St. George Marathon Top 50 Legends 40 - 31
|David Knoop Number #40||
David Knoop, Midvale, Utah, competed in the St. George marathon in the mid 1980’s, and has four performances that were fast enough to be in the top 1,000 fastest times in the history of the race.
David decided to run the marathon for the first time in 1984. He decided to run the race to check off an item on his “bucket list” and chose St. George because of the great reputation that the race had in Northern Utah. He had no specific marathon training, but had cross trained quite extensively doing triathlons and trail running. He finished in a time of 2:34:42 and finished 19th overall.
A result of running the marathon in 1984 was that David was hooked on the race and made the decision to come back again in 1985. His training for the 1985 race was similar to the prior year with mainly cross training, however, in the final month before the race, he incorporated specific marathon training into his preparation. After the 1985 race was finished, David finished in 4th place overall with a time of 2:25:51.
In 1986, David did his training and preparation focused on the marathon distance. The race in 1986 is considered one of the most exciting races in the history of the St. George marathon. Of the 34 St. George marathons, only four of the races had closer finishes than 1986. David and another runner, Norberto Segura took off from the start and set a very fast pace with the intent of winning the race. They did not work together, or draft off of each other, their tactic was to run as fast and as hard as they could for as long as they could. Norberto took the lead with repeated surges, however, as David came into the St. George city limits at mile 23, Norberto was only seconds ahead of him, and the crowds that lined the streets were encouraging him to pass Norberto and be crowned champion. However, David was dealing with his own issues, as a large blister had opened on his foot, but still was focused on winning the race. As they came down to about 500 meters left in the race, another runner, Fernando Vasquez, who had run a smarter and more evenly paced race, passed both of them to win the race by just 34 seconds. David had run the 74th fastest time in the history of the race in 2:22:19 and finished in 3rd place.
David came back one last time in 1987 intent on running a sub 2:20 marathon to qualify for the US Olympic Marathon trials. He was well prepared and fit to run that time, and went through the halfway point in 3rd place well ahead of the required pace. At mile 25, he needed to finish the last 1.2 miles in seven minutes. However, he hit the “wall” hard and had to jog into the finish with a time just over 2:22 and finished in 10th place. David is one of just 20 male runners that have more than one time in the top 100 all time fastest St. George marathons. His average time for his performances was 2.26.05. Because of this performance, David Knoop is the #40 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Debbie Zockoll Number #40||
Debbie Zockoll, St. George, Utah, is not only considered a Legend of the St. George Marathon, but really is more than that; she is also an icon of the marathon. The race was run for the first time in November of 1977, and Debbie was one of four women that finished the marathon. Last year, in 2010, the race had 5,700 finishers, and Debbie was included in that group also. And in between, there have been 32 more marathons, and Debbie has finished each, which means that she is the only runner in the history of the race to cross the finish line each year.
In 1977, Debbie was a city employee working at the local pool, and her boss, Bob Horlacher, encouraged all the employees to run the new marathon, so she did. The first race has no bus transport system to the start, had the same 3 or 4 people handing out water at every aid station, left open Highway 18, so traffic was utilizing the same road as the runners, and also included a strong head wind and cold temperatures, and only 38 finishers. There was no running stores in St. George in 1977, so Debbie’s outfit consisted of clothes bought from the old Pickett’s store, tube socks, and tennis shoes from Sears.
Debbie really noticed the streak of consecutive years in her 12th year of running, when the “10 year club” was noted in the results booklet and she was the only runner listed as participating each year. Each year, her family knows that the first weekend in October means she will be in the St. George marathon. She gave birth one year to a child in June and ran the race four months later. Her son was born one year on December 2nd, which was just two short months after the marathon, but Debbie crossed the finish line. She also has continued her streak recently while undergoing cancer treatment. Debbie isn’t just known for her streak, as she has also run competitive times. She finished in the top 5 of her age group five separate times with her fastest time of 3:16. Debbie taught in the Washington County public school system for over 30 years inspiring many to participate in an active lifestyle. Debbie is very proud of the City of St. George in the way that they manage and organize the race each year. As she comes into the city each year around mile 23, she reflects on the history of the race and the progress she has seen over so many years. As the marathon celebrates the 35th anniversary in 2011, one thing that is assured is the fact that Debbie will be at the starting line. The race would simply not be the same without Mrs. Zockoll. Because of this performance, Debra Zockoll is the #40 all time performer in the St. George Marathon
|Nick Barton Number #39||
Nick Barton, Salt Lake City, Utah, competed just two years in the St. George marathon and both years he finished in the top 3 overall. Nick competed for the first time in the St. George marathon in 1982 and ran 2:22:07, which is the 78th fastest time in the history of the race. He finished 3rd overall in 1982, about 1 minute behind 2nd place and 3 minutes behind the winner.
