St. George Marathon Top 50 Legends 20 - 11
|Deron Scott Number #20||
. Deron Scott, Logan, Utah, completed the St. George Marathon six times throughout the 1990’s and all six performances were fast enough to be included in the top 1,000 times in the history of the race.
Deron ran his debut St. George Marathon in 1992, and what a debut it was. He finished in 2nd place overall with a time of 2:24:10, holding off the next finisher by just six seconds and finishing about three minutes behind the overall winner. Deron returned in 1993 and ran a personal best in St. George with a time of 2:21:01, again finishing in the top 10 overall, this time in 3rd place. Deron’s time in 1993 was the 54th fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. His time in 1993 would have won 13 of the St. George Marathons that have been held. In 1994, Deron returned to St. George and was again in the top 10 overall, this year his time was 2:22:46, which was good enough for a 6th place finish. In 1995, Deron was involved in the fastest and deepest field of male runners in the history of the race. He ran a time of 2:25:22 and finished in 20th place. An unusual statistic about Deron’s 1995 performance is that his time is the fastest 20th place time in the history of the race.
In 1997, Deron has his fourth top 10 overall finish, as he ran 2:27:01 and finished in 4th place. With Deron’s four top 10 overall finishes, he joins a select club with only nine runners that have that have at least four performances in the top 10 overall. He also is one of only 20 men that have two performances that were fast enough to be included in the top 100 all-time fastest times.
Because of this performance, Deron Scott is the #20 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Janell Burgon Number #20||
Janell Burgon, Orem, Utah, only completed the St George Marathon just one time, however, her performance in 1990 was so remarkable that she earned her status as Legend of the race.
Janell in high school at Santa Fe High School in New Mexico, where she still dominated on the track in the longer distance events. She then ran at the collegiate level at Brigham Young University and earned the status of All-American during her years running for the Cougars in the 5,000 and 10,000 meter races on the track. She also ran in the 1984 US Olympic Trials in the 10,000 meter event on the track.
Janell decided to run her debut marathon in the 1990 St. George Marathon. She chose that race to do her debut based on her knowledge that the marathon in St. George had the best reputation in Utah as far as putting on an excellent race. She also would have family support during the race. She stood at the starting line of the 1990 race with a lofty goal. That goal was that she wanted to run under 2:45:00, which was the qualifying time for the 1992 US Olympic Marathon Trials that were to be held in January 1992 in Houston.
Janell went out fast and took control of the race early on. She ran strong for the first 20 miles building a big lead, but after the 20 mile mark, fatigue started to set in on a warm day for a marathon. At the 21 mile mark, a police escort showed up and informed her that she was leading the race. She hung on to win the 1990 St. George Marathon in an amazing debut time of 2:42:33, with second place finishing 1 minute and 36 seconds later. Her time in 1990 was the fifth fastest time in the history of the race up to that point, and is still the 21st quickest performance all time for the St. George marathon. Her time in 1992 did qualify her for the Olympic Trials, which she did participate in 15 months after her St. George victory. Janell has always had a soft spot for the St. George Marathon, despite her dislike of the Veyo hill at mile 8, which seems to go on forever (actually, about 1.25 miles!). She loves the scenery of the course, and the marathon staff performs like a “well-oiled machine” in race day preparation. Because of this performance,
Janell Burgon is the #20 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Kelly Mortenson Number #19||
Kelly Mortenson, Minneapolis, Minnesota, completed the St. George Marathon three times and all three performances were fast enough to be included in the top 1,000 times in the history of the race.
Kelly competed in both cross country and track in high school in Canby, Minnesota, before walking on at Moorhead State University in Moorhead, Minnesota. While at Moorhead State, Kelly earned All-American status five times at the NAIA level.
In 1998, Kelly had a goal of running a marathon fast enough to qualify for the 2000 US Olympic Marathon Trials, which were to be held in May of 2000 in Pittsburgh. Kelly decided to run that qualifying time under 2:22:00 in St. George because he had heard from other running friends that it was a fast course if you could handle the downhill miles late in the race. He moved to Colorado Springs during 1998 specifically to train for St. George because of the altitude training and also because he could find long runs in the area that were comparable to the hills of the St. George Marathon. Prior to 1998, he had a personal record in the marathon of 2:27, but felt confident when he arrived in St. George that he could run quick enough to go to the Olympic Trials.
When the gun went off starting the 1998 race, Kelly started out very conservatively in the first few miles, but then caught the second pack of runners at the base of the Veyo hill. There were approximately eight runners in this second pack, with another 4-5 runners up ahead about 300 meters in the lead pack. During the long uphill through mile 8, Kelly surged and caught the lead pack which stayed intact through mile 16. At this point, Kelly and another runner, Craig Lawson, decided to push the pace, and ran the next mile in 4:43. When Kelly saw that split, he was concerned about blowing up in the race, because he could barely run an open mile that fast, let alone a mile during a marathon. At about mile 18, Kelly gradually pulled away from Craig and ran strong all the way until mile 25. At that point, Kelly felt the effects of dehydration with his hamstring causing him problems. He continually looked back to see what other runners were coming as he struggled to finish the race in the lead. His pace per mile slowed to 6:30 but he was able to hang on and win the 1998 St. George Marathon with a time of 2:19:20, which is the 30th fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. Craig Lawson finished just 30 seconds later which made the 1998 race the 4th closest finish ever. Craig and Kelly both ran in the Olympic Trials in 2000, and ran together for most of the race, with Kelly finishing 12th overall and Craig finishing just six seconds later.
Kelly returned to St. George in 2003 and finished in 9th place overall in a time of 2:26:32, and then had his third top 10 finish in 2007 with a time of 2:23:28 which was good enough for 10th place overall.
The 1998 St. George Marathon is Kelly’s only marathon victory, however, other highlights of his career include finishing 11th overall in the 2002 Los Angeles Marathon and 15th overall in the 2005 US Marathon Championships. Kelly still feels that the St. George Marathon is his favorite race, and that the staff of the marathon and the organization of the race are the best that he has seen. The course is scenic and fast which are two key qualities of a top notch marathon.
Because of this performance, Kelly Mortenson is the #19 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Carolyn Ostler-lyman Number #19||
Carolyn Ostler-Lyman, Salt Lake City, Utah, completed the St. George Marathon four times and her performances in those races were at such a high level that she earned her status as a Legend of the race.
