St. George Marathon Legends
St. George Marathon Top 50 Legends 10 - 1
 
Tim Jones Number #1

Tim Jones, Loveland, Colorado, completed the St. George marathon an impressive seven times in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, and his incredible performances during those races has cemented his title as the greatest Legend to ever run the race.

Tim did not run in the St. George Marathon until he was age 34. Prior to running in the race, he put together an impressive resume that exhibited his running talent. He ran 14:44 for a road 5k, 23:52 for 5 miles, and 67:37 for a half marathon. His previous best in the marathon was 2:20:46, run in the 1991 Columbus Marathon.

Tim decided to run in the 1995 St. George Marathon in an attempt to qualify for the 1996 US Olympic Marathon Trials. He chose the St. George course due to the reputation that he had learned from other runners about it being fast and well organized. He had been focusing on running the “A” standard time for the Trials in his marathon training leading up to the 1995 race. For the first few miles of the 1995 race, Tim stayed in the lead pack that included the previous year’s winner, #7 Legend, Paul Rosser. Between mile 10 and the half way point, Tim decided to push the pace and took over the lead. He would continue to build that lead all the way to the finish which resulted in Tim being the Overall Winner of the 1995 St. George Marathon. His winning time was 2:16:08, which is still the 4th fastest time ever run in the history of the race. His performance in 1995 is still the age group 30-34 course record.

Tim returned to St. George in 1996 to defend his title. Only one other champion, #2 Legend, Paul Cummings was able to win the marathon in back to back years. Tim felt confident that he was well prepared to duplicate that feat. However, #8 Legend Brandon Rhoads was in the race, and also determined to win the race. In his debut marathon, Brandon set a very fast pace and led the race until mile 24, when he “hit the wall”. Tim was in second place throughout Brandon’s quick early start, and was able to pass him during the last two miles. Tim was again the champion, this time the Overall Winner of the 1996 St. George Marathon in a time of 2:18:39, which is the 19th fastest time in St. George Marathon history.

In the 1997 St. George Marathon, Tim found himself in a familiar position, running in 2nd place behind Brandon Rhoads. This time, however, Brandon did not falter, and Tim ended up as the overall runnerup. In 1998, Tim again finished in the top 3 overall, with a time of 2:20:24, good enough for 3rd place and a 2000 US Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying time. In both 1999 and 2000, Tim finished in 3rd place overall, which made it SIX years in a row that Tim finished in the top 3 Overall. He had one final top 10 performance when he finished in 9th place overall in 2002.

In the history of the St. George Marathon, no runner had more than Tim’s six performances in the top three overall, and this impressive accomplishment included two Overall Championships. There have only been FOUR runners that won the St. George Marathon two times, and this exclusive company includes Tim. He has the 3rd fastest two marathon average of any runner, 2:17:23 and he is one of only three runners to have three performances in the fastest 50 times ever run in the race. Tim ranks as the #1 legend, not only due to his immense talent, but his longevity of competitive overall finishes.

Because of this performance, Tim Jones is the Greatest all time Legend in the St. George Marathon.


Cheryl Harper Number #1

Cheryl Harper, Orem, Utah, completed the St. George marathon nineteen times in the 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s, and her accomplishments in the race have easily earned her the title as the Greatest Legend in the history of the race.

Cheryl was a decorated track and cross country runner at Alta High School in Sandy, Utah, where she won state titles in the 800, 1600 and 3200 on the track and earned All-State honors in Cross Country as well as on the track. She then competed for the Cougars of Brigham Young University before embarking on her marathon career.

Cheryl came to St. George for the first time in 1983 and in her debut finished 5th overall. She improved her time by 5 minutes and her placing to 4th overall when she returned to the 1985 St. George Marathon, but Cheryl was just warming up in putting her indelible stamp on the race. Prior to the 1986 marathon, the course record was 2:43:27 set in 1985. The 1986 race was held in the window to qualify for the 1988 US Olympic Marathon Trials, and that was Cheryl’s goal in the race. At the start of the race, #43 Legend, Bette Poppers, immediately shot to the front, and held that lead all the way to mile 23. However, Cheryl was following closely behind, and she used her track speed to go by Bette into the lead. Cheryl was the Overall Winner of the 1986 St. George Marathon in a course record breaking time of 2:42:07, which is still the 16th fastest time ever run in the history of the race. Her time was also a Utah State Record.

In 1987, Cheryl returned to the race to defend her title. She ended up running her personal record up to that time, and even broke the course record in a time of 2:40:14, which is still the 7th fastest time in the history of the race. Unfortunately for Cheryl, the 1987 St. George Marathon also had Gail Ladage-Scott, #5 legend, set the American Masters title. Gail was three minutes ahead of Cheryl, who finished in 2nd place. Cheryl’s time is the fastest non-winning time ever recorded in St. George.

Cheryl returned in 1991 intent on winning back the title that she earned in 1986. She was in fabulous shape, and also wanted to run a time to qualify for the 1992 US Olympic Marathon Trials. When Cheryl was at the top of her game, she was tough to beat, and in 1991, she was definitely at the top of her game. She went out and smoked the course and the other competitors and was the Overall Winner of the 1991 St. George Marathon in a stunning time of 2:39:18, the 4th fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011.

During the 1990’s, Cheryl had one impressive performance after another. She was 5th overall in 1992, 4th in 1993, 2nd in 1994, and 5th in 1996. In 1997, Cheryl had her fastest time since 1991 when she ran 2:40:18, which is the 8th fastest time ever recorded, however, she again landed in 2nd place behind Legend #2, Kayoko Nomura, by just 47 seconds. She continued her ‘90’s dominance by finishing 3rd in 1998.

Cheryl did not slow down by much when the calendar turned to the 2000’s. In the 2000 race, she again was the runner up, as she was less than two minutes behind the winner, #30 Legend, Linda Huyck. Cheryl had her final runner up performance in 2001, when she finished 2nd overall behind #25 Legend, Johanna Nielsen. Cheryl had her final top ten performance in 2002 with a 7th place overall finish.

It is mind boggling to list all of Cheryl’s accomplishments. There have only been FOUR runners that won the marathon at least two times, and that list includes Cheryl. Cheryl has the fastest two marathon average, 2:39:46 and she is the only runner to have three performances in the top 10 fastest times ever run in St. George.

In addition to her two winning years in 1986 and 1991, she was also 2nd an incredible 5 times! This means that Cheryl either finished 1st or 2nd in 3 separate decades. She has a total of 13 times in the top 5, and 14 overall in the top 10. In addition to being a fabulous runner, Cheryl has four children, including her son Golden, who was the #44 legend of the St. George Marathon. Her husband, Hawk, was the #10 Legend of the race.

Because of this performance, Cheryl Harper is the Greatest all time Legend in the St. George Marathon.


Paul Cummings Number #2

Paul Cummings, Salt Lake City, Utah, completed the St. George marathon in three separate years including in 1981 and 1982 when he was crowned the overall champion. There is no doubt that Paul had more talent and ability than any runner that ever ran in the St. George Marathon.

Paul attended high school at Ernest Righetti High in Santa Maria, California, and considered basketball, not running as his strong sport. However, when he failed to make the school basketball team, he decided to focus on the track after finishing first in his PE class in the mile. By the time he was a senior in high school, he was running the mile in 4:10, which was the 2nd best time in California and the 7th best in the USA.