In 1983, Nick came back determined to win the race. The 1983 marathon challenged the runners with possibly the worst weather conditions of any race as it rained steadily throughout the race. This condition slowed the overall results, however, Nick’s time was consistent with the previous year, finishing in 2:22:14. Unfortunately, Nick was in 2nd place, only 92 seconds behind the winner, which is in the top 10 of closest finishes in the history of the race.
Nick is one of only 20 men to have two performances in the top 100 fastest times in the race. He is also one of only 18 men to have finished in the top 3 of the race on multiple occasions. Because of this performance, Nick Barton is the #39 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Valerie Stephens Number #39||
. Valerie Stephens, Salt Lake City, Utah, competed in the marathon six times throughout the 1980’s, and all six years her finish time is included in the top 1,000 fastest times in the history of the race. After completing her college eligibility at BYU, she began her successful marathon racing career.
Valerie first ran the St. George marathon in 1981 and finished 7th overall in a time of 3:07:45. She returned in 1983 and improved her time to 2:50:56, and also moved up to a 4th place finish overall. This time in 1983 gave her the qualifying time necessary to run in the first US Olympic Marathon Trials held in May 1984 in Olympia, Washington.
In 1984, Valerie came back to St. George, and ran her career best time and placing in St. George. She finished in 3rd place in a time of 2:49:15, which was just 16 seconds behind the 2nd place finisher. This time was the 135th fastest time in the history of the race. She finished in the top 10 again in 1985 by just 5 seconds over the 11th place finisher.
In 1986, once again, Valerie had a top 10 finish, this year it was 7th place overall with a time of 2:52:20. In 1987, she ran for the final time in St. George, and she qualified for the 1988 Olympic Trials with a 6th place overall finish and a time of 2:49:44. In her St. George marathon career, Valerie had six top ten finishes, which was exceeded by only two other women in the entire history of the race. Valerie was also a three time winner of the Deseret News Marathon in Salt Lake City.
Because of this performance, Valerie Stephens is the #39 all time performer in the St. George marathon. 3 time winner of Deseret News Marathon.
|David Ronco Number #38||
David Ronco, Seal Beach, California, a “16 year club member”, competed in the St. George marathon during the 1990’s and the 2000’s, finishing with an impressive seven times in top 1,000 fastest times in the history of the race. David also had four top 10 finishes.
David came to St. George for the first time in 1991 which was a year that had very fast times as there were many men trying to qualify for the 1992 US Olympic Marathon Trials. David fell just short in his attempt at a qualifying time, but did finish 7th overall in a time of 2:23:09. His performance in 1991 is the 102nd fastest time in the history of the St. George marathon, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. He came back in 1992 and ran a time of 2:25:43 for 4th place overall, which is tied for his highest placing in the race. During the next two years, David ran in St. George, but used these years for less intensive training, gearing up for an attempt to qualify for the 1996 Olympic Trials which were to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina. In the 1995 race, David was a part of the fastest men’s race in St. George history. The historic 1995 marathon had a deep collection of runners that were looking to qualify for the Olympic Trials and also favorable weather. This year has 59 times that are in the top 1,000 fastest times in the history of the marathon, which is the highest number of times for one particular year. David finished with a time of 2:24:50 which landed him in 19th place. This is the fastest 19th place finish in the history of the race. In 1996, David again finished in the top ten with a 4th place with a time of 2:25:01, and the following year, in 1997, had his 4th top 10 finish, finishing with a time of 2:32:14 which was good for 10th place.
There are only 16 men that have had more times in the top 1,000 than David. Because of this performance, David Ronco is the #38 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Sharon Frenette Number #38||
Sharon Frenette, Salt Lake City, Utah, completed the St. George marathon 10 times during the 11 year period from 1985 to 1995. Sharon competed in the wheelchair division, and set a standard of dominance that is highly unlikely will ever be duplicated.
Sharon was from Northern Utah, and loved the hot summers and moderate winter weather in the St. George area. Her interest in the St. George marathon also came from the fact that the marathon was the big race in Utah. She also entered the St. George marathon with the intent to qualify to compete in the Boston Marathon. In her first year, 1985, Sharon won the women’s overall title in the wheelchair division, and blew away the course record by 20 minutes in a time of 2:05:04.
She came back one year later in 1986, and lowered the course record by an additional 13 minutes in a time of 1:51:53. Again in 1987, she chopped off almost 5 minutes to the record with a time of 1:47:00. However, Sharon still wasn’t finished lowering her course record. Sharon simply had no peer when she competed each year. She added to her overall titles by winning in 1988, 1990, 1991 and 1992. In 1993, she once again lowered her course record for a final time recording a time of 1:46:29. The marathon has been held 17 more times since 1993, and no one has come close to Sharon’s still standing course record. She finished her remarkable career at St. George by winning the 1994 and 1995 races. In summary, Sharon won 10 overall Women’s wheelchair titles, and lowered the course record four times. Sharon remembers that St. George is easily her favorite marathon of all time, and that includes races in Northern Utah, Japan, and the Boston Marathon.