Carolyn did not begin her running career until after she had graduated from the University of Utah. As a child, she was quite an accomplished swimmer and diver, and competed throughout high school and college in these events, including qualifying for the college national championship in diving. After she began to run for her daily exercise, her competitive juices took over and she started to enter shorter races such as the 5k and 10k. Carolyn decided to enter the 1980 Deseret News Marathon in Salt Lake City, even though her longest training run at that point was only 13 miles. She struggled through her debut marathon, however, after the race she received a flyer about the St. George Marathon, and decided to give it a try. She was quite successful in her 1980 debut race in St. George, as she was the 5th overall female in 1980. She came back to St. George in 1981 and improved her overall placing to 3rd female in the marathon.
When Carolyn signed up for the 1982 St. George Marathon, she decided to increase her mileage during her training that summer to between 75 to 85 miles per week. She felt her stamina increasing and her confidence growing. She had been running well throughout the summer, and had a goal for St. George to not only win the race, but to set the course record which currently stood at 2:46:37. Carolyn led from wire to wire in the 1982 race, feeling very strong and energetic throughout the entire course. She kept telling herself to remember her pacing so that she would have something left for the last few miles. Carolyn was the overall winner of the 1982 St. George Marathon, and, did indeed set the course record, when she ran 2:44:04, which is still the 36th fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. Her time in the 1982 race was outside the window to qualify her to run in the historic inaugural 1984 US Olympic Women’s Marathon Trials held in Olympia, Washington, however, she did get the qualifying time in a marathon in Arizona in 1983, which allowed her to participate in that first Women’s Olympic Trials. At the insistence of her husband, Carolyn did return to St. George in 1991, and was the 3rd overall Masters (over age 40) runner and broke her time goal of under 3 hours.
In addition to her win in the 1982 St. George Marathon, Carolyn was also a three time winner of the Deseret News Marathon. Now that her marathon days are over, Carolyn has gone back to dominating in the pool, as she has had success in the Masters division of swimming, including winning two United States titles.
Carolyn is one of only eleven women that have at least three top 5 overall finishes in the St. George Marathon. She has always loved running in St. George, she feels that the course is amazing and there cannot be a marathon route that is more beautiful. She is appreciative of the incredible volunteers and the wonderful staff that put the race together. She enjoys the drop in elevation on the course which helps you maintain your pace and effort when you are feeling fatigued.
Because of this performance, Carolyn Ostler is the #19 all time performer in the St. George marathon.
|Keiichi Matsuzaki Number #18||
Keiichi Matsuzaki, Tokai-Chi, Japan, completed the St. George Marathon two times during the early 2000’s and his performances were impressive enough to earn the title as a legend of the race.
Keiichi came to St. George to run the marathon as a result of the partnership between the St. George Marathon and a marathon held in November each year in Ibigawa, Japan. Each year, Ibigawa and St. George send the overall winners of their races to the sister city to compete, along with other delegates of the two cities. This partnership began in 1989 and has been a successful way of sharing cultures through running.
Keiichi won his trip to the 2000 St. George Marathon by winning the 1999 Ibigawa Marathon, and he made the most of his trip. Under unusually warm marathon conditions, Keiichi ran away from the field and was the Overall Winner of the 2000 St. George Marathon in a time of 2:21:06, beating his nearest competitor by over three minutes. Keiichi’s time in 2000 is the 60th fastest performance in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011.
One month after his victory at the 2000 St. George Marathon, Keiichi was at the start line of the 2000 Ibigawa Marathon and proceeded to win the race for the third straight year. Because of his victory in Ibigawa, Keiichi again returned to St. George in 2001 to try and repeat as champion. Once again, Keiichi ran a fantastic race, but came up just short in winning the title as he finished in 2nd place overall with a time of 2:22:41, less than two minutes behind the winner of the race. Keiichi is one of only twenty men that have two performances in the top 100 fastest times in the history of the race. He also is one of only ten men that had multiple top 2 overall finishes. Keiichi is the most successful international runner to come to St. George as a result of the relationship with the Ibigawa Marathon.
Because of this performance, Keiichi Matsuzaki is the #18 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Dr. Joan Ullyot Number #18||
Dr. Joan Ullyot, San Francisco, California, completed the St. George Marathon only in 1988, however, her performance was so remarkable that she easily qualified as a Legend of the race.
Joan is not just a woman with remarkable running talent, she also has had a significant impact on women’s running and sports medicine. She began running in 1970 to lose weight and improve fitness, and less than two years later became one of America’s top distance runners. In 1976, Joan wrote the best selling book, “Women’s Running” which was based on her experience in running when there was very little advice available for women that wanted to incorporate running into their fitness plan. She then released two other books on running, and all of her books espoused and popularized new theories such as limiting your weekly mileage increase to 10%, keep your speedwork to about 10% of your total mileage, and that no matter the age you begin running, a runner will have 10 years worth of personal improvement. She also wrote a monthly column on sports medicine for Women’s Sports and Fitness magazine, and was an editor and columnist for Runner’s World magazine.
Joan was also a pioneer in the 1970’s in women running marathons. In some of her early marathons, she wore a swimming suit because women’s racing attire was not yet being manufactured. She was named a member of the United States National Marathon Team from 1974 to 1979. As a result of being on the national team, Joan participated in the first women’s International Marathon Championships in Waldniel, Germany in 1974. She also ran for the United States in the International Marathon Championships in both 1976 and 1979. Joan also had victories in the 1973 and 1975 Pikes Peak Marathon in Colorado, the 1979 Golden Gate Marathon in San Francisco, and the inaugural 1977 Lilac Bloomsday 12k held in Spokane, Washington. She was also the Masters Champion at the 1984 Boston Marathon.
In the summer of 1988, Joan was training at altitude at 8500 feet above sea level in Colorado and decided to run in the St. George Marathon. At that time, the St. George Marathon was very popular in Colorado, and Joan knew of the marathon’s reputation of being a good downhill marathon, which was her strength. Joan was age 48, but was still training very well and had crafted a specific training program to mimic the St. George Marathon course. As the 1988 race began, Joan started conservatively for the first few miles and ran at a steady pace through the uphill miles in the first half. Once the downhill portion began in the 2nd half, Joan worked her way through the female leaders, and took the lead in the race around mile 18. From that point to the finish, Joan increased her lead and was the Overall Winner of the 1988 St. George Marathon. She ran a personal best time of 2:47:39 and won the race by five minutes and 30 seconds, which is the 9th largest time difference between 1st and 2nd place. At age 48, Joan is the oldest winner of the race, and still has the fastest time ever recorded in the age group 45-49 in St. George.
Joan still has very fond memories of St. George, commenting that it is “a wonderful race to run”, and was fun to stand at the start line with the bonfires. She enjoyed the darkness as the race began, and then the beauty of the course as the race progressed. She was also very impressed with the organization of the race.