After high school, Paul was a 5 time All-American at BYU and the NCAA champion in the mile. He was also the first person in the Intermountain West to break the 4 minute barrier in the mile, with a lifetime personal best of 3:56. After finishing at BYU, and being inducted in the school’s hall of fame, he enjoyed tremendous success in his running career. He won the famous Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games in 1976 in a record time of 3:57.6 and in 1978, Paul set the American record in the indoor track 1500 in 3:37.6. Paul was a potential Olympian in 1980, when the US Boycott of the Games cost him a chance to represent his country. He finally received to honor of running for the Stars and Stripes when he won the 1984 US Olympic Trials in the 10,000 meter event on the track. He did compete in the 10,000 at the 1984 Olympics, but did not make the final.

In the early 1980’s, Paul changed his focus from the track to road racing. The first marathon that Paul took seriously was the 1981 St. George Marathon. Prior to Paul coming to St. George in 1981, the course record was 2:23:35, however, no one with Paul’s immense talent had ever run the race. When the race was over, a runner named Creighton King ran 2:18:05, which would have broke the record by five minutes, and is still the 14th fastest time run in St. George, but Creighton’s time was well behind the winner. Paul Cummings was the Overall Winner of the 1981 race in a course record time of 2:15:16. 30 years later, no one has yet to run faster than Paul’s time, although, it was tied in 1987 by #5 Legend, Criss James. Winning the race gave Paul the confidence that he could make the transition from running the mile to the marathon. Three months later, he ran 2:12 at the Nike Marathon.

Paul returned to the St. George Marathon in 1982 to defend his title. He again dominated the field, winning the race by three minutes in a time of 2:18:52, which is the 22nd fastest time in race history. Paul is one of only two runners that won the marathon in consecutive years. After Paul’s second title, he would continue to dominate road racing. In 1983, he set the World Record in the half marathon with a time of 61:32 in Dayton, Ohio. He broke the American Record in the 15k in 1983 and the 20k in 1987. He was also named the American Masters Runner of the year in 1993 by USA Track and Field.

Paul’s influence on the St. George Marathon was felt long after he last won in 1982. Numerous Overall Winners of the race, and many of the Legends that have been named, have indicated that their success was due to the coaching of Paul Cummings. In addition, Paul, along with other Utah world class runners, started a summer high school camp that influenced many kids to achieve their best.

There have only been FOUR runners that won the marathon two times, including Paul. His average time for his winning performances was 2.17.05, which is the fastest two marathon average of any runner.

Because of this performance, Paul Cummings is the #2 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.


Kayoko Nomura Number #2

Kayoko Nomura, Japan, completed the St. George Marathon three times between 1997 and 2002, and her winning performance in each of her races cemented her placing as the second greatest Legend to run the race.

In 1989, the St. George Marathon began its relationship with its "sister" city in Ibigawa, Japan. Each year, the overall winners of the men's and women’s races, and the top female and male Masters (over age 40) win a trip to participate in the marathon in Ibigawa, Japan. The Japanese winners would also do the same, coming to St. George each October.

The runners from Japan have had mixed results in St. George, but when Kayoko Nomura came to St. George, she exceeded any expectations that were set for the Japanese delegation. Kayoko’s original goal when she began to run each day was to lose weight after the birth of her child. For training, she would run to work and back each day, which was a six mile round trip jog. Kayoko trained alone except for occasionally meeting running friends in a nearby park.

Kayoko first arrived in St. George as the Ibigawa representative in 1997. The 1997 race resulted in an exciting duel between the two top Legends of the St. George Marathon. Her original goal for the race, however, was just to run a personal record for the marathon, which currently stood at 2:45. When the race started, Kayoko ran steady and moved her way through the other women and took the lead after the first few miles. She held the lead, running under the pace she desired, until the halfway point, when Cheryl Harper took the lead. Cheryl kept the lead for awhile, but eventually Kayoko regained her position in the front of the race. From that point on, she ran steady through the downhill portions of the race, keenly aware that Cheryl was right behind her. Kayoko hung on to her lead, and was the Overall Winner of the 1997 St. George Marathon in a stunning time of 2:39:31, which is still the 5th fastest time ever run in the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. Cheryl came in just 47 seconds later in 2:40:18, which is still the second fastest 2nd place time in the history of the race. The close finish between the two legends in 1997 was the 2nd closest margin at this point in the history of the race.

Kayoko returned in 1999, intent on running well and defending her 1997 title. She won the 1997 race by a razor thin margin of 47 seconds, but in 1999, another Legend, #10 Angela French, would battle Kayoko and again provide a close and exciting finish.

The 1999 race included a strong women’s field, as the 2000 US Olympic Trials Qualifying window was still open, and by race end, 14 women had run the qualifying time. Each of these 14 would have to battle Kayoko if they wanted to also win the race. The 1999 race also included ten women that finished in the top 100 fastest performances, which has only been surpassed by the 2007 race.

Kayoko was with the lead runners throughout the race, but as she entered the city limits at mile 23, she was in second place behind Angela. Before they made the final turn with less than one mile to go, Kayoko passed Angela and took over the lead. Kayoko doesn’t speak a lot of English, but she understood the fans lining the route as they screamed at her to hurry to the finish. Kayoko was the Overall Winner of the 1999 St. George Marathon, and #10 Legend Angela French finished just 38 seconds later. Kayoko was now a two time champion and her margins of victory were just 47 and 38 seconds.

Kayoko returned one final time in 2002, and if her previous two races were close, this year was light years ahead in terms of a close margin of victory. Kayoko was a two time champion and now she was trying to become the first and only person, male or female, to win the St. George Marathon for a third time. Kayoko once again set a solid pace to begin the 2002 race, and her style of running is to establish a nice rhythm, and then never, ever give up. By the later stages of the race, she again was in the lead. She knew that other runners were close behind her, but she kept pushing hard. During the final 10k, #37 Legend, Karen Steen, caught Kayoko, and they proceeded to run sub six minute miles. Karen backed off of Kayoko’s fast pace, and decided to draft behind her. As they made the final turn on to Bluff Street, Karen tried with all her strength to catch Kayoko, while Kayoko knew Karen was pushing to take the lead. Kayoko held off Karen Steen by just FOUR seconds, which is the closest finish in the history of the race. For the third time, Kayoko was crowned the champion of the race, this time the 2002 St. George Marathon.

Kayoko has set the bar very high for not only the runners that come each year to the St. George Marathon from Japan, but, really, for all runners. In addition to being the only three time Champion of the race, she is also one of only two runners to have three performances in the top 35 fastest times in the history of the race. She also provided a high level of excitement as her three wins were accomplished by a total of 90 seconds combined.

Because of this performance, Kayoko Nomura is the #2 all time Legend in the St. George marathon.


Filomeno Apodaca Number #3

Filomeno Apodaca, Las Cruces, New Mexico, completed the St. George marathon both in 1999 and 2002 and his winning performances in those races easily qualified him as a Top Three Legend of the race.