Because of this performance, Sharon Frenette is the #38 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Steve Frisone Number #37||
Steve Frisone, Chino Hills, California, completed the St. George marathon four times during the 2000’s and ended up with three top 10 finishes. Steve was introduced to the St. George marathon eight years before he actually entered the race in 2003. He came in 1995 to support his father’s successful attempt to qualify for the 1996 Boston marathon which was the 100th anniversary of the race. After he ran with his dad in 1995 for the last 5 miles, Steve decided it was the perfect race to qualify for the 2004 US Olympic Marathon Trials.
Steve was not satisfied in his 2003 race, as he ran well up to mile 18, however, the usage of lightweight shoes and the unexpected downhill miles pounded his quads and his feet. He finished 14th overall in a time of 2:32:39. Steve then decided to try to qualify again in the 2008 US Olympic Trials in the 2006 race. He decided to use the St. George marathon in both 2004 and 2005 as buildup for a serious attempt in 2006 at a Trial qualifying time. In 2004, he ended up in 3rd place overall in a time of 2:24:33, and was less than 1 minute behind the eventual winner. He focused his training before the 2004 race on downhill running, and it paid off as he finished the marathon strong for the first time. In 2005, he again finished 3rd place with a time of 2:25:57.
Steve was now ready for the plan he devised after the 2003 marathon. 2006 was here, and his 2004 and 2005 races gave him the experience he needed. He actually injured himself two weeks before the 2006 race, but that allowed his body to rest for a week, and that ended up helping him feel fresh for the 2006 race. His only goal was to run under 2:22, which would be over a 2 minute personal record. He changed his strategy for the 2006 race, but running aggressively for the first half of the marathon, and was at 1 hour and 11 minutes at halfway, right on pace. He was in 3rd place at this point, and his time at 20 miles was 1:48, so he was still on pace with a 10k to go. He caught the 2nd place runner during mile 23, but the overall leader was out of sight. With approximately 100 yards to go in the race, he saw the clock at 2:21:33, so he threw in one more surge with his family and the rest of the crowd roaring for him to finish, and he did with a time of 2:21:55, securing his invite to the 2008 Olympic Trials to be held the following year in New York City. His 2nd place finish in 2006 also was the 71st fastest time in the history of the St. George marathon.
Because of this performance, Steve Frisone is the #37 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Karen Steen Number #37||
. Karen Steen, Olympia, Washington, completed the St. George marathon just twice, however, she was involved in the closest overall title finish in the history of the race. After completing a successful college career in the hurdles and being inducted into the hall of fame at Pacific Lutheran University, she embarked on a fantastic post college running career.
Karen came to St. George to run the marathon for the first time in 1999. Her interest in the 1999 race was a desire to run a time that would qualify her for the 2000 US Olympic Marathon Trials to be held in February 2000 in Columbia, South Carolina. She did end up qualifying with a time of 2:46:36 and finished 6th overall. This was also the 79th fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. Karen did participate 4 months later in the Trials in South Carolina.
Karen came back to St. George in 2002. Once again, she wanted a time that would qualify her for the 2004 US Olympic Marathon Trials to be held in April of 2004 in St. Louis. However, her race in 2002 was more than just earning a Trials qualifying time.
Karen’s preparation leading up to the 2002 race was good and as she was at the start line, she was ready to go. She had planned to run the race with another marathon legend that will be named later this summer, but at the last moment, Karen decided to not run the aggressive pace that was planned, and to run her own comfortable pace. As the gun went off, Karen watched many of the top female athletes take off, but she quickly settled into a reasonable pace. In the 2nd half of the race, Karen started to run well, and was catching many of the females that had started aggressively at the beginning. Before she knew it, she started to see the pace car that was escorting the lead female. She was shocked to realize that she had caught the leader this late into the race. She quickly tucked in behind her, and they started to run consecutive miles in sub 6 minute pace. It was great running in the lead, but Karen was not comfortable with the fast pace, and decided to back off and continue her original plan. After a brief time back in 2nd place, Karen quickly felt the competitive desire and focused again on the lead vehicle. As they ran the last mile on 300 South, the crowd was roaring first for the lead runner, and then again even louder for Karen to catch her. She ended up running the 34th fastest marathon in the history of the race in a time of 2:43:48, and finished an agonizingly close 4 seconds behind the winner. What an awesome accomplishment for Karen, however, as she once again qualified and ran in the US Trials, but, also, had won the trip to the sister marathon in Ibigawa, Japan for her effort.
