A field of nearly 9,000 runners combined set marathon and 5K records.
Under a partly cloudy sky and a backdrop of shining snow-capped mountains, a world-class field of international runners rewrote the record book Saturday, April 23, at the second annual Salt Lake City Marathon.
Nearly 4,000 participated in the 26.2-mile race that wound through Utah's capital, while another 5000 competed in the Wells Fargo 5K that was staged simultaneously.
Elite runners from Kenya, Ethiopia, Australia, Russia and the United States competed in the highly competitive marathon. Vying for a purse of more than $125,000, which included $25,000 prizes for the top male and female runners, the top runners eclipsed the course records Kenya's Gabriel Muchiri (2:17:21) and Russia's Lioudmila Kortchaguina (2:30:41) set during last year's inaugural race.
Although the tough first half of the course slowed the leaders as they struggled with hills, they made up for it on the flatter second half. While a knot of eight runners from Ethiopia and Kenya had a comfortable lead on the field at the 19-mile-mark, that group soon began to fall apart as the runners tested one another with brief surges.
The Wells Fargo 5K got underway at 7:30 a.m. with Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson among the runners. The course followed the last section of the marathon route and ended at the Olympic Legacy Plaza at the Gateway.
The road races anchored a festive atmosphere that reigned over Salt Lake City during the weekend and which included the Ken Garff Volvo Bike Tour of the city and the IHC MaraFit Kids' healthy lifestyle program.
The Ken Garff Volvo Salt Lake City Bike Tour, which followed the marathon course, was a popular addition to this year's marathon program with about 1,500 participants. With a 6 a.m. start, the ride offered cyclists a non-stop, leisurely morning spin through the most scenic and spectacular parts of the Salt Lake Valley.
Also new this year was the IHC MaraFit Kids' Fitness Program and 1K, which put Utah's kids on the road to a healthy lifestyle. The program featured a 26-unit course of activities related to fitness, nutrition, and good deeds. Sponsored by IHC, Meadow Gold Dairy, Salt Lake City Corporation, Salt Lake County, Radio Disney, Stretch-n-Grow and Fazoli's, the event culminated with a Kids' 1K run around The Gateway.
Placing in the Men's Overall 5K was Abraham Chebii, first; Sammy Kipketer, second; and Joseph Mwai, third. All three from Kenya.
Placing in the Women's Overall 5K was Asmae Leghazaoui, first; Tatyana Peterova, second; and Leah Malot, third.
A few residents of Carbon County also participated in the 5K race. Dede Howa, Price, was number 238 out of 3822 participants. Also participating was Danielle Pendergrass, Price, who was 888; Kathy Chatterton, East Carbon, who was 914; Cyndee Christenson, Price, who was 3707; and Gayla Williams, Helper, who was 3058.