Before Filomeno came to St. George in 1999, he had results that displayed his immense running talent. He had run 14:20 on the track in a 5k and 29:26 in a road 10k. He had run 64:36 in a half marathon and qualified for the 1992 US Olympic Marathon Trials. Filomeno also was the overall winner of the 1995 Albuquerque Marathon, and ran 2:21:48 in finishing in 3rd place at the 1998 Carlsbad Marathon.

His goal in running the 1999 St. George Marathon was to run an “A” qualifying standard time of under 2:20:00 for the 2000 US Olympic Marathon Trials. Even though he had knee surgery in April of 1999, Filomeno was very confident for the race as his summer training had gone very well. The week before the 1999 race, Filomeno ran a 5k to sharpen up his speed, but was disappointed in his effort, and begin to doubt whether he would meet his marathon goal.

When the 1999 St. George Marathon began, Filomeno’s objective was to stay behind the lead group without taking the lead. His legs felt heavy during the early miles and he felt like he was struggling just to keep up with the pack. At Mile 7, the 1997 winner of the St. George Marathon, Legend #8, Brandon Rhoads surged up the Veyo hill. Filomeno knew at this point he had a decision to make, and went with Brandon. At the halfway point, Filomeno and Brandon had a time of 70 minutes. Filomeno started to doubt whether or not he could break 2:20. It was not until mile 15 that he began to relax, and by mile 18, he decided to push the pace and took the lead. Filomeno felt great and keep pushing harder and was scared to turn around to see who was behind him. He felt very strong the last eight miles of the course and didn’t realize that he opened up a huge lead on the rest of the field. Filomeno was happy to be the Overall Winner of the 1999 St. George Marathon in an “A” standard time of 2:17:54, which is the 13th fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011.

Filomeno did participate in the 2000 Marathon Trials, and he also was the overall winner of the 2000 San Antonio Marathon. His next experience with the St. George Marathon came with his desire to qualify for the 2004 US Olympic Marathon Trials, and wanting to achieve the “A” standard time of sub 2:20:00.

Filomeno came to St. George in 2002 when the qualifying window for the Trials was open. This year, in addition to the “A” standard that he wanted, he also was hoping for the time necessary to compete in the Olympic Marathon if he were in the top three at the Trials. This time was 2:14:52, which would also mean the course record set in 1981 by Paul Cummings and tied in 1987 by Criss James would fall. His training went very well in 2002, and he was recording a high level of mileage, sometimes running at 4am and again after work as late as midnight. His only fear at the start line of the 2002 St. George Marathon was that he might have over trained.

When the 2002 race began, Filomeno again decided to just run in the lead pack. When they went through the first few miles at 5:20 per mile pace, he was happy with just being part of the group. As they came to the Veyo hill at mile 7, Filomeno found himself in the lead and he had not changed his pace. He decided to keep the lead, stay relaxed, and try to maintain his tempo. Midway through the race, Filomeno was really pushing the pace, and feared his ability to maintain his pace to the end. At mile 20, he still felt in control and strong. Finally, at mile 24, with a solid lead, he started to feel fatigue. With just one mile to go, his legs felt like jello, and knew he was slowing down. He hung on and was the overall winner of the 2002 St. George Marathon, and had run the 6th fastest time in the history of the race, 2:16:24. He was elated to win and again qualify for the trials, even though he came up short in his goal of sub 2:15. His time in 2002 is also the fastest time ever run in St. George in age group 35-39. There have only been FOUR runners that won the St. George Marathon twice, and Filomeno is one of them. His average time for his performances was 2.17.09, which is the second fastest two marathon average of any runner. He is also one of only three runners to have two performances in the top 15 fastest times recorded in the race.

Because of this performance, Filomeno Apodaca is the #3 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.


Brenda Graham-gray Number #3

Brenda Graham-Gray, Rock Springs, Wyoming, completed the St. George marathon thirteen times during the 1980’s, 1990’s, and 2000’s, and over those three decades performed at such a high level that she is easily considered a Top Three Legend of the race.

Before stamping her indelible mark on the St. George Marathon, Brenda performed at a high level in her home state. A native of Glenrock, Wyoming, Brenda won the State title in the mile race on the track three straight years, and as a senior, won the State title in the 2 mile race on the track. Brenda was also one of the most accomplished distance runners in the University of Wyoming track history and was inducted in the Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2007. She was the first runner from Wyoming to compete at the NCAA national cross country meet. While enrolled at Wyoming, she set a still standing record on the track in the 10,000 (34:24). She also set a record in the two mile (10:40). She was an All-American in cross country in 1981 and was also selected to the Track and Field Association All-American team.

Brenda decided to run the St. George Marathon for the first time in 1987 in an attempt to qualify for the 1988 US Olympic Marathon Trials. She finished with an Olympic qualifying time of 2:45:14, which was also fast enough for a 3rd place overall finish. Over the next ten years, Brenda took time off to start a family, and only ran in St. George just one year. However, starting in 1997, Brenda became a regular fixture at the event. In 1997, Brenda had her second top 10 finish, when she ran 2:50:20 to finish in 6th place. The very next year, in 1998, she improved her placing by two spots when she finished in 4th place overall in a time of 2:48:36, which qualified her for the 2000 US Olympic Marathon Trials. In 1999, Brenda finished in 7th place overall with a time of 2:46:45, but she still had not reached her pinnacle in either time or place in St. George. In 2001, Brenda again returned to the top 5 overall, when she finished in 5th place with a time of 2:55:59. In 2002, the window was open for the 2004 US Olympic Marathon Trials, and Brenda came to St. George to qualify. She did not slow down at all now that she turned age 40, as she qualified for the 2004 Trials with a time of 2:47:56, beating the Trials qualifying mark by just 4 seconds! She was off the pace to qualify at mile 20, but learned to never give up, and made it under the time necessary to run in the Trials for the 3rd time.

For 2003, Brenda’s thoughts of winning the race in St. George might not be as realistic being a Masters runner, but the idea of being the top over age 40 runner was certainly probable. Brenda did just that when she ran her personal record time for a Marathon when she finished in 2:44:22, which was fast enough for 3rd place overall and also the Masters Champion.

Brenda returned to St. George again in 2004 hoping for a fast race and a solid performance. She was in tip top shape at age 42 and ready to run with the fastest females. Brenda could not have known at the start line that she would be involved in one of the closest and most exciting races in women’s history at the St. George Marathon. Brenda ran a consistent pace throughout the 2004 race, and took the lead right from the start. She just held her pace all the way through the race, and no other female caught her, meaning that Brenda was the Overall Winner of the 2004 St. George Marathon by just 21 seconds over #27 Legend, Suzy Schumacher, which was the second closest finish in the history of the race. Seventeen years after Brenda came to St. George for the first time at age 25, Brenda was atop the pedestal as the champion. The 17 year gap from the first appearance to winning the race was the longest time period of all the champions. She also became just the second woman to win both the Overall title and the Masters title.

Brenda was not finished with top 5 performances, as she finished in 3rd place overall in 2006 with a time of 2:45:58, which qualified her for her fourth US Olympic Marathon Trials, this time the 2008 Trials to be held in Boston. Brenda was also the second place Masters finisher in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Brenda finished her career with eight top ten finishes, only exceeded by one other runner. She is also one of only two runners to finish in the top 5 in three separate decades. She has 12 performances in the top 1,000 fastest times, again exceeded by only one other runner.