Karen is one of only 14 women to have two performances in the top 100 times in the St. George marathon. She also was the overall women’s champion in the Capital City Marathon in Tacoma, Washington seven times. She also continues her love for the track in a successful manner, as she holds the world record for the 2k steeple chase in the 45-49 age division, and also hold the American record in the 45-49 division for the 400m hurdles.
Because of this performance, Karen Steen is the #37 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Sasha Pachev Number #36||
Sasha Pachev, Provo, Utah, completed the St. George marathon throughout the 2000’s, and has an impressive eight performances that are included in the top 1,000 fastest times in the history of the race.
Sasha was born in Moscow, Russia and began running at age 11. Since that time, Sasha has not missed more than three consecutive days without running at least a few miles. He came to the United States in 1993 to attend Brigham Young University, and decided to run the St. George marathon for the first time in 1998.
His time in 1998 was 2:39:48, which was fast enough for 23rd overall in the race. He took a break from the largest marathon in Utah until 2003, when he returned and improved by over 15 minutes from his debut marathon in St. George, finishing 7th overall with a time of 2:24:46. The 2003 race began a seven year streak of running the St. George marathon, including many of those years finishing in the top 10. In 2004, Sasha finished 5th overall with a time of 2:25:18. This was as close to the overall winner as he would get in his career running in St. George, as Sasha was less than two minutes behind the overall winner.
In 2005, Sasha crossed the finish line in 6th place, with a time of 2:27:21. Sasha had his fourth straight top ten finish in 2006, when he finished 8th overall in a time of 2:25:32. Sasha was also in the 2007 race, which was the fastest race since 1995 when considering the depth of the running talent that was involved in the race. He ran a career personal record time of 2:23:56, which was under two minutes short of qualifying for the US Olympic Marathon Trials. This time is also the 126th fastest time in the history of the St. George Marathon. Sasha had his final top ten finish in 2008, finishing in 10th place overall. Sasha finished in the top ten five separate years in St. George, which was only exceeded by two other men in the entire history of the race. In addition, only eight men have more than the eight times that Sasha has in the top 1,000 fastest times ever recorded.
Sasha has also had a significant influence in the running community with his popular website, www.fastrunningblog.com, which is an opportunity for runners of all levels to have a user friendly way to record their running activities, including training runs, cross training, and races. It also allows runners to receive encouragement and feedback from other runners on training, diet, race strategy, and injuries. Sasha also is a three time winner of the Top of Utah marathon in Logan, Utah. He is married to his wife Sarah and they are the parents of seven children.
Because of this performance, Sasha Pachev is the #36 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Mary Ryzner Number #36||
Mary Ryzner, Escondido, California, completed the St. George marathon throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, and has an impressive six performances that are included in the top 1,000 fastest times in the history of the race.
Mary came to St. George for the first time in 1987, seeking a time in the marathon under 2:50, which would qualify her for the 1988 US Olympic Marathon Trials in Pittsburgh. She had heard from several runners that the marathon in St. George is a fast course if you are prepared for the downhill miles late in the race. Mary was not familiar with the course, as such, she ran with no strategy at all, including no watch, which meant she had no idea how she was doing during the race. As she finished the last mile down 300 South, she realized she could make it under 2:50, but needed to increase her pace. She made it under the qualifying standard by two seconds, with a time 2:49:58, which was also good enough for 8th overall.
Mary decided to return to St. George in 1989, again with no strategy on how her race should go. The combination of being familiar with the marathon course, and with an emphasis in her training on trail running in the hills outside of Santa Barbara, California, Mary was ready to run a fast race. She did just that as she ran the 27th fastest time in the history of the St. George marathon, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. Her time of 2:43:10 is also a personal record for Mary, who has run over 70 marathons. Her time in 1989 landed her in 3rd place overall.
Mary had another top 10 finish when she ran the race the next year in 1990. She finished in a time of 2:47:55 which was fast enough for 4th place overall. This is also the 109th fastest time in the history of the race. In 1992, Mary had her fourth top 10 finish, as she was 6th overall. Mary continues to promote the St. George marathon as a premier event to all the runners that she comes in contact with. In 2011, her Masters women’s team from the San Diego Track club is sending a group of runners to run the race. Her favorite part of the marathon is the balloons that mark each mile, which help the miles go by faster. She also has fond memories of all the great people she has met in the St. George.
Because of this performance, Mary Ryzner is the #36 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Dave Danley Number #35||
Dave Danley, Roosevelt, Utah, completed the St. George marathon three times during the late 2000’s, and each year finished in the top 10 overall. Dave began his marathon career after running successfully at Wasatch High School in Heber, Utah, which included the honor of being named the 3A Athlete of the Year. In college, Dave was named the Mountain West Conference freshman of the year at BYU, and then he completed his eligibility at Utah State University.
