St. George Marathon Top 50 Legends 30 - 21
|Larry Smithee Number #30||
Larry Smithee, West Jordan, Utah, competed in the St. George Marathon during the early 1990's and has three performances in the top 1,000 fastest times ever recorded in the history of the race.
Larry was a four time state champion in track and cross country in high school, and then ran for Brigham Young University, where he won two conference championships at 3,000 and 10,000 meters. After his college eligibility was complete, Larry decided to try and qualify for the 1992 US Olympic Marathon Trials. He was coached at that time by Demetrio Cabanillas, who suggested to Larry that the St. George Marathon was the best race to achieve a qualifying time under 2:20.
The 1991 race was a very fast year because it included many top quality runners also looking for a Trials qualifying time. This depth of talented runners in 1991 resulted in a race remembered as having the fastest top three times ever recorded in the history of the St. George Marathon. As the gun went off, Larry immediately went to the front and ran in the lead with another runner until mile seven. At that point, the other runner simply stepped off the course, leaving Larry in the lead. He led the race from mile seven to mile twenty, when he was caught by the eventual winner, a legend that will be named later. Larry made it to mile 22 but then backed off the pace. He eventually finished 5th overall in a Trials qualifying time of 2:19:53. Larry's 1991 race is also the 39th fastest time in the history of the race, and would have won 18 of the St. George Marathons that have been held. Because of his effort in 1991, Larry did run in the 1992 Olympic Marathon Trials held in Columbus, Ohio in April of 1992.
Larry came back in 1995 looking for a similar result, which was a time fast enough to qualify for the 1996 US Olympic Marathon Trials. He now had the familiarity of the course and a better base of mileage, which Larry thought could result in a time that could break the course record of 2:15. He had also won the Las Vegas Half Marathon in a sizzling time of 1:03:14.
In the summer of 1995, Runners World magazine noted that the St. George marathon was one of the best races to achieve a Boston Marathon qualifying time, which caused the race to sell out for the first time. It also attracted numerous competitive runners looking for a Trials qualifying time. This resulted in a roster of fast male runners that finished the race which had not been seen before 1995, and has not been seen since 1995 in the men's race. The cumulative time of the top 20 runners was the fastest ever in the history of the race.
When the gun started the 1995 race, Larry immediately went with the pack of fast runners. However, within 200 meters of the start line, disaster struck. The lead pack had approximately 25 runners and someone was tripped which caused many of the lead runners to also fall. Larry went to the ground, hurt himself and lost some blood, but jumped up and continued the race. He caught back up to the lead pack at mile seven, and ran with the eventual winners until mile 13. He again qualified for the Trials and finished 3rd overall with a time of 2:19:10, which is the 29th fastest time in the history of the race. Again, Larry ran in the Olympic Trials, this time the 1996 trials held in Charlotte, North Carolina in February 1996. Larry has not run the St. George Marathon since 1995, however, he is one of only nine runners in the history of the race to have two performances in the top 40 fastest times ever recorded. Larry has high praise for the race, commenting that "the only marathon with better crowd support and organization is the New York City Marathon".
Because of this performance, Larry Smithee is the #30 all time performer in the St. George marathon.
|Linda Huyck Number #30||
Linda Huyck, Olympia, Washington, completed the St. George Marathon three times, and all three performances are included in the top 1,000 fastest times in the history of the race.
Linda decided to run the St. George Marathon for the first time in 1999. Prior to 1999, she had never heard of the race, however, her coach, Larry Weber, recommended the race because he anticipated a strong field of women trying to qualify for the 2000 US Olympic Marathon Trials. Linda ran a smart race and finished in 9th place overall with a time of 2:47:10 which was well under the 2:49 qualifying time. This allowed her to compete in the 2000 Trials that were held in Columbia, South Carolina in February of 2000.
Linda returned to St. George in 2000 hoping again to finish in the top 10, however, the 2000 race had warmer than normal temperatures that made it difficult for the runners. As the gun sounded to start the race, the usual pack of runners quickly dashed to the front of the race. Linda began the race and after two miles, noticed that two motorcycles were hanging around right in front of her. She was hoping that they would eventually leave as the noise was quite bothersome. Finally, a male runner near Linda commented that he enjoyed running with the lead woman of the marathon. After this comment, Linda now understood that the motorcycles were right where they were supposed to be....with her, the lead female.
Linda held her position with the motorcycle escort despite the extreme heat and also cramps in her feet that felt like her toes were cracking with each step. She altered her gait to help her run but was wearing down. She continued in the lead with the help of a male runner that was with her that kept pushing her along the course. He kept telling her how proud he was to be running with the lead female, and that the finish was coming soon, and to not give up. To this day, Linda is appreciative of this other runner and still does not know his name. She made it to the finish line still in first place becoming the Overall Winner of the 2000 St. George Marathon.
Linda again had a top ten finish in 2003 when she finished 8th overall in a time of 2:49:40. There are only 12 women that have more than Linda's three top 10 finishes. Her personal record for the St. George Marathon was her 1999 race where she ran 2:47:10, which is the 94th fastest time in the history of the race.
Linda feels that St. George is a "fabulous venue" for the marathon, with the residents, the mayor, the runners, and the spectators creating an inspiring celebration of the sport of marathon running. She also commented on the "breathtaking scenery" of the course, and that of all the marathons that she has run, St. George is the most memorable.
Linda is currently in her 20th year of coaching cross country and track at Timberline High School in Lacey, Washington. This is the same high school that she attended as a teenager, and was inducted in the school's hall of fame for her running accomplishments. Her success in marathons is most important to Linda in that she can show her current and past high school athletes at Timberline HS that running is a life long sport to help stay active and fit. In addition, running has allowed Linda to explore different places all around the world which would not have been possible without her continued involvement in the sport that she loves.