Because of this performance, Joan Ullyot is the #18 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|James Lander Number #17||
James Lander, La Habra, California, completed during the St. George Marathon two times during the 2000’s, and both performances were impressive enough to be named a legend of the race.
James came to the St. George Marathon for the first time in 2002. He ran a solid time of 2:22:24 and finished in 3rd place overall. He had very limited marathon experience before the 2002 race, so his effort and placing was quite impressive.
In 2006, James returned and was focused on qualifying for the 2008 US Olympic Marathon Trials to be held in November 2007 in New York City. The 2006 St. George Marathon was his fifth attempt at the 26.2 mile distance. Up to this point, James had yet won a marathon despite his immense talent. When the 2006 race started, James was in the chase pack but eventually decided to catch the leader of the race at mile 10. He drafted behind the leader for a short time, and then decided to go in front. He decided to run the rest of the race and just “go by feel” and see how things would turn out. Well, “things” turned out well, as he ran a remarkable time of 2:18:25 which meant that James was the Overall Winner of the 2006 St. George Marathon. His time was the 17th fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011.
James is one of only 20 men to have two performances in the top 100 fastest times in the history of the race. His performance in the 2006 St. George Marathon did qualify him to participate in the 2008 US Olympic Marathon Trials where he finished 40th place overall, which was quicker than any other participant that qualified at the St. George Marathon. His most recent marathon success occurred at the 2010 Victoria Marathon where he finished in 2nd place overall by only 30 seconds.
Because of this performance, James Lander is the #17 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Mary Button Number #17||
Mary Button, Los Angeles, California, completed the St. George Marathon four times in the in the late 1990’s and her consistently fast performances during that time earned her the status as a Legend of the race.
Mary is originally from Cherry Hill, New Jersey and was an accomplished swimmer in her teen years at Camden Catholic High School. She did not take up the sport of marathon running until she was age 29 by running the Los Angeles Marathon in 1989. Her first three attempts at the 26.2 mile distance were all completed at the LA Marathon, and each race was completed in just over 3 hours. However, starting with her fourth career race at the 1991 Orange County Marathon, Mary completed a remarkable streak by running twenty straight marathons under 3 hours over a nine year period including a 1st place overall finish at the 1992 Culver City Marathon.
She decided to come to St. George in 1995 in an attempt to run the 2:50:00 qualifying time required for the 1996 US Olympic Marathon Trials that were to be held in February of 1996 in Columbia, South Carolina. She was ecstatic to accomplish that goal by running 2:48:53 in the 1995 race which was fast enough for 8th place overall.
In 1996, Mary returned to St. George to run the marathon again. However, this year, her return also involved business. In 1993, Mary and her husband started their own small business, called Race Ready, which is a manufacturer of running apparel. Race Ready had arranged to have a booth in the expo the day before the race, which meant that Mary was on her feet selling items to runners from 9 am to 9 pm. Needless to say, she was worn out even before she made it to the start line just 8 hours after the expo closed. When the 1996 race started, Mary took off and ran an incredible race. She felt strong throughout the race and ended up running the 18th fastest time in the history of the race in a time of 2:42:11. However, her amazing time was good enough for 2nd place overall. She was just 44 seconds behind the eventual winner, which was the closest marathon finish at that point in the history of the race. Currently, it is still the 4th closest finish ever recorded. Her time would have won 22 of the 34 years that the race has been held.
In 1997, Mary returned and had another top 10 finish, when she ran 2:45:40, which put her at 3rd overall. Shortly after the race, the marathon staff gave her good news. Since 1989, the St. George Marathon had a “sister city” relationship with Ibigawa, Japan, and would send the overall winner to the Ibigawa Marathon. The overall winner in the 1997 race was from Ibigawa, and the 2nd place female was unable to go, so this meant Mary went to Japan as the 1997 representative from St. George. Mary had a wonderful experience in Japan that began with a very welcoming host family. She also finished 6th overall that year in the Ibigawa half marathon.
In 1999, Mary had her fourth top ten finish, finishing 8th overall and also as the 3rd place Masters runner. Her time was 2:46:47 and also qualified her for the 2000 US Olympic Marathon Trials again held in Columbia, South Carolina.
Mary is one of nine women that have three performances that are included in the fastest 100 times ever recorded in the history of the St. George Marathon. She is also one of thirteen women that have at least four performances in the top ten overall. She has many positive memories of the race during the years that she ran, but also, still wonders how much faster she might have been without working at the expo the day before!
Because of this performance, Mary Button is the #17 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Fernando Vasquez Number #16||
Fernando Vasquez, San Pedro, California, completed the St. George Marathon just two times in both 1986 and 1987, however, his incredible performance in both years cemented his selection as a Legend of the race.
Fernando decided to come to St. George to run the marathon for the first time in 1986. Fernando was a member of the Gardena Valley Running Club located in San Pedro, California. He was a solid runner that ran his own race and was not influenced by the actions of the other runners. This helped him in the 1986 race because when the race started, two runners took off in the lead and set a blistering pace. One of those runners was the #40 legend, David Knoop. David and Norberto Segura blasted down the marathon course trying to outrun the other, while Fernando sat back in the chase group intent on running the pace that he had planned during his training for the marathon. As Norberto and David entered St. George around mile 23 they both started to deal with issues relating to the effects of running so hard for almost two hours. Fernando continued to make up ground on the two leaders, and right before the 26 mile mark, Fernando surged and passed both of the men who had led the race from the beginning. Fernando crossed the finish line in first place meaning he was the Overall Winner of the 1986 St. George Marathon. His time was 2:20:46 and he had won the race by thin margin of just 34 seconds, which at that time was the closest finish in the history of the race. Even today, it is still the 5th closest finish all time.
In 1987, Fernando returned to St. George to try and repeat as the overall champion. The 1987 race is well remembered as one of the deepest men’s field in terms of talent. The race attracted some of the top marathon runners on the west coast of the United States in an attempt to qualify for the 1988 US Olympic Men’s Marathon Trials. Four of these top runners also were part of the Gardena Valley Running Club which included Fernando as a member. Fernando again set a consistent pace and even ran almost two minutes faster than he ran in 1986, but it was only good enough for 4th place overall. His time of 2:18:56 is still the 25th fastest time in the history of the race, and would have won 20 of the 34 marathons that have been run in St. George. His 1987 time is still the fastest time ever recorded in the age group 19-24, and his time is also the fastest 4th place overall finish in the history of the race.
Fernando is one of only 12 runners that have at least two performances that are included in the fastest 50 times ever recorded in the history of the St. George Marathon.
Because of this performance, Fernando Vasquez is the #16 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Jolene Fisher Dewaal Number #16||
Jolene Fisher DeWaal, Salt Lake City, Utah, completed the St. George Marathon five times in the mid 1980’s and mid 1990’s and all five performances are in the fastest 1,000 times ever recorded.
