 49 seconds.
The first female to cross the finish line was Kristy McCarthy from Kew, who beat her record from last year’s race.
In 2009 McCarthy ran the race in 56 minutes and 28 seconds, and improved her race this year by getting in at 51 minutes and 35 seconds.
More than 300 volunteers from Puffing Billy, the CFA, Emerald Venturer Scouts, Rotary, and St John were kept busy manning water stations, rail crossings, moving luggage and, of course, driving the trains.
Event numbers had to be capped last year for logistic and safety concerns, and registration was fully booked three weeks before the race.