Because of this performance, Linda Huyck is the #30 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Mary Ann Protz Number #29||
Mary Ann Protz, St. Petersburg, Florida, only completed the St. George Marathon twice, however, both performances are included in the top 1,000 fastest times in the history of the race.
Mary Ann started to run for the first time in 1986 at age 30. She was working at a hospital that needed a female over age 30 to run one mile to help compete in a local corporate challenge. From that modest start, she eventually decided to try the marathon distance at age 42 in 1998, and struggled in her debut by running the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, Pennsylvania in a time of 4:43. She joined a local running club and learned how to train for a marathon that made her much faster. In 2004, she ran in the Boston Marathon and finished as the second overall American woman, and also the second overall Masters (over age 40) woman in a time of 2:57:58.
Mary Ann decided to run the St. George Marathon in 2004 and finished in a time of 2:59:47, which landed her as the 4th place Masters woman and also age group 45-49 overall winner. However, Mary Ann struggled in the 2004 race as she was unprepared for the downhill miles late in the race. She decided to come back and run the St. George Marathon again in 2005, but this time to incorporate course specific training to better prepare herself for the hills in the 2nd half.
2005 was a good year for running for Mary Ann as she set most of her running personal records. She was 49 years old, but ran 18:18 for a 5k, 37:52 for a 10k, and 1:22:56 for the half marathon. This gave her the confidence that the 2005 St. George Marathon could be a special race. She began her marathon training for her return to St. George by including hill repeats. As Mary Ann is from Florida, it was difficult to find hills nearby, so she would do quarter mile hill repeats over a span of a local bridge. She also increased her weekly mileage to 80-100 miles to help prepare for the marathon distance.
When the 2005 race began, Mary Ann ran conservatively for the first half to help with her strategy to run faster during the second half of the course. She didn't realize that she was among the female leaders until the supporters along the course were telling her what place she was in. She passed her last female competitor at mile 20 to take over 2nd place in the race. She held that position all the way to the finish line. She ran strong to the end, completing the last mile in 6 minutes and 16 seconds for a total time of 2:48:40. Mary Ann was crowned the Masters Champion in 2005 and was also second place overall at age 49.
Mary Ann is the oldest runner in the history of the St. George Marathon to finish in the top two overall. Her age graded (AG) time in 2005 was a remarkable 2:23:51, which is one of the fastest AG times in the history of the race. Her time in 2005 is also the 123rd fastest time ever recorded for the St. George Marathon.
Because of this performance, Mary Ann Protz is the #29 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Steve Travis Number #29||
Steve Travis, Salt Lake City, Utah, only completed the St. George marathon in 1985. Steve had come to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah and run for the Ute cross country and track teams. After completing his eligibility at the U of U, Steve came to St. George to run the marathon.
Before 1985, the St. George marathon only had three times below 2 hours and 20 minutes. Mr. Travis, however, was intent on becoming the fourth individual to break that mark. Once the gun went off, Steve took off and ran strong. He left his last competitor just after the seven mile mark and ran very strong all the way to the finish line.
Steve was crowned the St. George marathon champion in 1985 with a remarkable time of 2:18:55, which is still the 24th fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011.
Because of this performance, Steve Travis is the #29 all time performer in the St. George marathon.
|Cameron Smith Number #28||
Cameron Smith, Provo, Utah, a “10 year club member”, competed in the St. George Marathon throughout the 1990’s, and has an impressive ten performances that were fast enough to be included in the top 1,000 fastest times ever recorded in the history of the race. Cameron’s ten performances have only been surpassed by three other male runners.
Cameron ran his debut St. George marathon in 1989 and finished 17th overall with a time of 2:34:30. In 1992, he had his first top ten finish, when he ran 2:25:51, which was good enough for 5th place overall, and was just eight seconds behind 4th place.
In 1996, Cameron ran his personal record in St. George, finishing with a time of 2:23:47 and also was quick enough for his highest placing in St. George, finishing in 3rd place overall. This time is the 121st fastest time in the history of the race. In 1997, he again finished in 3rd place overall with a time of 2:24:04.
Cameron continued to show his consistent racing success in 1998, finishing in 9th place overall in a time of 2:30:27. He had his fifth and final top 10 finish in 1999 when he ran 2:25:34 which landed him in 9th place overall. Cameron’s five top 10 finishes have only been surpassed by two other male runners, both legends that will be named later.
After turning age 40, Cameron had one final impressive effort in the 2004 race. He ran a time of 2:36:21, which qualified him as the second place Masters finisher. Cameron’s average time for his performances in the top 1,000 is 2.29.16.
Because of this performance, Cameron Smith is the #28 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Christine Kennedy Number #28||
Christine Kennedy, Los Gatos, California, only completed the marathon one time, in 2010, but her performance was so remarkable that she qualified to be included in the Legend list.
Christine is originally from Galway, Ireland and took up the sport of marathon running in 1982 at age 27. She was watching television and the 1982 Dublin Marathon was on, and she observed the overall female winner was a married woman with two children, just the same as Christine. So she told her husband she was going to also win that marathon in the future. He just laughed, which made her all the more determined. She ran her initial marathon in 3:31 later that year, and the following year she did run the 1983 Dublin marathon in 2:51. Christine got the last laugh with her husband, when she crossed the finish line in first place in the 1990 Dublin Marathon in a time of 2:41:27.
She became quite prolific at marathon racing, winning the 1989 Berlin Marathon in a personal record time of 2:35:05 and also repeating as champion at the 1991 Dublin Marathon, which made her the Irish National Champion. In 1992, she ran the Rotterdam Marathon in a time that was just seven seconds off the time she needed to qualify to run in the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics representing Ireland.
After taking some time off, Christine has come back strong in the age group 55-59. She won the 2010 Boston Marathon age group by 13 minutes in a time of 2:57:19, a time that was so fast that she beat all but three of the men in the same age group. She then decided to come to St. George for the 2010 Marathon.