Dave came to St. George to run his first marathon in 2006. Because it was his first attempt at this distance, Dave had no expectations or strategy. He simply decided to run with the leaders for as long as possible. He eventually lost contact with the first two runners, and then focused on securing 3rd place. His finishing time was 2:22:04, which is the 77th fastest time in the history of the St. George marathon, which isn’t too bad for a debut effort. He was only nine seconds behind 2nd place, and also, was only 4 seconds away from the qualifying time necessary to participate in the 2008 US Olympic Marathon Trials to be held in New York City.
Dave came back in 2007 with the goal of qualifying for the Trials. At this point, he had run seven marathons in his career, so he felt like he had the experience to do well. Dave went out fast at the start of the 2007 race, and led all runners until the 9th mile. He went through the half of the marathon in 1:11, which was on pace to qualify. He struggled a bit until mile 18, when he felt surprisingly well again, and proceeded to run the final 6 miles at an average pace under 5 minutes per mile. He ended in 4th place in a very fast race with a time of 2:19:35, which is the 35th fastest time in the history of the race. This effort in 2007 allowed Dave to run the Olympic Trials in New York City one month later. Dave came back one final time in 2008 and finished in 9th place in a slow race that had very difficult weather conditions including a head wind and a steady rain. His time was 2:32:27.
Dave was very successful in his short career in the St. George marathon, but his results speak for themselves. In addition to his three top ten finishes, Dave is also one of only 20 male runners that have at least two performances that are in the top 100 fastest times run in St. George.
Because of this performance, Dave Danley is the #35 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Elizabeth Sonne Number #35||
. Elizabeth Sonne, Salt Lake City, Utah, completed the St. George marathon throughout the 1980’s, and has an impressive six performances that are included in the top 1,000 fastest times in the history of the race.
Elizabeth secured her legend status by running the race faster each year that she competed, including performances after age 40. She ran in the St. George marathon for the first time in 1983 at age 38 and finished 11th overall. In 1984, Elizabeth had her first top 10 finish when she finished 8th overall. In 1985, Elizabeth ran the marathon as a masters runner (over age 40) for the first time. She broke the 3 hour mark running a time of 2:56:42. This time again landed her in the top 10, as she finished 7th overall, and she was also recognized as the 2nd overall masters runner. In 1986, Elizabeth again was in the top ten overall, with a 10th place finish and also 4th place masters runner when she ran the marathon in a time of 2:56:56. In 1987, Elizabeth, at age 42, ran her marathon personal record time when she ran 2:53:57 and was recognized as the Overall Masters Champion. Her time in 1987 would be 2:41:38 on an age graded (AG) basis.
She was the Overall Masters Champion for a second time in 1989 at age 44 when she ran her second fastest time, 2:55:26, which also was fast enough for 7th place overall in the race. This would be Elizabeth’s fourth top ten finish in her last race in St. George, and on an AG basis, is a time of 2:38:11. Elizabeth was recognized in two separate years as the Masters Champion. In the entire history of the St. George marathon, no female runner has won the masters division more than Elizabeth, and only two other females have won the masters title twice.
Because of this performance, Elizabeth Sonne is the #35 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Russell Bennett Number #34||
Russell Bennett, North Ogden, Utah, is a “28 year club member” and has competed in each decade that the St. George marathon has been held. Russell has a remarkable and record setting seventeen performances in the top 1,000 fastest times ever recorded in the history of the race. No other male runner has more than 13 times.
Russell grew up in the St. George area and decided in 1976 as a junior in high school to train for the Deseret News Marathon in Salt Lake City. He ended up not running in that race, but did decide to join the cross country and track teams at Dixie High School. He eventually figured out that his talent for running was in the longer distance events, so he entered the 1979 St. George marathon for his debut race. He had not run more than 13 miles continuously before the race, but ran a remarkable debut time of 2:40:22, which also landed him in the top 10 overall in 9th place. The result of that first St. George marathon was a 30 year passion for the race. Russell has only missed six of the 34 years that St. George has held the marathon. He did not run the first two years (1977 and 1978), missed two years to serve an LDS mission in South Korea (1980 and 1981), and then missed two more years (1990 and 2003) due to injuries. When Russell has competed in the race, he has also run very fast. He ran his personal record time of 2:27:29 in 1994 when he finished 15th overall, which is also the 239th fastest time in the history of the race. He also broke the 2:30 barrier the next year in 1995 by running 2:29:05.
Russell did not slow down by much as he turned 40 as he finished as the second overall Masters runner in 2000 in a time of 2:36:14. In addition, he was the Masters representative to the sister marathon in Ibigawa, Japan in 2000. Russell also ran his fastest time over age 40 the next year in 2001 running 2:34:37, which earned him the 3rd overall Masters runner.