Jolene began running competitively as a teen and had immediate success, including setting a record in the ½ mile before she even entered high school. She did run the 800 and the 1600 on the track at Olympus High School in Holladay, Utah before competing in cross country and track at Southern Utah State College (now SUU) in Cedar City, Utah. While at SUSC, Jolene placed nationally in cross country, and also set the NAIA National record in the marathon with a time of 2:50 in 1984.
Jolene ran her debut marathon at the Deseret News Marathon in 1982 on a dare with some of her college teammates, and with no training ran a time of 3:25. She then heard about the St. George Marathon, that it was a faster and more beautiful course than the one she previously ran, so in 1983, she decided to enter the race and see what she could do with a little training. What she found out in training is that she had much more natural endurance to handle the longer events, and therefore gradually moved away from the 1,500 race on the track to the longer distance races. In 1983, Jolene used this increased training to finish in the top 10 of the St. George Marathon with an 8th place overall result.
Jolene came back to the St. George Marathon in 1984 determined to run faster than ever before. She had increased her mileage and also her knowledge about the marathon distance just with the experience of having run a few races. She had joined a Northern Utah running team, the Sojourners, coached by the 1984 St. George Marathon winner Hawk Harper (and future legend). The advantages of training with this fast group of runners helped prepare Jolene for the 1984 race. Jolene improved greatly in 1984 with a time of 2:48:59, which shaved off 14 minutes from her 1983 time. This performance was good enough for another top 10 finish, this year all the way up to the runner up position, just three minutes behind the overall winner.
Jolene trained for the 1985 St. George Marathon with more confidence than ever before. She had finished in 2nd place in 1984, and felt so incredibly fresh during the 2nd half of the course. With the increased coaching and encouragement from coach Hawk Harper, Jolene felt like she could win the 1985 race, and even set the course record! A course record required her dropping five minutes off of her 1984 time, so she set up a plan one year in advance to meet that goal.
When the 1985 race started, Jolene was confident and very fit. She ran the first half in 1:24, but was in 2nd place as a female runner from California was a full two minutes ahead of her. Jolene had planned on running a negative split (second half faster than the first half), and begun to put that plan in motion. She ran aggressively in the 2nd half and passed the leader at mile 19. Jolene ended up running the second half in 1:19:27, for a total time of 2:43:27 which meant that she was the Overall Winner of the 1985 St. George Marathon. She had also met her other goal by breaking the course record by 37 seconds. Twenty six years later, Jolene’s 1985 time is still the 29th fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher this year. And for Jolene, even better than setting the course record, she had her future husband, Matt DeWaal, supporting her for the last few miles.
Jolene returned in 1993 and once again ran a remarkable race, this time finishing in 2nd place overall, with a time of 2:49:04. This meant that Jolene is one of only four women that have at least three top 2 finishes in the St. George Marathon. Today, Jolene has moved on quite successfully competing in Olympic distance triathlons as part of the Canyon Tri Team in Northern Utah.
Because of this performance, Jolene Fisher DeWaal is the #16 all time performer in the St. George marathon.
|Curtis Moore Number #15||
Curtis Moore, Riverton, Utah, completed the St. George Marathon just two times in both 2001 and 2002, however, his remarkable performance in both years made him an easy selection as a Legend of the race.
After completing a successful cross country and track career at Bingham High School in Salt Lake City, Curtis enrolled at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah where he competed again in both cross country and track. In the summer of 2001, he still had one year left of eligibility as a track athlete (he had completed his cross country eligibility) and Curtis convinced his coach at SUU, Eric Houle, to allow him to train for and compete in the 2001 St. George Marathon. The marathon training gave Curtis the motivation to keep his focus and prepare for the spring 2002 track season. His goal going into the 2001 St. George Marathon was to have fun and to do his best. However, with Curtis’s immense talent at running, he also had to be considered a serious contender, despite this being his debut marathon.
Curtis started the 2001 race and surprised all the other serious runners by taking the lead immediately. He had not run more than 18 miles in a training run at one time, so this seemed like an aggressive move at the beginning of a marathon. At the 20 mile mark, he still had the lead and felt great. However, by mile 22, he had started to cramp up, and was feeling the effects of running the marathon distance. At the finish line, Curtis served notice that he had legitimate marathon talent when he crossed the line first meaning he was the Overall Winner of the 2001 St. George Marathon. His time was 2:20:43 and he had won the race by two minutes.
Curtis returned in 2002 with the intent of qualifying for the 2004 US Olympic Marathon Trials that were to be held in Birmingham, Alabama in February of 2004. He was in better shape than when he won the race in 2001, and was hoping for an “A” qualifying time of under 2:20. Curtis went out and ran two minutes faster than he did in the previous year as he had a finishing time of 2:18:48, which is still the 21st fastest time in the history of the St. George Marathon, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. Even though his time was fast enough to win 22 of the 34 St. George marathons, one of them was not in the year that he ran, which was 2002. Curtis finished in 2nd place overall as he was over two minutes behind the overall winner, a legend that will be revealed in a later profile. However, Curtis was thrilled to come away with the “A” standard time and did compete in the 2004 US Olympic Trials.
Curtis is one of only 12 runners that have at least two performances that are included in the fastest 50 times ever recorded in the history of the St. George Marathon. He is also one of only 10 runners that have at multiple top 2 overall finishes.
Because of this performance, Curtis Moore is the #15 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Kathy Matson Number #15||
Kathy Matson, Orem, Utah, completed the St. George Marathon in the 1980’s and 1990’s, and her performances in four of those races cemented her title as a Legend of the race.
Kathy has been a competitive runner since age 12 growing up in Oregon. She came to Provo, Utah to attend Brigham Young University and run for the Cougars. After completing her eligibility at BYU, Kathy was burned out and decided to take some time away from competitive running. Kathy decided to get back into the racing scene a couple of years later after having a couple of kids to improve her fitness. She decided to run the St. George Marathon in 1985 and ran very well, finishing in 2nd place overall in a time of 2:46:27.
After running in the 1985 race, Kathy decided to take a break from the St. George Marathon for six years, but not a break from marathons. She won the 1988 and 1991 Deseret News Marathon, and also ran very impressively in the Taiwan Marathon where she was the Overall Female Winner in a field that included over 8,000 runners. In addition, Kathy also participated in the 1988 US Olympic Marathon Trials that was held in May of 1988 in Pittsburgh. Kathy did come back to St. George in 1991 and participated in the fastest top 5 finish in the history of the race. Because the window was open to qualify for the 1992 US Olympic Marathon Trials, the St. George Marathon had a deep field of very fast women. Kathy went out and set her personal record in a time of 2:42:09, which is still the 17th fastest time in the history of the St. George Marathon, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. Her time would have won 22 of the 34 St. George Marathons that have been held. However, in an incredible year for fast running, Kathy’s time was only good for 3rd place. Her 1991 placing is the fastest 3rd place time in the history of the race.