In 2010 St. George Marathon, Christine ran strong and steady throughout the race. She ended up 5th overall in the race at age 56 with an amazing time of 2:51:40 which also crushed the previous age group record by over 25 minutes. Her time in 2010 earned her the title as Masters Champion (over age 40) by over five minutes, which also made her the oldest Masters champ in St. George history. Her time on an age graded basis is 2:14:02 which is the fastest age graded female time in the history of the St. George marathon.
Christine returned to Boston in April of 2011 and ran a time of 2:56:17, which qualified her as the oldest female in marathon history to break 3 hours.
Because of this performance, Christine Kennedy is the #28 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Brad Hardy Number #27||
Brad Hardy, Salt Lake City, Utah, is a “21 year club member” who competed in the St. George marathon throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. Brad has an incredible thirteen performances that were fast enough to be included in the top 1,000 fastest times ever run in the race. Only one other runner, #34 legend Russell Bennett, has more performances in the top 1,000 than Brad.
Brad had a very modest start in St. George when he ran a time of 3:06:46 in 1980. Brad decided to run St. George that year based on a “challenge” that a group of friends gave to each other. Only three of those friends made it to St. George that year, but immediately Brad was hooked on running 26.2 miles in St. George each year on the first Saturday in October. It became a way of life for Brad and many of his running friends. From that first race in 1980, Brad would produce remarkably consistent fast times that led to his earning a Legend title.
Just two years after his marathon debut, Brad dropped his time by over 35 minutes to 2:31:14, finishing 14th overall in 1982. His first top 10 finish occurred the next year in 1983 when he broke the 2:30 barrier finishing 7th overall in a time of 2:28:17. In 1985, Brad had a very impressive race, finishing in 3rd place overall with a time of 2:24:23.
1986 produced Brad’s third top 10 finish when he ran 2:24:18 which was good enough for 5th place overall. 1987 was a strong year for talented runners that came to St. George to try and qualify for the 1988 US Olympic Trials, which helped Brad run his personal record. His time of 2:23:52 (123rd fastest time in the history of the race) was the result of training throughout the summer of 1987 with a great group of runners who trained in City Creek Canyon in Salt Lake City. The next year, in 1988, Brad finished in the top 10 for the fourth and last time, when he finished in 4th place overall with a time of 2:28:43.
In 1993, Brad ran a time of 2:32:20 which earned him the title of Masters Champion (over age 40) and allowed him to go to Ibigawa, Japan to run in the sister marathon of St. George.
Brad learned quickly in that first race in 1980 that the St. George Marathon was a special experience. He has remarked that “the marathon committee does everything in a first class style and always seemed to be at the top of their game each year”.
Because of this performance, Brad Hardy is the #27 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Suzy Schumacher Number #27||
Suzy Schumacher, Phoenix, Arizona, completed the St. George Marathon three times in the mid 2000’s, and all three performances are included in the fastest 1,000 times ever recorded.
Suzy has competed at a high level in USA Track and Field events for a number of years and also is a coach with the successful running club, The Bandidos, based in Phoenix, Arizona. She decided to come to St. George to run the marathon for the first time in 2003 in an attempt to qualify for the 2004 US Olympic Marathon Trials to be held in April 2004 in St. Louis. She ran a strong race and finished 6th overall with a Trials qualifying time of 2:47:20.
Suzy decided to come back to St. George in 2004 after running in the Marathon Trials in St. Louis. She was involved in one of the more exciting marathon finishes in the history of the St. George marathon. Suzy ran a personal record for St. George in finishing in 2nd place in a time of 2:45:16, which is the 55th fastest time in the history of the race. This time was only 21 seconds behind the 2004 marathon winner, which is the 2nd closest finish in the history of the race.
Suzy decided to come back to St. George one last time in 2006, once again hoping to run a time fast enough to qualify for the 2008 US Olympic Marathon Trials to be held in Boston in April 2008. She did qualify in a time of 2:46:10, which gave her a 4th place finish.
Suzy is one of the few female runners to have three top ten finishes in St. George. In addition to her #55 fastest ever recorded time that she ran in 2004, she also has the 69th and 99th fastest times in St. George. As such, Suzy is one of only nine runners to have three performances that are listed in the top 100 fastest times recorded in St. George Marathon history. Her average time for her performances in the top 100 is 2.46.15.
Because of this performance, Suzy Schumacher is the #27 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|William Johnston Number #26||
William Johnston, Salt Lake City, Utah, competed in the St. George marathon throughout the 1980’s, and has an impressive six performances that were fast enough to be included in the top 1,000 fastest times ran in the history of the race.
Bill did not even begin to run at all until he was 42 years old in 1979. However, once he started his masters career (over age 40), he set a standard of excellence that will be hard to duplicate. He decided to come to St. George to run the marathon for the first time in 1981. He ran a solid time of 2:39:14 which was fast enough for the 7th place overall Masters runner.
He came back to St. George in 1982 and ran a remarkable race with an overall time of 2:26:44. He finished 7th overall in the entire race at age 45. He was named the 1982 Masters Champion, and his performance was the fastest Masters time in the history of the race at that point in time. Almost thirty years later, it is still the 10th fastest Masters time that has ever been run in the St. George Marathon. His time is also still the current record holder in the age group 45-49. In addition, his time was so amazing that it also set a United States national age group record that has since been broken. His age graded time in 1982 was 2:17:19, which is very fast, but not the fastest Bill would run in his career. Bill returned to St. George in 1983, and ran a time of 2:28:49, which was good enough for 9th place overall and 2nd place in the Masters category. 1984 produced a very similar result as the prior year, as he ran 2:30:02, which gave him his third top 10 finish, this time finishing 10th overall and once again 2nd place in the Masters category.