Russell has accomplished an amazing achievement in his efforts in the St. George marathon. He has run a time under 2:41 in the marathon in each decade from the 1970’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s. In addition, there are only 25 men in the history of marathon running (not just St. George, but every marathon held in the world) that have run a time under 3 hours in five separate decades. Russell has done this in four separate decades, and will run the race in 2011 looking to become the 26th man to achieve this incredible accomplishment. His average time for his seventeen times in the top 1,000 is 2:35:16.
Because of this performance, Russell Bennett is the #34 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Christina Gingras Perry Number #34||
Christina Gingras Perry, Cottonwood Heights, Utah, completed the St. George marathon in 2007 and 2008. Christina relocated to Utah in 2005 after participating in track in high school in Barre, Vermont, and also running the middle distance events at the University of Vermont for four years.
She decided to run St. George in 2007 after hearing positive comments about the marathon from friends and other runners. She was only participating in her third marathon, but did have some early success when she finished 3rd overall in the May 2007 Ogden Marathon. In the 2007 St. George marathon, Christina set a personal record by running 2:56:12, which was only good enough for 32nd place. Christina, however, would come back strong the next year.
In 2008, Christina had a very good training year getting ready for her fourth marathon, which would be a return appearance in St. George. She was now much more familiar with marathon training, and it resulted in more mileage and faster training runs. She had run her half marathon personal record during 2008 in 1:20:39, so she felt she was ready for her marathon goal time of under 2:50.
The 2008 race is remembered for the head wind and rain that was present throughout the race. Christina was not confident that she could break her goal time because of the weather. She ran the first half conservatively in 1:28:50. This conservative start and her training allowed her to run a quick second half. She enjoys the downhill portions during the second half and used this part of the course to her advantage. At mile 20, Christina was in 6th place, but she was running well, and the weather had taken its toll on the leaders. She had no expectation of winning the race, but started to realize that winning was a possibility. As she passed mile 25, she became aware of the motorcycles that were escorting the lead female. Christina took the lead at the 25.5 mile mark, and ran strong into the finish, winning the race by 51 seconds.
In winning the 2008 St. George marathon, Christina ran the second half of the course in 1:20:59, which was close to her personal record for a half marathon. She was able to accomplish what less than 30 other women have done, which is be crowned the champion of the St. George marathon. She is the first legend profiled that was an overall champion. Because of this performance, Christina Gingras is the #34 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Pepi Peterson Number #33||
Pepi Peterson, Hudson, Massachusetts, competed in the St. George marathon four times during the late 2000’s, and all four performances are in included in the top 1,000 fastest times ever recorded in the history of the race. Pepi has performed spectacularly since finding the St. George marathon in 2007. He originally planned on running in the 2007 Chicago marathon, however, the race was sold out. Pepi registered for the St. George marathon because he was aware that the St. George race was fast and organized well. In his debut effort in St. George, he ran 2:31:01 which was good for 18th place. However, beginning with the 2008 race, Pepi has been unchallenged as a Masters runner (over age 40), and has also performed very well in the overall standings.
The 2008 race is remembered for the head wind and rain that was present throughout the race. Pepi was back after a good experience from the 2007 race, but now more familiar with the course. He ran a solid race, and improved his overall placing from 18th in 2007 to 3rd overall by running a time of 2:29:20 in a year of slower times due to the weather conditions. He also was recognized as the Masters Champion. In 2009, Pepi came back again and set a course personal record by running 2:25:58, which was good enough for 4th place overall, and again, the title of Masters Champion for a second straight year. He was only six seconds behind the 3rd place finisher and ran the 191st fastest time in the history of the race. In 2010, he again ran well, this year running a time of 2:26:49 which was good for 2nd place overall, and a third straight Masters title. His age graded time in 2010 was 2:20:56.
Pepi has been involved in running for over 25 years, which also includes a 2:42 marathon at age 18. However, in his 20’s and 30’s, he focused on running shorter distances and the track before he began his serious marathon career.
There has only been one male runner that has more Masters titles than the three that Pepi has earned. In addition, only two runners have more than the three top 5 finishes that Pepi did during the 2008 to 2010 races. Pepi runs the race each year not only for his personal success, but also because of “the scenery of the bright sun, blue skies, red rocks and the big green trees that line the even bigger residential streets.” He is also very impressed with the race organizers and the ease of access to them. He has very much enjoyed the sister relationship with the Ibigawa, Japan marathon that Pepi has now run three times based on his Masters titles. It is a sure bet that Pepi will be on the starting line in 2011, and very likely that we will see him at the finish line among the leaders.
Because of this performance, Pepi Peterson is the #33 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Jennifer Briggs Latham Number #33||
Jennifer Briggs Latham, Los Angeles, California, only completed the St. George marathon in 1995, but her remarkable performance earned her the status of a Legend.