Because of this performance, Brenda Graham-Gray is the #3 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.


David Peterson Number #4

. David Peterson, Bend, Oregon, completed the St. George Marathon four times between 1987 and 1994, and his performances during those races were at such a high level that he easily qualified as a Top 5 Legend of the race.

David had a late start to his running career, beginning at age 27, but over the next 16 years, he accomplished what most only dream about. David had finished law school, specializing in taxation, and was attending a Masters Program in Boston, Massachusetts in 1983 during the Boston Marathon. After watching two Americans win the overall titles, Greg Meyer and Joan Benoit Samuelson (with Joan setting the American record), David was inspired to start running. Six months later, he ran a marathon in 3:14. A year later, David ran 2:39, and then 2:28 a year after that. At this point, David considered the possibility of qualifying for the 1988 US Olympic Marathon Trials, and chose the 1987 St. George Marathon to make that attempt. Years before, he went through St. George on a college road trip, and David decided to return to run the marathon.

The 1987 St. George Marathon did not result in a qualifying time for David, but was still another step in his progression as an elite marathoner. He only fell two minutes short, but watched as #12 Legend, Brian Larson, pumping his arms in celebration as he qualified. David felt like he could eventually be able to celebrate in a future marathon.

In 1989, David decided, at age 34, to enroll at Central Oregon Community College, which was starting a cross country program. He felt the structured training would help his improvement. This decision paid off as he won the 1989 and 1990 NJCAA National Marathon Championships. He became the only American to win back to back NJCAA titles.

Once his eligibility was exhausted, David hit the roads, and ran 2:20:03 in the 1990 California International Marathon, before deciding it was time to try to qualify for the 1992 US Olympic Marathon Trials. He chose the 1991 St. George Marathon to get the necessary time.

For the 1991 race, David had contacted Brian Larson, who he had watched qualify for the Trials in the 1987 race, and they decided to run together. The 1991 race was simply incredible, as there were many fast runners ready to run under 2:20. Larry Smithee, #30 legend, set a quick opening pace, and led the race through the halfway point at course record pace. David and Brian went through halfway in just over 1:09 approximately in 9th and 10th place. They were gaining on the leaders, and by mile 20, #6 legend, Tracy Fifield had taken command of the race. David and Brian were now in 4th and 5th place. At that point, David surged ahead as he could see the other leaders slowing down, and caught Tracy at mile 24 and went ahead of him. What a feeling to now be leading the marathon! However, Tracy, being the talented runner that he was, went back in the front, and ran the last two miles in just over five minute mile pace. David finished the race just 22 seconds behind Tracy in a time of 2:17:13, which is still the 9th fastest performance in the history of the race, and is also the fastest non-winning time. Brian Larson finished 6 seconds behind David, making the 1991 race the fastest 1-2-3 finish.

David returned in 1993 to run the St. George Marathon, determined to win. The prediction for weather was searing heat, but instead, the temperature was in the high 50’s. David passed the halfway point in 1:10:20, and was in second place behind Hiroshi Ogino, who was the winner of the Ibigawa Marathon. However, during a surge around mile 16, David put back to back sub 4:50 miles which helped him go ahead of Ogino. David held on and was the Overall Winner of the 1993 St. George Marathon in 2:17:51, which is the 12th fastest time in the history of the race.

David returned one last time in 1994, as the window was open for the 1996 US Olympic Marathon Trials. David went out quickly at the gun, but was behind Legend #30, Larry Smithee and Legend #7, Paul Rosser. During the first half, David caught Larry, but could never catch Paul, who ran a fabulous race. David hung on to 2nd place with a time of 2:18:43, the 20th fastest time in history.

David had an incredible career at St. George. He is the only runner in the history of the St. George Marathon to break 2:19 three times, and the only runner to have three of his performances in the all time top 20. He is also one of only two runners that finished either in 1st or 2nd place in three separate years.

In David’s career, he also finished in 2nd place in the Ibigawa Marathon and was on the United States team (with Legend Paul Rosser) for the 1995 IAAF World Marathon Cup in Greece. He did run in the 1992 and 1996 US Olympic Marathon Trials, and was the first Masters finisher in 1996. In 1995, David set an American age group record for 10 miles. David has fond memories of the St. George Marathon, but those memories are more about the wonderful people that he met, and not the races. The other runners, the residents of St. George, and the marathon staff were so helpful and friendly. Starting the race with the bonfires and the boom lights, and running half the course before sunrise was a unique experience. Out of the more than 25 marathons David has run, the St. George Marathon had the most magical and beautiful course.

Because of this performance, David Petersen is the #4 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.


Devra Vierkant Number #4

Devra Vierkant, Sandy, Utah, completed the St. George marathon in both 2005 and 2006 and her winning performances in those races easily qualified her as a Top Five Legend of the race.

Devra ran for Orem High School in Orem, Utah, and then enrolled at Utah Valley State College. While at UVSC, Devra was a seven time NJCAA All-American in both cross country and track. She was also the National Champion in the 3000 meters on the track. Devra also had received the Betty Jo Graber Student Athlete of the year, given each year to the student athlete that best exhibits hard work, discipline, ethics, and excellence in competition. After UVSC, She enrolled at Brigham Young University in Provo, and qualified for the NCAA National Track and Field Championship twice in the 10,000 meter event.

After completing her college eligibility, Devra had no real intention of running a marathon in the near future. Her husband signed up for the 2005 St. George Marathon, but three weeks before the race, decided not to run, but encouraged Devra to try the distance. They contacted the race organizers, who allowed her in the race because of her impressive resume. She had not trained for the marathon distance at all, and was working at her job at least 50 to 60 hours a week. She was running maybe 4 to 5 days a week, including a long run on Saturdays and a track workout on Wednesdays. She ran with the local Northern Utah running club, the Sojourners, and received training help and advice from this group. When the 2005 St. George Marathon began, Devra ran her own pace and had full intentions of just running by feel and see what came of it. By mile 9, however, she had taken the lead. Her expectation was to just enjoy the race, and because of that goal, she didn’t even have a watch on. She keep increasing her pace and felt great the entire way. No one threatened Devra, and she was the Overall Winner in the 2005 St. George Marathon, with a time of 2:42:58, almost six minutes ahead of the second place finisher. Since 1982, only the 1993 women’s race had such a large time difference between first and second.

Devra decided to defend her 2005 title at the 2006 St. George Marathon. In 2006, Devra now had one marathon under her belt, so she was at least familiar with the distance, and trained a bit more specifically for the race. When she came to the starting line of the 2006 race, she wanted to run by place, and again decided not to have a watch on. She remembers passing the final woman at mile seven and crossing the halfway point at 1:25. She then went out and blistered the second half of the race in a time that had not been seen at St. George since 1987. She ran the second half of the marathon in a time of just over 72 minutes, finishing just six seconds behind the “old” course record time of 2:37:13 by Gail Ladage-Scott. Devra was the Overall Winner of the 2006 St. George Marathon. 2006 was the first year that the final two miles were slightly altered from previous years, so Devra’s time of 2:37:19 was recognized as the new course record. It is still the 3rd fastest performance ever recorded in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011.