In 1985, Bill returned for the 5th straight year, and ran 2:34:11, which still allowed him to place 3rd place overall in the Masters division. Finally, Bill decided to run his last race in St. George and ran one of the fastest age group times ever recorded in St. George marathon history. After increasing his training during the summer, he ran a remarkable time of 2:30:14 at age 49, which can be age graded to 2:15:47. Bill has fond memories of the St. George Marathon, calling it a “great organization, with great runners” and also that “the course is the best I have ever run”. During the six year period from 1981 to 1986, Bill set the bar very high for the age group 45-49. His average time for his six performances in the top 1,000 is 2.31.32.
Because of this performance, William Johnston is the #26 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Stefanie Talley Number #26||
Stefanie Talley, Layton, Utah, completed the St. George Marathon just two times, and both performances were fast enough to be included in the top 1,000 times ever recorded in the history of the race.
Stefanie completed a successful high school cross country and track career at Skyline HS in Salt Lake City and then ran on scholarship for four years at Weber State University. After her college eligibility was complete, Stefanie decided to not run competitively so that she could complete her career goal to become a Registered Nurse, and also to start a family. Once her second child was born in 2008, she decided to train again seriously, and also attempt the marathon distance. Stefanie is married to Corbin Talley, who is an accomplished runner himself, and who qualified for the 2004 US Olympic Trials. Corbin convinced Stefanie to run the marathon in St. George.
Stefanie arrived in St. George to run her career debut marathon in 2009. As happens quite often in a debut, she struggled throughout this marathon, however, she still was talented enough to finish in 8th place overall in a time of 2:51:34. After this effort, however, Stefanie, as happens with many first time marathoners, decided that maybe one marathon was enough for her. Of course, that didn’t last too long, as she signed up for the 2010 Ogden Marathon a few months later. She ended up running a very successful race in Ogden in May 2010, as she was the overall female winner, and also set the course record in a time of 2:52:34.
Stefanie enjoyed this second attempt at the marathon distance, but still needed some “revenge” on the St. George course, with the memories still fresh of her struggling in her debut marathon in 2009. She trained well during the summer of 2010, and was ready to meet her goal of a sub 2:50 marathon. The 2010 race is well remembered for the warm temperatures that welcomed the runners on race day, however, the heat suited Stefanie quite well. She does not like cold weather at all, and tolerated the higher temperatures that were present in the 2010 race. When the gun went off to start the 2010 race, Stefanie settled into a pack of three lead runners until mile seven, when the pack was whittled down to just two. Eventually, Stefanie broke away into the lead, and held this placing all the way to the finish line. Stefanie was the Overall Winner of the St. George Marathon in 2010 with a time of 2:45:15, which is the 53rd fastest time ever recorded in the history of the race. Stefanie and her husband both agree that the St. George Marathon “will always be her favorite marathon”.
Because of this performance, Stefanie Talley is the #26 all time performer in the St. George marathon.
|Steve Naylor Number #25||
Steve Naylor, Centerville, Utah, competed in the St. George Marathon during the late 1970’s and the early 1980’s and has six performances that were fast enough to be included in the top 1,000 fastest times ran in the history of the race.
Steve’s legendary status has more to do with running fast in the marathon. Steve was one of the 38 brave souls that were on the starting line of the inaugural 1977 St. George Marathon. By the 10 mile mark, Steve was in the lead by approximately one minute. By the 20 mile mark, his lead had grown to eight minutes, and he increased the lead to nine minutes as he crossed the finish line. Steve was the Overall Winner of the first ever marathon held in St. George by running a time of 2:27:17. His time is more impressive when considering the strong winds that were present throughout the race. Steve was not finished putting his mark of excellence on the marathon, and he returned in 1980 to try and repeat his marathon title from 1977. Steve improved his time to 2:26:48 and ran a solid race, but ended up in 2nd place overall. He came back again in 1981 and ran his career personal record time in St. George when he finished in 4th place overall in a time of 2:24:33 (146th fastest time in the history of the race).
Steve had his fourth top ten finish in 1985 and added the title of Masters Champion (over age 40) when he finished in 10th place overall with a time of 2:29:11. Steve is the only runner in the entire history of the St. George marathon to be named the Overall Winner and also to be named the Masters Champion in a separate year. His average time for his six performances in the top 1,000 was 2.29.12.
Because of this performance, Steve Naylor is the #25 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
We have hit the halfway point in the naming of the top 50 legends. If you have any comments or questions on the listings, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Johanna Nielsen Number #25||
Johanna Nielsen, Salt Lake City, Utah, only completed the St. George marathon one year, however, her performance in 2001 was so remarkable that she clearly earned her listing as a Legend of the marathon.
Johanna developed an affinity for running at a young age. She remembers clearly running a race in the 5th grade and beating all the boys as well as the girls. Her teacher at the time told her that she had potential as a runner and that she should continue developing her skills and love for the sport. This bit of advice led her to have the confidence to join the high school cross country team, and her success in high school allowed her to continue running at the University of Utah, and subsequently with the New Balance Running Team.
After completing her eligibility at the U of U, Johanna made the decision to run the St. George Marathon based on the advice from other collegiate runners. When she signed up in the spring of 2001, she had no idea what her time could potentially be, so she wrote “3:45” as her expected goal on the entry form.
Before Johanna ran the St. George Marathon in the fall of 2001, she decided to run the Park City Marathon held in June of that year. In her debut marathon, Johanna won the race in a course record time of 2:58:17. She was thrilled with the victory and excited to see what she could do in St. George four months later. When Johanna arrived the day before the race, she realized that her projected time of 3:45 that she had filled out on the registration form in April required her to start in the middle of the pack. Luckily, she was able to talk to the marathon organizers and was moved to the elite corral for the start of the race.