Jennifer began running early at the age of 12 in New Hampshire. She found her calling for middle distance in high school and also at the University of New Hampshire. In College, Jennifer earned status as All-New England for cross country and was also the Northeast Atlantic Conference champion in the 10,000 meters on the track.
She moved up to the marathon distance after completing her college eligibility, and wanted to qualify for the 1996 US Olympic Marathon trials to be held in February 1996 in Columbia, South Carolina. She attempted to qualify in the 1995 Boston Marathon, but finished outside of the qualifying time of 2:50 by two minutes.
She consulted with other runners and decided to try one last time to qualify, and choose St. George to make the attempt. Jennifer was a very strong downhill runner, and felt the downhill portion in the second half of the marathon would set her up for a qualifying time. She trained very hard during the summer using her long runs to run uphill for 10+ miles and then running back down the same course at an increased pace to mimic the St. George course.
Jennifer started the 1995 race in the best shape of her life. She wanted to go out conservatively in the first half, and then race as hard as possible in the second half. She went through the half way point in a time of 1:25 in 10th place. She then proceeded to run a very fast second half of the course in 1:17, finishing with an overall time of 2:42:11. She passed eight female runners between the halfway point and mile 19, settling into 2nd place, where she finished the race. Her incredible time was the 18th fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. This time would have won 22 of the 34 marathons that have been run in St. George. Her amazing performance in 1995 did allow her to run in the Olympic Trials in 1996. She continues to compete sixteen years later, as she won the 2011 Catalina Island Marathon.
Because of this performance, Jennifer Briggs Latham is the #33 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Aaron Metler Number #32||
Aaron Metler, St. George, Utah ran his debut marathon in 2010 in St. George, and his performance in that race ensured his recognition as a Legend of the St. George Marathon.
Aaron came to St. George from Michigan in 2007 to join the city of St. George Recreation department, with specific emphasis on organizing and directing local running races in the St. George area. This responsibility included Aaron helping in the organization of the marathon for the three years prior to the 2010 race. Aaron had never run a marathon, but had founded and ran for the University of Michigan club team and also had run shorter distance races very successfully, including running a course record 14:34 at the 2008 Utah Summer Games road 5k.
Since moving to St. George in 2007, Aaron dominated most of the shorter distance races in the area, and decided in 2010 to attempt the marathon for the first time. He trained specifically for the extended distance for 6 months leading up to the race by running an average of 90-100 miles per week. He was running up to 15 miles per day, and the extra mileage paid off in a half marathon personal record time of 1:07:36, which he did at the Utah Valley Half Marathon in June 2010.
The St. George marathon had been run 33 times from 1977 through 2009, and in those years, the highest finish for a local Washington County resident was Nick McCombs, who finished in second place in 2008. While Aaron was a talented runner, his goal of winning the 2010 race was against the odds, first, because a debut marathoner winning the race is rare, and second, no local resident had ever won. A few weeks before the race, Aaron did a workout by running the first 23 miles of the marathon course in 2:08. This gave him the confidence that he would run well.
The 2010 race had unusually warm weather conditions, and when the gun fired to start the race, Aaron quickly settled into a chase pack trailing Peter Vail, an experienced marathoner from Colorado. As they started the long uphill climb at mile eight, Aaron took the lead and never looked back. His lead in the second half of the race over the second place runner reached a mile in total distance. In the late stages of the race, however, Aaron struggled with cramps in his legs. He worked through the cramps and finished the race as the overall winner in a time of 2:22:08 beating second place by four minutes and forty one seconds, which is the fourth largest margin between first and second place in the history of the race. It was all the more memorable because his parents were holding the finish line tape and his co-workers that organize the race were there to congratulate him on his victory. His time was the 79th fastest time in the history of the St. George marathon. In his debut marathon, Aaron remarkably won the race and became the first winner from Washington County.
Because of this performance, Aaron Metler is the #32 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Shirley Blush Number #32||
Shirley Blush, Rancho Palos Verdes, California, competed in the St. George Marathon throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s and is now a “twenty year club” member. Shirley has dominated her age group in an unprecedented manner during her 20 consecutive years. She is a member of the Gardena Valley Runners Club which was coached by Don Ashimine, who has produced remarkable improvements in runners of all levels of skill, including Shirley.
The Gardena club has identified the St. George marathon as their “club race of the year”, and has brought up to 60 club members to the race in an individual year. This includes bringing Shirley to St. George for the first time in 1991 at age 55. She did not run at all until age 42, when she was enrolled in a gym class at a local community college and she realized that she enjoyed running. She proceeded to win her age group in the St. George marathon in 1991 in a time of 3:30:49.