After participating in the 1992 US Olympic Marathon Trials held in January 1992 in Houston, Kathy returned to St. George to run the 1992 marathon. She again had a top 5 placing, as she finished 3rd place overall in a time of 2:46:30.
In 1994, Kathy again wanted to run a marathon fast enough to qualify for the US Olympic Marathon Trials, this time the 1996 Olympic Trials to be held in Columbia, South Carolina in May of 1996. The qualifying window was open in the 1994 St. George Marathon, and Kathy went out and ran smart and qualified with a time of 2:46:55 which also was her fourth top five placing, this time she was 5th overall.
Kathy has an amazing resume in the St. George Marathon. She is one of only three women that have at least four performances that are in the fastest 100 times in the history of the race. She is also one of only four women that have at least four top 5 overall finishes.
Because of this performance, Kathy Matson is the #15 all time performer in the St. George marathon.
|Katie Blackett Number #14||
Katie Blackett, Boulder, Colorado, only completed the St. George Marathon in 2003, however, her performance in that race was so remarkable that she earned the title as a Legend of the race.
Katie is from Flagstaff, Arizona, and in her youth was a heptathlete, a soccer player and a skier. She was on the track & field team for Sinagua High School in Flagstaff and was a former Arizona state champion in the Long and Triple jump, and also was very competitive in the 100 yard dash. She was not a big fan of the longer distances, in fact, in high school, she would hide behind the pole vault pits so that she wouldn’t have to do the two lap warmup before practice. She received a full ride scholarship to the University of Villanova for the long jump, triple jump and the heptathlon and while at Villanova, she slowly turned into a distance runner. After completing her eligibility at Villanova, Katie was burned out on running and took a break. It was her Dad, who was a marathon runner, who inspired her to start running again by inviting her on some of his long runs.
Katie first tasted success at the marathon distance at age 23 in the 2000 Las Vegas Marathon where she was 5th overall and first American in a time of 2:46:36. She actually qualified for the 2000 US Olympic Trials that were held that same month in Columbia, South Carolina, but she decided not to run because it was so soon after the Vegas race. She eventually moved up to 2nd place overall in the Las Vegas Marathon in 2002. She was also the 6th place overall female in the 2002 USA Marathon Championships and 7th overall female in the same race in 2003.
Katie made the decision to run her first and only St. George Marathon in 2003. She had not yet won a marathon, but now was very experienced at the longer distances because she had now completed a few marathons. She arrived in St. George with other females that were intent on qualifying for the 2004 US Olympic Marathon Trials that were to be held in April, 2004 in St. Louis. Seven women ended up qualifying in 2003, but none could stay with Katie’s blistering pace as she led wire to wire. Katie was the Overall Winner of the 2003 St. George Marathon with a time of 2:40:25. Her time is the 9th fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. She beat her nearest competitor by over 3 minutes.
Katie did participate in the Olympic Trials six months later, and finished in 27th place. She is coached by Darren DeReuck in Boulder, Colorado and trains with Darren’s very accomplished wife, Colleen DeReuck. Katie has continued to have success at the marathon distance, including winning the 2006 Tucson Marathon, the 2007 Big Sur and National Marathon, and just recently she won the 2011 Eugene Marathon. Katie has now qualified for four US Olympic Trials from 2000 to 2012.
Because of this performance, Katie Blackett is the #14 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Nick Schuetze Number #14||
Nick Schuetze, Hillsboro, Oregon, only completed the St. George Marathon in 2007, however, his performance in that race was so remarkable that he earned the title as a Legend of the race.
Nick is from Hillsboro and ran for Hillsboro High School during his teen years. After high school, Nick enrolled at the University of Portland and ran from 2000 to 2005 on the Pilots cross country and track teams. While at the U of P, Nick was the West Coast Conference Freshman of the year, was the 2001 and 2004 West Coast Conference XC champion, and also placed 8th overall at the 2001 USATF Junior National Cross Country Championships. Nick decided to try and qualify for the 2008 US Olympic Marathon Trials to be held in November 2007 in New York City. He chose the 2007 St. George Marathon, just one month before the Trials, to make an attempt at a qualifying “A” standard time of 2:20. He knew the downhill course would help in his attempt to qualify, but also was aware that the race started at 4200 feet above sea level. Nick had been training at 8000 to 9000 feet of elevation at Mammoth Lakes, California, which was a favorite training location for some of the premier marathoners in the United States.
When Nick was at the starting line of the 2007 St. George Marathon, he was fit and ready to go. The weather was absolutely ideal. It was cool at the start, temperatures in the high 30’s, and a tailwind of 10 – 15 miles per hour. The 2007 race was loaded with many talented runners all looking for the Trials qualifying time. The race started and a pack of runners stayed behind the leader, which was our #35 legend, Dave Danley. Nick stayed with the pack, which also included the #47 legend, Paul Petersen. At the top of the Veyo hill, at approximately mile 8, the chase pack behind Dave was down to just three runners, including Paul and Nick. Nick finally caught the Dave during mile 11, and went through the halfway point in the lead in a time of 1:11:05, which was behind the pace for the “A” standard, but the fast downhill second half was now at hand. Nick simply blazed the second half with no one threatening his lead. He ran the second half in a time of 1:05:37, which meant that Nick was the Overall Winner of the 2007 St. George Marathon. He won the race by 90 seconds over the next finisher, Paul Petersen. In a remarkable performance for a debut marathon, Nick ran the seventh fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. His 2007 time is still the overall record for the new course, and also is the age group record for 25-29.
In the 5th grade, Nick was voted, “Most likely to be an Olympian”, and because of his 2007 performance in St. George, one month later, Nick did participate in the 2008 US Olympic Marathon Trials.
Because of this performance, Nick Schuetze is the #14 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Gayle Jacklin Number #13||
Gayle Jacklin, Post Falls, Idaho, only completed the St. George Marathon in 1995, however, her performance in that race was so remarkable that she earned the title as a Legend of the race.
Gayle is originally from the Spokane Valley in Washington. I have to admit that Gayle’s introduction to marathons is one of the more unusual stories that I have heard about. For 10 years, beginning at age 21, Gayle was involved in marathons, but not actually running in them. She actually raced her champion mule, Apache Ripper, to four straight National Mule Endurance championships, including the national record over the same distance of a marathon, 26.2 miles. Apache Ripper’s record for the marathon distance is 1 hour and 30 minutes and he would actually train on a treadmill during the winter months.