When the gun went off to start the 2001 race, Johanna was excited and ran a bit too fast…..hitting mile 1 in a time of 5 minutes and 10 seconds. She eventually settled down into a rhythm, and led the race from start to finish. She was the Overall Winner of the 2001 St. George marathon with a remarkable time of 2:43:58, which is the 35th fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2001. She won the race by 4 minutes and 31 seconds over 2nd place, which is the 9th largest time difference in the history of the race.
Johanna has fond memories of the St. George Marathon. She loved starting the race in the dark, and then several miles later dropping into the stunning red rocks of Snow Canyon. She has competed in several races across the world and the St. George Marathon will always be one of her favorites. Because of this performance, Johanna Nielsen is the #25 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
We have hit the halfway point in the naming of the top 50 legends. If you have any comments or questions on the listings, please email me at email@example.com.
|Ken Pliska Number #24||
Ken Pliska, Marblehead, Massachusetts, completed the St. George Marathon six times during the 2000’s, and all six performances were fast enough to be included in the top 1,000 times in the history of the race.
Ken is originally from Massachusetts and has been running since he was 13 years old. He enjoyed success running as a teenager at Bedford High School and also ran collegiately at Westfield State College. At one point, Ken ran 20 consecutive Boston Marathons, and was fast enough to be the 2nd American overall in the 2003 Boston race. He decided to run in the St. George Marathon for the first time in 2000, when a childhood friend convinced Ken to come out west and try the race. As Ken’s parents live in Colorado, he decided to combine the marathon with a trip to see his folks. As happens often with the runners that come to St. George, Ken had a positive experience and kept coming back in subsequent years.
In 2000, Ken ran the marathon partly for fun, but the effort was good enough for a top ten finish, as he finished 7th overall in a time of 2:32:09. Ken came back in 2001 and improved his time by over three minutes, and also moved up a spot in the top 10 to 6th place with an overall time of 2:29:00. In 2002, Ken decided that St. George was the marathon to try and attempt to run under 2:22:00, which was the time needed to qualify for the 2004 US Olympic Trials to be held in Birmingham, Alabama. He was in tip top shape and ready to get the much desired Trials qualifying time. Unfortunately, Ken learned a valuable lesson that things don’t always go as planned. He ran what he still considers his best marathon, but had to take a four minute “pit stop” into the porta potties near the 12 mile mark. This stop in the marathon was enough to cost him the time necessary to run in the trials. He once again finished in the top 10 in 2002, and again moved up a spot, this time finishing in 5th place overall with a time of 2:23:10.
Ken still had the 2003 St. George Marathon to qualify for the Olympic Trials to be held in February of 2004. He was in great shape again, and was ready to get the time necessary to go to the Trials. There was a great group of men also ready to run under 2:22, so Ken settled into the pack that stayed together until the halfway point. Only one runner had broken away from the pack and extended a lead over the chase group. At the halfway point, each runner had their own strategy, and the pack started to splinter. Ken felt very strong and was solely focused on that qualifying time. After a few miles, Ken realized that he was ahead of everyone that was in the chase pack, and could clearly see the leader as the miles counted down to the finish. Ken told himself to keep running a smart race, or there would be no qualifier. He kept closing the gap on the leader, and as they came into St. George and entered the final mile, Ken was in striking distance. As it was, Ken could not overtake the leader, and settled for 2nd place, only 13 seconds behind the winner, which is the closest finish in the history of the St. George Marathon. Ken had his qualifying time, and also his career personal record in a time of 2:20:48, which is also the 55th fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011.
Ken again finished in the top 10 in 2004, when he finished 4th overall in a tightly contested race that only had 1 minute and 40 seconds separating the top 5 runners. Ken then took a break from running in St. George for six years, but returned in 2010 as competitive as ever. At age 45, Ken finished 3rd overall in the entire race, running a time of 2:29:12, which also made him the 2nd place Masters (over age 40) runner. Ken ended up with four overall top 5 finishes in the St. George Marathon. He also had six performances in the overall top 10. Only one male runner in the entire history of the race had more years placing in either the top 5 or top 10. He also ended up running in the 2004 Olympic Trials as well the 2003 US Marathon Championships.
Because of this performance, Ken Pliska is the #24 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Enid Rust Number #24||
Enid Rust, Sandy, Utah, is a member of the St. George Marathon “ten year club” and ran the race during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Enid’s record in the marathon easily qualifies her status of a Legend of the race.
Enid is originally from Norwich, Kansas, and grew up in a household that discouraged women from any sport, and that would include running. However, Enid was very active as a teenager, including being on the cheerleading squad at her high school. She began running three days a week for 30 minutes a day in 1972 at age 26 when she read that running was the most efficient form of exercise. She took her running up a notch in 1977 when she moved to Utah and attended a running seminar at the University of Utah. She learned at the seminar that the benefits of running would greatly increase if she increased the distance and intensity of her runs.
In 1978, Enid decided to run the Deseret News Marathon in Salt Lake City. When her father learned of her decision to run the marathon, he pleaded with her not to participate, fearing for her safety by holding to the old fashioned belief that women were not capable of running that far. He probably didn’t realize that Enid had been running up to 100 miles per week in training for the race. In her debut marathon in Salt Lake City, she placed 7th overall.
With her debut marathon finished, Enid and her friends decided to run the St. George Marathon in October of 1978 for her second race at this distance. She again finished in the top ten, when she placed 8th overall.
Enid came back to St. George in 1979 with more experience and training for the 26.2 mile distance of a marathon. She led the race right from the gun and was never challenged, as she won by the 1979 St. George Marathon by nine minutes and twenty seconds, which is still the third largest time difference between first and second in the history of the race. She felt like she was flying through the entire course and never had any doubts about her lead diminishing.
In 1981, Enid returned to St. George hoping to win the race again. She had incorporated track repeats to help with her speed in preparation for the marathon by running with her oldest son’s cross country team at Brighton High School. During the first 23 miles of the 1981 race, Enid was solidly in second place, but suddenly, the leader had stepped off the course with an injury, and Enid realized that she was in the overall lead. She ran the fastest three miles of her life all the way to the finish line, and became the Overall Winner of the 1981 St. George Marathon. In 1982, Enid again had a top 10 finish, as she placed 4th overall in the race.