In 1992, Shirley came back and ran her fastest St. George marathon in a time of 3:20:23, again winning her age group. In 1998, she broke the age group 60-64 record with a time of 3:39:21, which is still the old course record. She didn’t slow down much five years later in 2003, as she set the age group 65-69 record with a time of 3:40:01, once again, it still remains as the old course record. In 2006, she again set a age group record, this time the 70-74 record with a time of 3:47:02, which can be age graded (AG) to a time of 2:19:44. Shirley again broke an AG time of sub 2:20 in 2009 at age 73 by winning her age division with a time of 4:02:55.
Shirley is the only female to hold three age group records in the St. George marathon. She has run every marathon from 1991 to 2010, and finished first in her age category each year except for the year that #41 legend, Barbara Miller, ran the race and set the course record in the 55-59 age group. This means that Shirley has nineteen 1st place age group awards and also three age group records.
Shirley attributes her success to following Coach Ashimine’s program including running up to 80 miles per week during her marathon training. She enjoys returning to St. George each year because she loves the course and also really enjoys the community support. Shirley will be back with her running club in 2011, and will try to add a fourth age group record as she is now age 75. Don’t bet against her breaking the current age group 75-79 record of 4:54:44.
Because of this performance, Shirley Blush is the #32 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Mark Currell Number #31||
Mark Currell, Selah, Washington, only completed the St. George marathon one time, but his performance in 2008 cemented his place on this list. Mark ran for Southern Utah University (SUU) in Cedar City, Utah for two years. During the two years at SUU, Mark won conference championships in two separate events, was named the 2008 Male Athlete of the Year, and also capped his successful college career by qualifying for the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championship held at Drake University in Iowa. He qualified in the 5000 meters by running 14:11 in the highly competitive West Region championship.
After Mark finished his eligibility at SUU in May 2008, he stayed in the Cedar City area for marathon training at 5000 feet of elevation. He had never run a marathon before, but decided to make his debut appearance in the St. George marathon. He combined his speed developed running in college with his summer marathon training and was ready to make an impressive debut.
The weather for the 2008 St. George marathon had rain throughout the race for the first time in 25 years. In addition, there was a steady head wind that really challenged the runners. As the gun went off to start the race, a lead pack developed and stayed together for the first eight miles. At that point, as the pack started the uphill miles, Mark surged and took a commanding lead that he would not relinquish. He proceeded to dominate over the remaining eighteen miles, winning the race by six minutes and seventeen seconds in a total time of 2.22.22. This margin of victory over second place is the third largest time difference in the history of the race. Mark’s performance was also the 84th fastest time in the history of the St. George marathon.
Because of this performance, Mark Currell is the #31 all time performer in the St. George Marathon
|Susan Anderson-ayers Number #31||
Susan Anderson-Ayers, Salt Lake City, Utah, competed in the St. George marathon throughout the 1990’s, and has six performances that were fast enough to be included in the top 1,000 fastest times in the history of the race.
Susan came to St. George for the first time in 1989, just 3 months after winning the Deseret News Marathon in Salt Lake City. She finished in 17th place that year, and came back the following year in 1990 and improved her overall finish to 13th. However, this was just the beginning to her accomplishments in St. George that would earn her the status as a Legend.
Susan would return to St. George in 1994, but not before she found a coach and a training group to help her maximize her talent. She decided to learn from a very talented runner and coach, Paul Pilkington, who was coaching a group of runners in Ogden. Susan met with him and told him about her desire to run in the 1996 Olympic Trials, which were to be held in February 1996 in Columbia, South Carolina. Coach Pilkington helped her come up with a game plan to be successful in her goal. She trained with the #46 legend, Alydia Barton, and another future legend to improve her skills.
When Susan lined up to race in 1994, Susan was ready to go, and ran a phenomenal race by finishing 4th place overall with a time of 2:45:28 which qualified her for the 1996 Trials. She was thrilled with her improvement, her overall placing, and her time. She had grown to love the St. George course because it was so beautiful and even powerful, as Susan felt like the energy stored in the red rocks could transfer to her and let her go faster.
In 1995, Susan returned hoping to get under 2:45, which would improve her qualification with the Olympic trials. The 1995 race was very fast, with ideal conditions and fast runners that were still trying to qualify for the trials. Susan went out and ran the 42nd fastest time in the history of the St. George marathon with her time of 2:44:38. This time allowed her to finish 3rd overall.
Susan also finished in the top 10 in 1997 with a time of 2:56:34, and the very next year in 1998 had her fourth top 10 finish by running 2:56:49 good for 10th place. Only six women in the history of the race have more than Susan’s four top 10 finishes. In addition, there are only 10 women that have at least two performances in the fastest 60 times in the history of the race, and Susan is one of those 10.
Because of this performance, Susan Anderson-Ayers is the #31 all time performer in the St. George marathon.