Just one month later after the 2006 win, Devra went to Ibigawa, Japan as part of the “sister” city relationship with St. George, and won the Ibigawa Marathon. Devra then took a break from the marathon distance until 2010, when she finished 2nd place overall in the Utah Valley Marathon. She also was the overall winner of the 2011 Deseret News Marathon.

Devra is still appreciative to the St. George staff for giving her the first opportunity to run a marathon in 2005. Her two years in St. George were the best marathons she has ever run, and really appreciates the organization of the race. She feels like St. George has all the right ingredients for a great recipe for success, and puts forth a great effort each year. There have only been FOUR runners that won the St. George Marathon twice, and Devra is one of them. Her average time for her performances was 2.40.08, which is the second fastest two marathon average of any runner. She is also one of only five runners to have two performances in the top 30 fastest times recorded in the race.

Because of this performance, Devra Vierkant is the #4 all time performer in the St. George marathon.


Gail Ladage-scott Number #5

Durango, Colorado, only completed the St. George Marathon in 1987, but her stunning performance qualified her as a Top Five Legend of the race. Gail grew up in the Philippines and loved running right from the beginning as a child. She participated in the shorter distance races as a teen, including the 100, 200 and 4X100 relay. In college, she did not run, but was on the synchronized swimming team. Gail’s father was a runner, so she eventually tagged along with him and learned to love the longer distances. She reduced her running quite a bit when she started a family, however, and after having her third child, Gail decided to increase her mileage to help her get back into shape. It was easy to get more involved in running, as her husband was also a runner and they lived in the San Francisco area which allowed them to take advantage of the trails in Northern California. Gail ran her first marathon in 1979 and finished in a time of 4:05, but she got remarkably faster almost immediately. She finally broke the 3 hour barrier in 1983 at the Phoenix Fiesta Bowl Marathon. She then won the 1984 Las Vegas Marathon by just 40 seconds and also won the Flagstaff Marathon the same year. Back in Northern California, she also won the Dipsea trail race, and also was a two time winner of the Pikes Peak Marathon in Colorado.

In 1987, Gail had turned 40 and started to consider whether or not she could break the American Masters division record time in the Marathon of 2:39:11, which was set in 1976 by Miki Gorman at the New York City Marathon. Gail was in fantastic shape as she was running high levels of mileage on the trails in her new home in Durango, Colorado, which included mountain peaks at 14,000 feet for altitude training. Gail also had formed a friendship with Joan Benoit Samuelson, the 1984 Olympic gold medalist in the marathon. Joan encouraged Gail to go for the Miki’s record, and that was enough for Gail to target the St. George Marathon to lower the Masters standard..

When the 1987 St. George Marathon started, Gail immediately jumped into the lead and ran the first mile in sub six minute pace. She did not take her foot off the pedal for the entire 26.2 miles. She was only focused on running under Miki Gorman’s record time, but this also meant that she was in the clear lead in the race. Even a close disaster in the later stages of the race did not stop Gail from her goal. At mile 21, an antenna that was on the press truck that was following Gail’s progress hit an electrical cable which brought the truck to a halt. There were electrical sparks present everywhere as Gail carefully maneuvered around the diversion, but did not stop her effort. The 1987 St. George Marathon was a magical race for Gail and she never faltered. Her final 10k was timed in 36 minutes (5:48 per mile). Gail was the Overall Winner of the 1987 St. George Marathon and did break the American Masters record with her time of 2:37:13. Gail’s time is still the old course record, and only one performance on the new course exceeded her time. She also has the fastest time ever run on the St. George course by a Masters runner by almost six minutes. Gail has very fond memories of St. George and remembers how nice everyone involved with the marathon was to her. She also especially enjoyed the beautiful weather during the course..

Because of this performance, Gail Ladage-Scott is the #5 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.


Criss James Number #5

Criss James, Soda Springs, Idaho, completed the St. George Marathon eight times between 1987 and 1999, including one stunning performance in 1987, which led to Criss easily becoming a Top Five Legend of the race.

Criss started his running career as a sophomore at Murray High School in Murray, Utah. Criss enjoyed playing football at Murray, but the cross country coach encouraged him to try running as an individual sport. Even though he kept playing football until his senior year, Criss eventually set the Utah State record in both the mile and the two mile on the track. After high school, Criss ran for Brigham Young University, and was a member of multiple cross country, indoor and outdoor track teams that won WAC championships.

After college, Criss decided to run a marathon, which would be his first in nine years, to qualify for the 1988 US Olympic Marathon Trials, to be held in Jersey City, New Jersey. Being from Utah, he was well aware of the reputation that St. George had for the marathon, and decided it would be an excellent choice for a sub 2:20:00 time. When he signed up for the race, he didn’t realize what a big deal the marathon was in St. George, and didn’t even put an expected finishing time. As such, his bib had a high number of 1433. He trained hard all summer long, hitting 100 miles week after week, and still doing the interval training necessary to run a good race. He knew the current record holder of the race, Paul Cummings, and discussed course strategy with him. Criss actually felt like he could run a 2:15 marathon and break Paul’s record (2:15:16). The 1987 pre race favorite was Frank Plasso, a very accomplished runner from Las Vegas.

When the 1987 St. George Marathon began, Criss ran with the chase pack that included #40 legend, Dave Knoop, and were following two lead runners, including Plasso. The early pace was too slow for Criss, so he decided to catch Plasso at mile 10. He was going to be satisfied tucking behind Frank, however, Criss was moving so quick, he felt like he was going to run into him, so he went into the lead.

Crossing the halfway point of the 1987 race in a time of 1:08, Criss felt like he could have a record performance because of the downhill nature of the second half of the race. He ran sub 5 minute miles from 13 to 19, including a 4:42 time for mile 14. By this point in the race, Criss knew the overall win was going to be his unless there was a total collapse. He kept pushing the pace as he came into St. George city limits at mile 23, and at mile 25, Criss thought he could break the record. As he ran the last mile, the overall win was in hand, but the crowd on both sides of the street cheered loudly anticipating a record. Criss sprinted as hard as he could after 26 miles of running, crossing the finish line with the clock reading 2:15:14 so it appeared that he broke the record. Unfortunately, the time above the finish line is not official, and when the race staff checked the official clock, Criss was given a time of 2:15:16, which amazingly enough had tied Paul Cummings’s record.

Criss was the Overall Winner of the 1987 St. George Marathon, and even though he had tied the course record, he did not focus on the one second needed to break the record, commenting, “Paul Cummings was an outstanding runner and a great person, and I am proud to share the record with him.” Criss felt like he pulled off a hat trick in 1987, he won the race, qualified for the Olympic Trials, and had tied the record. After the 1988 Trials, Criss was named a member of the 1989 U.S. World Cup Marathon team that competed in Milan, Italy. After that, he focused on law school, and not as much on competitive running, but by 1993, he started focusing on maybe qualifying for the 1996 Olympic Trials. He decided to run the St. George Marathon in 1993, and was very pleased with a fourth place overall finish in a time of 2:21:52. When the Trials qualifying window opened in 1994, Criss made plans to get an “A” qualifying standard time again in St. George. He was in shape and felt like he could get the time necessary to qualify. The 1994 St. George Marathon was a tough race for Criss as he struggled to keep a sub 2:20 pace, but he accomplished his goal by finishing in 3rd place overall in a time of 2:19:39. Criss eventually also won the Lake Powell and Pocatello Marathons, and also the Salt Lake Classic.