There have only been four women that have won the St. George Marathon more than one time, and Enid is a member of that exclusive club. Of course, by this point in 1982, her parents had changed their mind, as they were now incredibly proud of Enid’s running accomplishments. One of the high points of her running career was returning to Kansas in 1981 and winning a half marathon that was attended by her parents.
Enid will always have fond memories of the St. George Marathon. She loves the course, especially running in the dark for the early miles. She also states that of all the marathons that she has run, St. George has the best aid stations, the best finish line, and the friendliest staff and community. Because of this performance, Enid Rust is the #24 all time performer in the St. George marathon.
|Iain Hunter Number #23||
Iain Hunter, Provo, Utah, completed the St. George Marathon just two times during the late 2000’s, but his performances in both years were impressive enough to qualify him as a Legend of the race.
Iain ran for Prospect High School in Saratoga, California, before running at Brigham Young University. Both in high school and at BYU, Iain focused on the 800 meter race on the track. After completing his undergraduate degree at BYU, Iain moved to Corvallis, Oregon to attend Oregon State University for his graduate studies. During this time, his running career took a momentary break, but he stayed active with a bit of road and track racing. In 2006, while participating in a long training run with the current BYU team, Iain realized that he could handle the longer distances, and decided to work with Coach Ed Eyestone (BYU men’s distance coach and two-time Olympic Marathoner) on specific marathon training. Iain decided to run the St. George Marathon in 2007 because it is the biggest marathon in Utah, and because he had heard about the top notch organization of the race. He worked with Coach Eyestone to put together a training program and his debut marathon was quite successful as he finished in the top 10 with a 9th place finish in a time of 2:22:57.
Iain decided that the 2007 race had been a success, but there were a few things that he could have done differently, and made the decision to try again in 2009. For a year prior to the 2009 St. George Marathon, Iain had his goals listed and taped prominently at work. He would regularly see the goal of “top 3 at St. George”. He had his planned 5 mile splits memorized. He had a good base of training in the summer of 2009, and was ready to go when the race date finally arrived.
Right from the start of the race, Iain took the lead and the distance between him and 2nd place continued to grow in the early miles. Iain started to wonder why no other runner was with him at the front of the race, however, his pace was exactly as he had planned, so he continued at his expected pace. Right before the Veyo hill at mile 7, another runner caught Iain and went into the lead, and kept that lead until the halfway point. At mile 15, Iain took control of 1st place again, and stayed in front as the race moved into the city of St. George. The excitement started to grow as Iain passed each mile marker and no other runner was close. At mile 25, the policeman escorting Iain told him that 2nd place was two blocks behind, so Iain realized that he was going to win. He was wearing an old BYU uniform, and as he rounded the last turn, the high school band on the corner started playing the Cougar fight song. It was an exciting and satisfying experience to cross the finish line as the winner of the 2009 St. George Marathon and having his wife and children there at the finish. At age 38, Iain tied one other male runner as the oldest winner in the history of the race. His final time was 2:21:03, which is the 58th fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. Iain is also one of only 20 men that have two performances in the top 100 fastest times in the St. George Marathon’s history. Because of this performance, Iain Hunter is the #23 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Colleen Monk-Hoffmann Number #23||
Colleen Monk Hoffmann, Salt Lake City, Utah, completed the St. George Marathon four times in the late 1970’s and in the early 1980’s, and her performances in all the years were impressive enough to earn her the title of Legend of the marathon.
Colleen began running in 1977 in her early 20’s with a business associate, with the main goal to improve her overall fitness. She decided to run a marathon, and chose the 1979 St. George Marathon as her debut. The debut went better than expected, as she was the 2nd overall female in her first attempt at the marathon distance. She had a natural talent for running and also had endurance to run for a long time, and this worked well in her debut.
She did not run St. George again until 1983, but decided to come back with the overall goal to qualify for the first US Olympic Women’s Marathon Trials to be held in May 1984 in Olympia, Washington. A time of 2:51 was necessary to participate in the inaugural Trials that were to be held in order to select the women to represent the US in the 1984 US Olympics in Los Angeles. Colleen ran the 1983 St. George Marathon and proceeded to run a time of 2:49:45 which was again good enough for 2nd place overall, and was just 75 seconds behind the overall winner. This finish is the 10th closest finish in the history of the women’s race in the St. George Marathon.
Colleen returned the following year to run in St. George, but this time was solely focused on using the race for a long training run for the New York City Marathon that she had qualified for and was scheduled for three weeks after the St. George race. She now had a solid training base, in addition, she also had now run many races which helped her develop a solid race strategy. Her strategy was to run the first 20 miles of the St. George Marathon, and then drop out to save her legs for the New York City Marathon. However, at the 20 mile mark, spectators had told her that she was the first female, so, she decided to stay in the race and go for the win. Colleen was the Overall Winner in the 1984 St. George Marathon in a time of 2:45:54. Unfortunately, the New York City Marathon did not go as well as planned, as she hit the wall in the later stages of the race and had to walk quite a bit of the race.
Colleen returned to St. George in 1986 with the goal to qualify for the 1988 Olympic Trials to be held in Pittsburgh in May 1988. She set a career personal record time of 2:45:15 which was again fast enough for the top 10 overall, finishing in 3rd place. This time was the 54th fastest performance in the history of the St. George Marathon, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. Colleen is one of only eight women that have finished in the top 2 overall in more than one year. She did end up running in both the 1984 and 1988 US Olympic Trials.
Colleen has many fond memories of her races in St. George. She enjoys the warm weather as compared to the Northern Utah area, and also loves the scenic course, especially the downhill portion. She always is amazed at the organization of race day, from the carbo loading “party” the night before the race, to the buses getting all the runners to the start line, the many helpful volunteers along the course, and the support at the finish line.