When Apache Ripper passed away in 1993, Gayle made a New Year’s resolution for 1994 that she would run in a marathon. After just five months of running, in May of 1994, Gayle entered her debut marathon and finished 2nd overall in the Couer D’Alene Marathon in a time of 3 hours and 7 minutes. Just one year later, in 1995, Gayle was the overall female winner in the same race, the Couer D’Alene Marathon.
From that inauspicious start, Gayle found herself just a few months later at the starting line of the 1995 St. George Marathon with the goal of qualifying for the 1996 US Olympic Marathon Trials to be held in February 1996 in Columbia, South Carolina. The 1995 race had many fast runners also trying to qualify for the Trials, but none of them could stay with Gayle’s blistering pace. Gayle was the Overall Winner of the 1995 St. George Marathon in a time of 2:40:13. At the time of the race, only two women in the history of the St. George Marathon had run the race faster than Gayle’s 1995 performance, and today, it is still the 6th fastest time ever. She also still has the old course record for the age group 30-34 based on her 1995 performance.
She did run the 1996 Olympic Trials just four months later, however, after the Trials, Gayle took an extended break from marathons before winning the Couer D’Alene marathon in both 2002 and 2004. In 2004, she set the still standing course record in a time of 2:51:46.
Because of this performance, Gayle Jacklin is the #13 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Stephen Lester Number #13||
Stephen Lester, Magna, Utah, completed the St. George Marathon throughout the 1980’s, and has an impressive five performances in top 1,000 fastest times ever recorded. However, Stephen earned the title as a Legend of the race due to his remarkable performances as a Masters (over age 40) runner.
Stephen ran the St. George Marathon for the first time in 1981 at age 38. His first race in St. George was fast, but gave no indication of the level of excellence that he would eventually achieve. He finished in 22nd place in 1981 in a time of 2:36:25, just steps ahead of the #41 legend, Gaylon Jorgensen. Stephen returned in 1982 and greatly improved over the previous year, as he had his first top 10 finish with a time of 2:25:41, which was good enough for 6th place overall. For the 2nd straight year, Stephen finished just ahead of another legend, this time #27, William Johnston.
In 1984 Stephen returned to St. George, but this time, he had reached age 40, so he now was running as a Masters runner. Prior to the 1984 race, Stephen knew that the Masters record for St. George was 2:26:39 by Michael Mahler in 1983. Stephen had that previous record as his goal, and went out and simply smashed the record by running 2:24:45, which is still, 27 years later, the fourth fastest Masters time in the history of the race. His time in 1984 was also good enough for a 3rd place overall placing. Even though Stephen’s performance in 1984 was amazing, he still would step it up a notch to an even greater level.
In 1986, Stephen came back to St. George and was fit and ready to race. He was clearly the class of the Masters field, but he was also focused on the overall win. He ran with the chase pack for a good portion of the race, but after it was all finished, Stephen ended up with another top 10 performance, this time 4th place overall. He was again the Masters Champion, but what was simply stunning was his time of 2:22:52. This time in 1986 still stands as the fastest Masters performance in the history of the St. George Marathon.
In 1987, Stephen came back to run the St. George Marathon for a final time. He was again in great shape, and at age 44, was looking for a third Masters championship, and also, to take a shot at his Masters course record that he ran in 1986. The 1987 race included a deep field of fast runners looking to qualify for the 1988 US Olympic Marathon Trials. Stephen ran well but fell short of his record time, as he ran 2:23:42, which again made him the Masters Champion. It was also the 3rd fastest Masters time ever recorded in St. George. Stephen had set a precedent for a Masters runner that would be tough to duplicate. He has three of the top four fastest Masters times ever recorded in St. George Marathon history. He will always hold the old course record for age group 40-44. Only the #33 legend, Pepi Peterson, had a higher overall placing as a Masters runner when he finished 2nd place overall in 2010. There is only one other male runner, a legend to be named soon, that has more Masters titles than the three that Stephen won.
When Stephen made the decision to stop running the marathon distance, he was not finished running incredibly fast performances, now at shorter distances as a Masters performer. In 1989, Stephen ran an American record for a 5k as a 46 year old when he ran 15:26 at the Carlsbad 5000. He also still holds the American age group record in the 12 kilometer distance in the age group 45-49, when he ran 38:47 (5:12 pace per mile) in 1988 in Spokane, Washington. He then repeated his accomplishment 10 years later and still holds the American age group record in the 12 kilometer distance in the age group 55-59, when he ran 41:24 (5:33 pace per mile) in 1998 again in Spokane, Washington.
Because of this performance, Stephen Lester is the #13 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Brian Larson Number #12||
Brian Larson, Phoenix, Arizona, completed the St. George Marathon three times from 1987 to 1991 and his performances were at such a high level that he earned the status as a Legend of the race.
Brian ran track and cross country at a small high school in the Upper Peninsula area of Michigan. While in high school, he broke the school record in the 2 mile as a sophomore in 1972, a record that he still holds today. After running very briefly for the University of Michigan, Brian eventually focused on the marathon distance.
In 1987, Brian felt he had a shot of qualifying for the 1988 US Olympic Marathon Trials that were to be held in April of 1988 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Brian had heard about the St. George Marathon by coincidence. He was looking for a marathon to run to qualify for the Trials, and his brother told him of the marathon in St. George. A few days later, Brian was in Phoenix and saw a man wearing a St. George Marathon t-shirt, and he had many good things to say about the race. Brian decided to hire a coach for the first time to train for St. George and began a training regimen that included running a ten mile downhill section from the top of South Mountain in Phoenix to the base to mimic the hills of St. George. In September of 1987, Brian entered a 15k in St. George that was run on a portion of the marathon course. Brian wanted to get an idea of the downhill part of the course, so he entered the race and smoked the course, winning the race and finishing under 45 minutes for the 9.3 mile distance. After the race, and with the training he had endured during the summer, Brian felt confident that he could run a sub 2:20 just four weeks later in the actual marathon.
The 1987 marathon caused quite a bit of excitement in St. George, as the race was clearly targeted by many talented runners as an opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Trials. The preview in the newspaper speculated on potential record breaking performances with the runners that were entered. As the race started, Brian had no goal other than to break 2:20 and qualify for the Trials. He wanted to run fairly easy during the early portion of the race and attempt to use the later downhill portions to run a negative split. He ran the first half in 1:10:30, and then ran a solid second half to finish in 6th place overall, and did qualify for the Trials with a total time of 2:19:30.