Criss eventually ran eight marathons in St. George and all of his performances are in the top 1,000 fastest times ever run, which has been exceeded by only eight other runners. He is also one of eight men that have two times in the top 40 fastest times in the history of the race. Criss has very fond memories of St. George, and he cannot count how many times he has been asked, “Don’t you hold the course record at the St. George Marathon?” He is very proud of this achievement and grateful to be a part of this great event. He thinks they do such a good job because they focus only on the marathon, and try not to have multiple events going at the same time.

Because of this performance, Criss James is the #5 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.


Kathy Robinson Number #6

West Valley, Utah, competed in the St. George Marathon five times in the early 1990’s, and her fast performances easily qualified her as a Top Ten Legend of the race.

Kathy came to St. George for the first time in 1990 and was in the top 10 overall for her first appearance when she ran a time of 2:55:30 to finish in 7th place. Kathy returned in 1991 and was focused on improving her time to help her qualify for the 1992 US Olympic Trials to be held in January 1992 in Houston. Kathy was determined to run faster than the previous year with better training, and also better knowledge of the course. She was involved in one of the more competitive races in the history of the Marathon in St. George. Kathy ran the 20th fastest time in the history of the race, and before 1991, only four women ran faster than Kathy’s 1991 time of 2:42:23. This time would have won 22 of the 34 marathons that have been held in St. George. However in 1991, Kathy’s time was only good enough for 4th place in the race. To this day, Kathy’s 1991 time is still the fastest 4th place finish ever..

Kathy returned to run the 1992 St. George Marathon and was ready to compete for the top spot. She was a very talented runner and definitely needed to be taken seriously by the competition. When the 1992 race started, Kathy again ran well, and barely eclipsed her time from 1991, when she ran 19 seconds faster, to finish in a time of 2:42:04. Kathy also came across the finish line first, meaning that she was the Overall Winner of the 1992 St. George Marathon. Her time is still the 15th fastest time in the history of the race. Kathy had won the 1992 race by 73 seconds over #47 legend, Ellen Gibson, which at the time was the 2nd closest finish ever. .

Kathy finished in the top 5 in 1993 when she ran a time of 2:57:45 to finish 5th overall. She had one more top ten finish when she ran 2:47:18 in 1995, good for 7th place, which also qualified her for the 1996 US Olympic Marathon Trials that were held in Columbia, South Carolina. Kathy is one of just THREE women that have two performances in the 20 fastest times ever recorded in St. George Marathon history..

Because of this performance, Kathy Robinson is the #6 all time performer in the St. George marathon.


Tracy Fifield Number #6

Tracy Fifield, Ogden, Utah, only completed the St. George Marathon in 1988 and 1991, but his performances in both years easily qualified him as a Top Ten Legend of the race. Tracy began running in junior high school and continued his participation while attending Weber High School in Ogden. The team from Weber started with modest success when Tracy was a sophomore, but ended with the team being undefeated during Tracy’s senior year. After Tracy served a Church Mission for two years, he enrolled at Weber State, however, the time away made it difficult for Tracy to earn his way on the cross country squad. He worked hard and received great coaching, and by the time he completed his eligibility, Tracy had run 14:32 for a 5k, and 30:15 for a 10k. In 1988, Tracy was finished at Weber State, and during that summer, he lowered his 10k time to 29:06 at the Deseret News 10k in Salt Lake City for a 5th place overall finish. Tracy had always been told that the marathon would eventually be his distance that he would excel at, and he started to feel the same way when he ran a half marathon in a time of 1:06:10. He decided to enter a marathon that gave him a good chance of winning, and St. George seemed the right choice. He trained by himself all through the summer of 1988, and came to St. George ready to run well in the marathon. He had never ran more than 20 miles at one time, but figured, he was in shape and would be able to handle the distance.

When the 1988 St. George Marathon started, Tracy ran the first mile in the darkness. He then realized that only a motorcycle police escort was just ahead of him. Tracy never looked back and just concentrated on maintaining a good rhythm at a pace that felt right, making sure that he wasn’t tempted by the early downhill miles to run too fast. During the live television coverage of the race, the analysts reporting on the race kept commenting that “Fifield is leading, but he has never ran more than 20 miles before!” Tracy was more than happy to show that he could handle the distance as the lead he had over the other runners kept growing. In his debut, Tracy was the Overall Winner of the 1988 St. George Marathon in a time of 2:22:11, winning by four minutes.

Tracy returned in 1991 to run the St. George Marathon again. However, this time, his main priority was to run an “A” standard time (2:20:00) to qualify for the 1992 US Olympic Marathon Trials that were to be held in April of 1992 in Columbus, Ohio. Tracy knew that there would be many other top runners at the race, so he would not need to lead the race, just tuck in with the pack and get the qualifying time. When the gun started the 1991 race, Tracy ran in the chase pack, as the leaders went out very fast. At the halfway point, Tracy was in third place, and knew that Larry Smithee, the #30 Legend, was leading the race, and was more than likely running a pace under course record (2:15) time. Tracy also could feel the other runners right behind him. As Tracy came into the Snow Canyon portion of the race around mile 16, he saw that the leaders were slowly coming back to him. By mile 18, Tracy was now leading the race. He pushed hard into the city of St. George at mile 23 still in the lead, and running very fast, but knew that the final 5k would be tough. At mile 24, a future legend that will be profiled next week, caught up, and in Tracy’s words, “quite frankly, he scared me to death”. At that point, Tracy still had some energy left, and pushed hard to the finish, running the last two miles in 10 minutes and 10 seconds. Tracy was the Overall Winner of the 1991 St. George Marathon in a simply stunning time of 2:16:51. However, what happened after Tracy finished is why 1991 is considered the most competitive and exciting race on the men’s side. Just 22 seconds later, the future legend finished in 2nd place, and then just 6 seconds later, third place came across the line, #12 Legend, Brian Larson. The top three had times of 2:16:51, 2:17:13, and 2:17:19, which, even today, are the 8th, 9th, and 10th fastest times in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011.

Tracy won the St. George Marathon twice, and there have been only FOUR runners that have matched that feat. Tracy still has fond memories today of the St. George Marathon, including remembering being so impressed by all of the helpful volunteers, and the effort put forth by all of the other runners during the race. In addition, Tracy is very grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Ibigawa marathon, as he enjoyed every moment.

Because of this performance, Tracy Fifield is the #6 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.


Paul Rosser Number #7

Paul Rosser, Salt Lake City, Utah, completed the St. George Marathon six times during the 1990’s and early 2000’s, and his top level performances easily qualified him as a Top Ten Legend of the race.

Paul went to Rim of the World High School in Lake Arrowhead, California, and while he did run in high school, he was considered a late bloomer that did not excel in running until he entered college. He was a Junior College All-American in track and cross country at Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, and was a member of the 1986 National Junior College Championship team. Paul then transferred to Brigham Young University where he was named All-WAC eight times and was on the WAC cross country championship team three years in a row. He had success in a wide range of distances from the 800 meters (1:54) to the 10,000 meters (29:43).