Because of this performance, Colleen Monk Hoffmann is the #23 all time performer in the St. George marathon.
|Trevor Pettingill Number #22||
Trevor Pettingill, Salt Lake City, Utah, completed the St. George Marathon just two times in the early 2000’s, however, his performance has earned him the status as a Legend of the race.
Trevor ran successfully in high school in Meridian, Idaho, where he was a two time state champion in the 3200 meter race on the track. After high school, he ran at Brigham Young University, where he competed in the steeplechase event on the track. He was all-conference each of his four years of eligibility at BYU, and narrowly missed the qualifying time for the 2000 US Olympic Trials in the steeplechase. After completing his career at BYU, Trevor had not seriously considered running a marathon. Occasionally, his wife would be asked from other runners on whether or not Trevor had run a marathon, and when the answer was “no”, his creditability as a runner was somehow reduced. Jokingly, she said to Trevor, “just run one and get it over with”. He decided eventually to try some marathon training and incorporate some longer distance runs, and found that he enjoyed the training.
Trevor came to St. George in 2002 to run his debut marathon with no real game plan of how the race would unfold. Unfortunately for Trevor, it wasn’t the best experience. He decided to run with the 2001 winner of the race, and made it to mile seven, but then made the decision to let him go and backed off the pace. Trevor ran alone in 3rd place starting at mile eight, and went through the half in a time of 1:10:30. As happens quite often in a debut marathon, Trevor hit the wall at mile 17. He still was in third until mile 19 when other runners started to pass him. He had done a poor job of hydrating, and was starting to feel the effects of the quick start and the lack of fluids. By mile 22, Trevor was jogging, and at times felt like he was doing nothing more than a brisk walk. He hung on to finish in the top 10 with a time of 2:26:38. He wasn’t the first elite runner to be somewhat humbled by the marathon distance, but Trevor took something positive from the race. He realized that he only missed the US Olympic Trials qualifying time by 4 minutes and 30 seconds. He felt like if he trained better, raced smarter, and properly hydrated, he could return and get the time necessary to run in the 2004 Trials to be held in Birmingham, Alabama in February of 2004.
Trevor wrote out a ten month training program for next year. He had increased his mileage, done excellent speedwork, had great training partners, and also had a good race day plan. He also decided to run the Mayors Marathon in Anchorage, Alaska in June of 2003 as a long training run, and simply destroyed the rest of the field in winning the race by over 13 minutes.
As he stood at the starting line of the 2003 St. George Marathon, Trevor’s confidence was high. A pack of eight runners stayed together until the hill in Veyo at mile eight. After the hill, the lead pack was whittled to four, including our #24 legend, Ken Pliska. They hit the half way point in 1:11:30 and the pack knew the pace would have to increase to get the qualifying time for the Trials. After halfway, Trevor started to drift towards the back of the pack, and felt like the pack was ready to leave him. He decided at that point to stay with the group and surged to get back with them. They ran the three mile stretch from mile 14 to 17 in a blazing pace of 4:50 per mile, at which point another runner passed them and Trevor decided to go with him. This was at the same point in the 2002 race that he had hit the wall, and now Trevor was surging to the front. It only took a few minutes of running with this other runner that Trevor then took the overall lead.
Trevor ran in the lead from mile 17 to 25, and then started to hear from different spectators about how close was the second place runner. He heard different versions literally seconds apart, from “100 meter lead” to “50 meter lead”, and picked up his pace as best that he could. He ended up as the overall winner of the 2003 St. George Marathon, beating Ken Pliska by only 13 seconds, which is the closest finish in the history of the race. His time is the 44th fastest time in the history of the race. He had also qualified for the Olympic Trials, which he did participate in just four months later. Trevor will always remember St. George as the “birthplace” of the marathon for him, and it will always be his favorite race. Trevor feels that the organization of the race was spectacular and as good as any race that he has run.
Because of this performance, Trevor Pettingill is the #22 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Michelle Petrus Number #22||
Michelle Petrus, Provo, Utah, only completed the St. George Marathon in one year, however, her performance in 1993 was so remarkable that she cemented her status as a Legend of the race.
Michelle began running at age 13 in her hometown in Virginia and continued until she completed her high school career. After high school, she took a break from running while in college. Eventually, she began running again at age 25 to help with her overall fitness and also because she missed the competitive edge that she had in high school. She joined the local running club, the Star City Striders, in Roanoke, Virginia which helped her ease back into racing. She then moved to the Northern Utah area and after a year living in Utah met her future husband and national class runner, Dennis Simonaitis.
Michelle made the decision to run the St. George Marathon in 1993, less than two years after she restarted her running career. Her running talent was put on display as she simply dominated the 1993 race in a remarkable fashion. She simply ran away from the rest of the field and ran the 23rd fastest time in the history of the race in a time of 2:42:41. Michelle was the Overall Winner of the 1993 St. George Marathon.
With her victory in St. George, Michelle had just begun having success in her remarkable running career. With the help of her husband Dennis, and later, under the coaching advice of Demetrio Cabanillas, she has had phenomenal success. She has won the Deseret News Marathon in both 1997 and 2003. Michelle also ran in the 2000 US Olympic Marathon Trials held in Columbia, South Carolina. She set her career personal record in the 2001 Austin Motorola Marathon in a time of 2:40:35 which qualified her to represent the United States in the 2001 World Championship Marathon held in Edmonton, Canada. She has also had a very successful Masters (over age 40) career, including the overall female winner in the 2007 Carlsbad 5000 race. Her status as Legend however, was earned when she won the 1993 St. George Marathon by over six minutes. Since her race in 1993, there has only been one St. George Marathon that had a larger time difference between 1st and 2nd place.