Brian returned in 1989, and had improved his downhill training and also had the experience with the St. George Marathon course, however, he had knee surgery earlier in the year, so was not as confident as in 1987. He ran conservatively in the first half of the race and had many runners ahead of him at the halfway point. However, he ran a strong negative split (2nd half quicker than the 1st half) and passed many runners in the late stages of the race which helped him finish as the 2nd place runner overall with a time of 2:22:24.
In 1991, Brian again targeted as his goal a qualifying time for the US Olympic Trials. The 1992 Trials were to be held in April of 1992 in Columbus, Ohio. He decided to return to run the St. George Marathon again in 1991 to run under the 2:20 qualifying time. Brian was in the best shape of his life, and felt confident that barring some disaster on race day, that he would qualify for the Trials.
In the days before the race, Brian and another legend to be named soon had a conversation where they planned on working together in the 1991 race and help each other get the Trials qualifying time. At the start line, they confirmed their agreement. Brian ran a bit more aggressive in 1991 and they hit the halfway point in 1:09, but even at that quick pace, were still in 9th and 10th place overall and the leaders were significantly ahead of them. By the 20 mile mark, Brian and his partner had worked up to 4th and 5th place, and the three runners ahead of them appeared to be struggling. At that point, they discussed on whether or not to step up the pace to another level and catch the leaders. Brian was fearful of losing his qualifying standard, and decided to hold back, but the other Legend took off after the leaders. As they came into St. George, first the other Legend and then Brian passed two of the three leaders, so now they had worked themselves into 2nd and 3rd. Brian felt very strong in the final two miles and worked hard to catch the two runners in front, and this mad dash to the finish line resulted in an incredible 1-2-3 finish. Brian ended up in 3rd place with an astounding time of 2:17:19. Before 1991, only TWO runners in the history of the race had ever run faster than Brian’s time, but in 1991, his time was only good for 3rd place. He was just 6 seconds behind 2nd place, and 28 seconds behind the winner. Even today, Brian’s time is the 10th fastest time ever run in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011, and would have won 26 of the 34 St. George Marathons that have been held.
Brian continued to have success in the marathon, as his career totals include 8 marathons under 2:25, and also had four victories at the marathon distance, winning the Black Hills Marathon in South Dakota twice, and also winning the Whiskey Row Marathon in Arizona and the Avenue of the Giants Marathon in California. Brian’s performances in St. George produced an unusual statistic, as he owns the fastest 3rd place and the fastest 6th place times in the history of the race. Brian is one of only seven men that have two performances in the fastest 35 times in the history of the race.
Because of this performance, Brian Larson is the #12 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Deeja Youngquist Number #12||
Deeja Youngquist, Albuquerque, New Mexico, only completed the St. George Marathon in 2007, however, her performance was so remarkable that she earned her status as a Legend of the race.
Deeja is from Enumclaw, Washington and ran for Hornets of Enumclaw High School. After high school, Deeja enrolled at the University of Washington, where she specialized in the 10,000 meter race on the track. Deeja has a outstanding college career on the track, including placing very high on the school’s all time fastest performances in distances ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 meters. She finished in 3rd place three straight years in the 10,000 meter race at the PAC-10 Championships from 1996 to 1998.
Deeja moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico as an air traffic controller and continued her love of distance running. After running at elevation in Albuquerque and receiving coaching advice, Deeja decided to make her debut at the marathon distance at the 2003 Chicago Marathon in hopes of running under the “A” standard for the 2004 US Olympic Trials to be held in St. Louis. Deeja simply went out and stunned the running community with a 10th place overall finish in a time of 2:29:01, which was the 3rd fastest debut marathon by an American woman. She followed that performance up with an 8th place overall finish at the 2004 Trials.
After a two year period of not running in competitive events, Deeja returned in December of 2006 by finishing 2nd place overall at the Dallas Whiterock Marathon in a time of 2:43:33.
Deeja then made the decision to run the 2007 St. George Marathon in hopes of again running the “A” standard to qualify for the 2008 US Olympic Trials to be held in Boston. The 2007 St. George Marathon stands alone on the women’s side as the deepest field in the history of the race. In the all time fastest 1,000 performances, the year 2007 had more women included in this list than any other year, with 69 women, which was ten more than the next year, 1999. But none of these fast women could stay with Deeja. In ideal weather conditions, she simply went out and not only crushed the rest of the field, but ran faster than any woman has ever run on the St. George course. She led wire to wire in a stunning time of 2:36:06. Deeja was the Overall Winner of the 2007 St. George Marathon by 5 mins and 30 seconds and her remarkable performance in 2007 resulted in the fastest time ever run in the St. George marathon breaking a record set 20 years earlier in 1987.
Because of this performance, Deeja Youngquist is the #12 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Jerry Henley Number #11||
Jerry Henley, Alpine, Utah, is a member of the “14 Year Club” of the St. George Marathon, and combining his longevity with his incredible performances as a Masters (over age 40) runner has cemented his high ranking as a Legend of the race.
As a teenager, Jerry ran cross country for Cabot High School in Cabot, Arkansas. He also ran cross country from 1981 to 1985 for coach Sherald James at Brigham Young University where he was teammates with talented runners such as Ed Eyestone and Doug Padilla. During the 1980’s, Jerry dabbled in the marathon, including running 2:20:30 in the 1983 Fiesta Bowl Marathon, which meant he missed the 1984 US Olympic Marathon Trials by just 30 seconds. He also finished in 3rd place in the 1984 Las Vegas Marathon in a time of 2:21, and two months later ran in the 1984 Boston Marathon. In this race, he was in 7th place and on 2:12 marathon pace even up to mile 23rd (and within ½ mile of the leader of the race), when he finally drank liquid for the first time, which was orange juice, and that didn’t set well with his body, and he slowed to a finishing time of 2:23.
Jerry decided to run the St. George Marathon in 1987, but was well back in the overall results, finishing 40th place overall in a time of 2:35:45. He married his wife Melanie in 1988 and began his family life, which included seven children, which resulted in Jerry dropping out of the competitive racing scene temporarily.
In 1997, Jerry noticed that he had gained a good amount of weight, and decided to resume running to help with his overall health. He ran the St. George Marathon in both 1997 and 1998, finishing in the top 25 each year. However, his legendary status started in 1999, which included Jerry turning age 40. He attributes his improvement to the God-given talent that he has, the stubbornness to not realize when he should quit, his running teammates that continue to push him over the edge, and the support, love and inspiration of his family.