Paul decided to take the marathon seriously in 1993, when he won the Lake Powell Marathon and set a course record in 2:34:36. He decided to also run the St. George Marathon in 1993 for the first time, and his decision to run in St. George was because his good friend, and a previous legend, #30 Larry Smithee, encouraged him to run the race. He ran well and finished in the top 10 with a time of 2:23:21, but Paul was not satisfied with his effort, with the last few miles being some of the hardest and slowest miles that he has ever run. However, Paul was just getting warmed up. Paul returned to run the St. George Marathon in 1994 and was focused on running an “A” standard qualifying time of 2:20:00 for the 1996 US Olympic Marathon Trials in Charlotte, North Carolina. Paul had done countless training runs getting ready for the race, and also felt more confident because he was now familiar with the course. He had won the Deseret News Marathon in July of 1994, so Paul was ready to continue his running success when he was at the start line of the 1994 St. George Marathon.

Paul and Larry Smithee led the 1994 race and went through the seven mile mark in a time of 35:07 and was feeling very relaxed. When they made it to the top of the Veyo hill at around mile 9, Paul had taken the lead and continued to push the pace. He went through the half way point in a time of 1:08:48. As he began racing the second half of the race, he continued to build his lead, and also still felt very good. At mile 16, he even felt strong enough to give a few high fives to the spectators, which not only surprised the crowd, but livened them up with some cheering. Paul was never challenged and by mile 25, he finally felt comfortable that he would run the “A” standard qualifying time. Paul was the Overall Winner of the 1994 St. George Marathon with a remarkable time of 2:16:10, which is still the 5th fastest time ever recorded in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. Paul was thrilled with his race, as he never felt fatigued at all during the race. He had never ran so far, so fast, and so easy in his entire life. His effort in 1994 also meant that he won the Utah road racing circuit and was also invited to be on the US team for the Marathon World Championships that were held in Athens, Greece in April 1995.

Paul came back to defend his St. George Marathon overall title in 1995, and he felt like he was in even better shape than in 1994. He was in the lead pack up to mile seven, but had to make a pit stop for about two minutes. He actually caught back up to the lead group, but one runner had jumped into the lead over the pack. Paul fought hard to catch the leader, but fell just short as he finished in second place overall, but still had a solid time of 2:18:06, which is the 15th fastest time ever recorded. This time would have won 24 of the 34 marathons that have been held in St. George.

Paul had one more top ten finish when he finished in 7th place overall in the 1998 St. George Marathon in a time of 2:28:34. He finished his career in St. George as one of only three runners that had two performances in the fastest 20 times ever run in St. George. Paul still has such positive memories of the St. George Marathon, and it is still his favorite all time. He has run marathons all over the country and St. George remains at the top for organization, course, scenery, and overall experience. He has had success outside of St. George, as he finished 23rd at the 1996 US Olympic Trials, he also took second place overall at the Hartford Marathon and 3rd at the famous Big Sur Marathon in California.

Because of this performance, Paul Rosser is the #7 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.


Holly Ebert Number #7

Holly Ebert, Ogden, Utah, completed the St. George Marathon in 1989 and 1994 and her remarkable effort in both races cemented her status as a Top Ten Legend of the race.

Holly grew up in Northern Utah and began to run for recreation and fitness at age 14. She did not run in either high school or while attending college. She moved to the Pacific Northwest after college to continue her education in Physical Therapy, and during this period, decided to participate in triathlons. She was quite successful as a tri-athlete for seven years, and running seemed to be her best event. She moved back to the Northern Utah area and began to enter races that were shorter in distance than the marathon. She was quite successful and very fast, so she decided to try a marathon and chose the 1989 St. George Marathon to make her debut. Her training before the 1989 race included very modest mileage, as Holly only ran about 30 miles per week leading up to the October Marathon.

Holly was ready to go at the start line of the 1989 St. George Marathon, and during the early miles, she ran a steady pace that felt comfortable for her. She knew she was among the leading female runners, but stayed focus on her effort. As she started running the second half of the race, she moved her way up through the leaders, and finally passed the last female, #36 legend, Mary Ryzner, at mile 21. Now Holly was the leader, and she was determined to hang on and win the marathon in her debut race. However, at mile 25, legend #11, Debbie Hanson, came up on her shoulder and added some suspense to the race. Holly had raced against Debbie in other races, and felt like she was very competitive against her, so she immediately surged away from Debbie, hoping to discourage her from taking the lead. She checked again and saw Debbie right behind her, so surged a second time…..and then surged again a third time, trying to get away from her. It did not work, as Debbie stayed right behind her. At this point, Holly fell back behind Debbie and felt like she was beaten psychologically. Debbie ended up winning the race, however, Holly hung onto 2nd place with a remarkable debut time of 2:42:39. Mary Ryzner came in to the finish line just 31 seconds later. It was the fastest 1-2-3 finish at that point in the history of the race, only eclipsed by one other year in later races.

After the exciting 1989 St. George Marathon, Holly decided to work with coaches to help her performance, and she worked with two of the best, first Paul Cummings, a future Legend of the St. George Marathon, and after Holly moved to Orem, Paul Pilkington. She decided to focus on qualifying for the 1992 US Olympic Marathon Trials, and just missed the standard by two seconds when she ran 2:45:02 at the 1991 California International Marathon. In 1993, Holly was the overall female winner at the prestigious Marine Corps Marathon, which had 15,000 runners in the race. Holly decided to run the St. George Marathon again in 1994 and focused on three goals. First, to run a time that would qualify her for the 1996 US Olympic Marathon Trials, second to win the race, and third, to run a time under 2:40.

Holly worked with her coach to properly prepare for the 1994 marathon, and felt like she could hit all of her goals. When the gun went off to start the race, Holly focused on her race and her goals, and did not worry about any other runners. She clipped off miles at a six minute pace, and continued on at that fast level until mile 24. She had led the race right from the start. At mile 24, Holly had a clear lead, but started to slow a bit. However, there would not be a repeat of the 1989 race, when she was passed in the last mile. Holly was the Overall Winner of the 1994 St. George Marathon in an incredible time of 2:41:32, which is still the 11th fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011.

Holly ran only the two races, in 1989 and 1994, in St. George, but ran very fast in both races. She is one of only four women that have at least two performances in the top 25 fastest times ever run in the history of the race. Holly has very fond memories of St. George, she feels like a runner cannot find a race better anywhere else, and she still thinks it feels like home whenever she goes to the race.

Because of this performance, Holly Ebert is the #7 all time performer in the St. George marathon.


Brandon Rhoads Number #8

Brandon Rhoads, Provo, Utah, completed the St. George Marathon three times between 1996 and 1999, and his performances were at such a high level that he easily qualified as a Top Ten Legend of the race.

Brandon grew up in Provo and ran cross country and track for Timpview High School. In high school, Brandon trained in the summer with Paul Cummings, a two time winner of the St. George Marathon, and also a Legend that will be profiled soon. Paul told Brandon about his experiences in the St. George Marathon, which inspired Brandon to someday run the same race. However, before he ran in any marathon, Brandon attended Brigham Young University in Provo, and was a four time NCAA All American for the 10,000 meter event on the track and also for cross country. Brandon did not compete in a marathon until his college eligibility was complete in April of 1996. As soon as that date was reached, he immediately started the training necessary to run his debut marathon in the 1996 St. George Marathon.