Because of this performance, Michelle Petrus is the #22 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Michael Kirk Number #21||
Michael Kirk, Salt Lake City, Utah, completed the St. George Marathon six times during the 2000’s, and all six performances were fast enough to be included in the top 1,000 fastest times ever in the history of the race.
Mike, who coached cross country and track at Judge High School in Salt Lake City, decided to run the St. George Marathon for the first time in 2000. During a year that is remembered for warm weather, Mike finished in the top ten overall with a time of 2:34:31 which was good enough for 10th place. Mike came back and ran again in 2001 and again in 2002, when he ran 2:33:45, beating his time from 2000. At this point in his career at St. George, Mike did not really leave an impression of being included in this “Legends” list, however, he still had not reached his peak.
In 2003, Mike came back and ran a four minute personal record at St. George, breaking the 2:30 barrier, with a time of 2:29:39, which again landed him in the top 10 overall, once again 10th place, same as in 2000.
In 2004, Mike returned and simply stunned the St. George Marathon with his remarkable performance and improvement over his previous races. Mike came to the starting line well trained and in great shape. He was patient when the gun went off and went at his planned pace, letting the lead pack slowly pull away from him. He went through the half way point of the marathon in a time of 1:13:30, but then started to pick up his pace which allowed him to catch the runners in the back end of the lead pack. He finally spotted the police motorcycle that was escorting the lead runner and overtook him at the 24 mile mark. From that point of the race, Mike ran into the finish line and finished as the overall champion of the 2004 St. George Marathon. He ran the second half in a negative split, finishing in 1:10:07 for a total time of 2:23:37, which is the 115th fastest time in the history of the race. The second place finisher was the representative of the sister marathon from Ibigawa, Japan, and was only 29 seconds behind Mike, which is the second closest finish in the history of the race.
Mike had won the overall title in 2004 in his fifth attempt in St. George and improved his time from the previous year by over six minutes. No other runner had run as many years in the race before winning the overall title. Mike came back one last time and ran a 2:31:24 in 2007 and finished in 19th place, however, Mike had already earned his title as Legend.
Because of this performance, Michael Kirk is the #21 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Julie Thomas Number #21||
. Julie Thomas, Salt Lake City, Utah, completed the St. George Marathon eight times throughout the 2000’s, and all eight performances were fast enough to be included in the top 1,000 times in the history of the race.
After completing a successful high school running career at Orem High School, Julie ran on scholarship at the University of Utah. Julie did not consider running a marathon until she had started her family, but, after having two children, decided to run in the 1998 Deseret News Marathon in Salt Lake City. After running that race, she was hooked on marathons. She had always known about the St. George marathon, as her coach at the time had actually won the St. George Marathon (also a legend who will be profiled soon), and also a neighbor had run the race each year. Now that she was hooked on marathons, she decided to try St. George for the first time in 1998. She ran well, but was not satisfied with her effort. She missed the 1999 race because she was pregnant with her third child that was born in March of 2000. She was excited to begin training again and targeted the 2000 St. George Marathon as an opportunity to finally break three hours in a marathon.
Julie met that goal as she ran 2:55:22 and finished 4th place overall in the 2000 race which was remarkable considering she gave birth just seven months before the race. After winning the 2001 Ogden Marathon, Julie had to miss the 2001 St. George Marathon due to her being pregnant with her fourth child. She gave birth to child #4 in March of 2002, and again, she decided to run the St. George Marathon just seven months after childbirth. She was amazing as she set a PR (personal record) in the marathon, running 2:52:55. In 2004, Julie again had a top 5 finish, when she ran a new PR in 2:51:22 and finished 4th overall. Julie took a break from marathons between 2005 and 2007, but not a break from having kids, as she added two more children to her family.
In 2008, Julie returned from a three year break, and was just hoping that her skill level did not drop off by too much. The 2008 St. George Marathon is well remembered for the rain and head wind that was present throughout the race. Julie ran well and was in second place overall after the 20 mile mark but eventually settled for 3rd place in a time of 2:51:39, which was less than two minutes behind the overall winner.
Julie returned to the St. George Marathon in 2009 but was not very confident as she did not have a good year of training. She had been dealing with injuries to her IT band and also had her worst marathon experience in July at the Deseret News Marathon. The weather for the 2009 St. George Marathon was perfect, cold early on, and cool and sunny throughout the race. When the gun went off, the lead pack took off, but Julie started more slowly. As the race progressed, she passed several women, and by mile 16, she could see the motorcycle escort for the lead runner just ahead. By mile 19, Julie had taken the lead, but she knew that the 2nd and 3rd place women were close behind. Her family was waiting at mile 23, and had no idea that she was in the lead, so, naturally, they started screaming at “Mom” to keep going. Julie knew at this point she had to hang on, she wanted the win badly with her “fan club” so excited. Julie was the Overall Winner of the St. George Marathon in 2009 with a time of 2:48:29. The race was very close, as her final margin of victory was just 45 seconds, which is the 5th closest finish in the history of the race.
Julie came back in 2010 and had her fifth top 5 finish, as she again was 4th place overall in a time of 2:51:19. Julie’s five top 5 finishes has only been surpassed by two other women in the history of the St. George Marathon. In addition, Julie won the marathon on her seventh attempt in St. George, which only one woman tried more times before her initial win. And finally, while this might be “unofficial”, it seems very possible that no winner of the St. George Marathon has more than Julie’s six children.
Julie is very proud of her St. George victory, but just as memorable to her was her participation in a recent Boston Marathon. She was able to begin with the elite women, in addition, she was also able to have her parents at the finish line, who have supported her throughout her running career. Both of her parents were in wheelchairs, but Julie’s husband was able to secure two good viewing spots at the finish line. It was very emotional for Julie to finish that race as the 24th American in front of her very proud parents.
Because of this performance, Julie Thomas is the #21 all time performer in the St. George marathon.