In the 1999 St. George Marathon, Jerry finished in 11th place overall and was crowned the overall Masters champion in a time of 2:30:26. In 2000, he improved his time to 2:26:38, which again was fast enough to be the Masters champion, and his time is still the 7th fastest time ever recorded by a Masters runner in St. George. He also had a top 10 finish in 2000 as he was 4th overall. In 2001, he again finished in the top 10 overall, with a 5th place finish, and a third straight Masters title with a time of 2:27:59.
In 2002, Jerry simply had an incredible race. He had steadily improved his performance the last three years, and now the thought of Jerry breaking the fastest Masters time ever recorded, which was 2:22:52, by #13 legend Stephen Lester, seemed a distinct possibility. As he ran in the late stages of the 2002 race, Jerry realized that he had a shot at the record, and even a possibility of sub 2:22 which would qualify him, at age 43, for the 2004 US Olympic Marathon Trials. However, at mile 23, he miscalculated his pace, and decided to run for place instead of time. By the time he realized his error at mile 25, it was too late to try and break the record. He did however run 2:23:20, just 28 seconds behind the course record, and still the 2nd fastest Masters time ever recorded and can be age graded to a time of 2:16:26. He was also 6th place overall, which was his 3rd top 10 finish. This performance in 2002 is dedicated to Jerry’s son Christian, who had passed away two years earlier. Christian had taught Jerry how to fight through adversity and he truly feels like Christian supported his father through the most difficult parts of that 2002 race and helped Jerry fight through the walls during the marathon.
In 2003, Jerry again was the Masters champion of the St. George Marathon in a time of 2:29:47. He was also the Masters champion in 2004 and 2006 for a total of an incredible SEVEN times crowned the overall Masters winner. It might be awhile before we see Jerry’s incredible string of titles equaled. He was also very fast for a long time, as Jerry has an impressive ten performances in the top 1,000 fastest times ever run in the history of the St. George Marathon which is tied for the 4th most all time.
Jerry could not be as consistent as he was during this time period without the love and support of his incredible wife and his children. He appreciates what the St. George Marathon has meant for road racing in Utah, and he feels it is as efficiently run as the Boston Marathon or any other race, and is much friendlier.
Because of this performance, Jerry Henley is the #11 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.
|Debbie Hanson Number #11||
Debbie Hanson, Pleasant Grove, Utah, is a member of the “14 Year Club” of the St. George Marathon, and combining her longevity with her fast performances has easily qualified her as a Legend of the race.
Debbie did not even take up running at all until she was 28 years old. In 1984, a friend of Debbie’s encouraged her to try a marathon, specifically the St. George Marathon. Her goal that year was just to finish. She was undertrained for a marathon, but ran with a great friend that pulled her through. They ran from balloon to balloon (mile markers), and when they finally saw the finish line, had tears in their eyes as they finished in 3:50. This modest beginning to Debbie’s marathon career gave no indication to her remarkable improvement that was just a few years away. In 1985, she came back to St. George with a bit more training and chopped off 30 minutes from her previous time, and inspired Debbie to dream that a sub 3 hour marathon was possible. At that point she started to train with a coach, future St. George Marathon Legend, Paul Cummings, who had a astounding resume of running accomplishments. Her performance at the marathon distance dramatically improved under Paul’s expertise and patient coaching style. In the 1986 marathon, Debbie broke through the 3 hour barrier, as she finished 12th overall in a time of 2:59:25. In 1987, Debbie had a new, and maybe, could be considered an aggressive goal, which was to run fast enough to qualify for the 1988 US Olympic Marathon Trials to be held in May of 1988 in Pittsburgh. This required a time of sub 2:50:00, which was one hour faster than what she had run just three years ago, and also 10 minutes faster than the previous year. She came to St. George confident that she could run this fast, especially with the guidance that she continued to receive from Coach Cummings. Debbie realized her dream of running in the trials when she finished 5th overall in the marathon in a time of 2:48:38.
Debbie did not run in the 1988 St. George Marathon, however, her marathon success continued that year, as she finished as the 4th overall female in the Mexico City Marathon. In 1989, she also won the inaugural Lake Powell Marathon held in March.
Seven months after Lake Powell, Debbie returned to St. George in the best shape of her life. Unfortunately, in the days leading up to the race, Debbie had come down with a cold, and was still battling with it on race day. Once the gun officially started the 1989 Marathon, Debbie held the cold at bay, and experienced the perfect race that every runner hopes for each time they stand at the starting line. Despite the other female runners jumping ahead of Debbie in the early stages of the race, she listened to Coach Cummings’s advice, that she needed to stay in control and that the real race begins at mile 18. She realized as she passed mile 18 that she was definitely on a personal record pace. She was feeling very strong, but was also in 3rd place overall in the race. As she passed the 24th mile, she came up on the 2nd place runner, who was also Legend #36, Mary Ryzner. After passing Mary, Debbie focused on the leader (a future Legend that will be revealed later) of the race, who Debbie knew was running her marathon debut. Debbie caught the leader at mile 25, who immediately surged to hold onto the lead. Debbie did not respond to the surge, instead, continued to run her pace. The leader surged three times in the last mile in an effort to break Debbie, but it didn’t work as Debbie finally made a move and was the Overall Winner of the 1989 St. George Marathon. Her time of 2:41:35 was the third fastest time ever run in St. George at that point in the history of the race, and is still the 13th fastest time ever recorded 22 years later. She won the race by just 64 seconds, and the top three finishers in 1989 were quick enough to be included in the fastest 30 times ever run in St. George Marathon history. Only one other year accomplished that same feat.
In just five short years, Debbie went from a 3:50 marathon to winning the race in a remarkable time of 2:41. She credits the improvement to the incredible coaching guidance from the amazing Paul Cummings. The close victory for Debbie took on special significance, because 1989 was the first year of the “sister city marathon” relationship with Ibigawa, Japan, which meant that just one month later, Debbie would go to Japan and run in the Ibigawa marathon. She was victorious in this marathon also, and set a course record.
Debbie finished in the top 10 in St. George one more time in 1991, when she ran a time of 2:45:56, which was fast enough for 6th place overall. She continues to come to St. George and run the marathon as much as possible and is helped by the fact that she has a great family who supports her running activities, which is very important for a mom who runs marathons! Debbie again won the Lake Powell Marathon in 1993, and also finished in 2nd place in the Deseret News Marathon in 1993. She continued to have success as a Masters (over age 40) runner, including an overall Masters win at the 1994 Las Vegas Marathon, 8th place Masters runner at the 1994 Boston Marathon, 3rd place Masters at the 1995 Houston Marathon, and 4th place Masters runner at the 1995 Twin Cities Marathon. She was also the 1995 and 1996 Utah USAT&F 1st place Masters champion in the Road Racing Circuit.
Because of this performance, Debbie Hanson is the #11 all time performer in the St. George marathon.