It was obvious that Brandon had immense talent for the longer distance races, however, a debut marathon doesn’t always work out the way a runner intends, no matter the talent. His 1996 St. George Marathon could be classified as a “learning experience”, and the learning was done in a harsh manner. After the first few miles, Brandon took control of the race and led the other runners for the majority of the race. He had heard of the term, “hitting the wall”, and started to realize that is what was occurring as he approached the 20 mile mark. He still had a clear lead, but knew that his last 10k was going to be a rough one. He still led at mile 23, but shortly after that mile, another legend that will be profiled shortly passed him. Brandon still remembers that it felt like he was running in quick sand as he lost the lead. He still hung on to 2nd place finishing in a remarkable time of 2:20:10, especially for a runner in their first effort at the marathon distance. Brandon realized that he didn’t run smart during the race, and he vowed that he would be back, but he wasn’t going to run another marathon until he was prepared and well trained. In 1997, Brandon was on a mission to train and become smarter when he raced to avoid hitting that wall again. He signed up for the 1997 St. George Marathon, and it was going to be his second career marathon. His training in 1997 went well, including winning the Moab Utah half marathon in a still standing course record of 1:05:33.

At the start line of the 1997 race, Brandon felt confident that he could do well. He took the lead of the race just before the half marathon point, however, the lead that he took over from another runner turned out to be a bandit, who dropped out at the half way point. Brandon’s split at the half was 1:08, so he was running very well. He knew if he could maintain his pace, he would be very tough to beat. His goal in the second half however, was to avoid that big “bogey man” that could put up the wall that Brandon had crashed into the previous year. Brandon did not experience hitting the wall and ran a remarkable race as he was the Overall Winner of the 1997 St. George Marathon. With less than a mile to go in the race, an official in the lead vehicle yelled at Brandon that he had a chance to break the course record. However, Brandon was not concerned about the record, he just wanted to see the finish line. Brandon ended up with an amazing time of 2:15:42, which is the 3rd fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. His margin of victory of seven minutes and 38 seconds was the second largest margin of victory in the history of the race. Brandon’s performance was the 7th overall fastest time recorded in a marathon by any American male in 1997, and he was invited to the US Marathon championships that were held in 1998 in Pittsburgh.

Brandon did return to St. George in 1999, and his goal was to run a time fast enough to qualify for the 2000 US Olympic Marathon Trials, however, he suffered from dehydration and fell short with a time of 2:24:47, which was still good enough for 7th place overall.

Because of this performance, Brandon Rhoads is the #8 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.


Mary Burns-prine Number #8

Mary Burns-Prine, San Diego, California, competed in the St. George Marathon each year from 1994 through 1996, and her performances during those years were so remarkable that she easily qualified as a Top Ten Legend of the race.

Mary ran both track and cross country at Dowling High School in West Des Moines, Iowa. After she finished her high school career, Mary did not run in college, instead decided to focus on the longer distances and enter various marathons. This was in the mid 1970’s, so female participation in marathons was quite low. Her first marathon was in Winterset, Iowa, and Mary ran 3:13 and was the top overall……..and only female runner out of 150 participants. Mary finished in the top 20 at the 1977 Boston Marathon, won the Drake Relays marathon, and also was a top finisher in marathons in Chicago, Iowa City, and Cedar Falls, Iowa. When it was announced that the first US Olympic Marathon Trials were to be held in Spokane, Washington in 1984, Mary trained very hard to run a qualifying time, which she did by just three seconds. She also won the San Diego Marathon in 1985, but then decided to take a break with running and start a family.

In 1994, Mary was again inspired to qualify for the 1996 US Olympic Marathon Trials, so she restarted her running career. She finished 3rd overall in a marathon in San Francisco, but was not close to a qualifying time. A friend of Mary’s encouraged her to run the 1994 St. George Marathon in her next attempt at qualifying for the Trials. Mary entered the race and ran very well. She finished 3rd overall with a time of 2:44:59, which did qualify her for the Trials, which were to be held in May 1996 in Columbia, South Carolina.

Mary came back to run again in St. George in 1995. She enjoyed the race in the previous year, and wanted to see if she could improve her time in hopes of a better standard for the Trials. She ended up with another top ten overall finish with a time of 2:46:43, which was good enough for 5th place.

In 1996, Mary decided again to return to St. George. Her training in 1996 had benefited from Mary’s decision to work with a coach for the first time. Her coach, Thom Hunt from San Diego, had her work out more on the track, and actually reined her in on some of her long runs. She felt like she was in great shape both physically and mentally and was ready to run a great race.

When the gun started the 1996 St. George Marathon, Mary ran the pace that she had planned. She did not worry about the other runners in the race, just focused on what her talent level could do. By mile 15, Mary had taken control of the race, and ran alone the rest of the way. However, there was another runner, in fact, it was Legend #17, Mary Button, that was taking aim at the lead that Mary Burns-Prine had built. Mary did not realize that Mary Button was so close, and never really felt threatened. She felt like if the race had to come down to a “kick” that she was prepared to go for it. Mary did not need to worry about any last mile surge, as she was the Overall Winner of the 1996 St. George Marathon in a simply remarkable time of 2:41:27, which is still the 10th fastest performance in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. Mary Button finished just 44 seconds later, which, at the time in 1996, was the closest finish in the history of the race. Today, it is still the 4th closest finish ever recorded in the women’s race. At age 39, Mary had one of those incredible races where everything just clicked for her.

Mary did not return to St. George after 1996, however, she did focus on Masters (over age 40) marathon racing in the years subsequent to 1996. She raced quite well, including running seven marathons under 2:50 at age 43 and also qualifying for the 2000 US Olympic Marathon Trials. For Mary, however, St. George will always be her favorite marathon, and not just because of her fast times. She enjoyed the spirit of the course, the friendly organizers, and the magic of the race as it starts in the dark and then comes to life when the sun comes up and the beauty of the scenery is evident. She loved the fire pits at the start and all of the enthusiastic spectators.

Because of this performance, Mary Burns-Prine is the #8 all time performer in the St. George marathon.


Tyrus Deminter Number #9

Tyrus Deminter, Los Angeles, California, completed the St. George Marathon three times between 1987 and 1991, and all three performances were at such a high level that he has qualified for a top 10 placing on the Legend list.

Tyrus grew up in Los Angeles and competed on the track for Jefferson High School. He ran 9:01 for the two mile distance which was good enough for 10th place overall in the California State High School track and field championship during his senior year. He then ran for Long Beach City College, where he placed second in the 1983 California Junior College 10k Championships. He also ran for Long Beach State University where he had personal record times of 14:27 in the 5k and 29:55 in the 10k. After college, Tyrus ran first for the Santa Monica Track Club for two years, and eventually ran for the Gardena Reebok Valley Runners, a popular Southern California club that participated many years in the St. George Marathon. Tyrus came to St. George to run his debut marathon in 1987. The 1987 race had a deep field of very talented men looking to qualify for the 1988 US Olympic Marathon Trials. Tyrus was one of those men looking to qualify, but knew it would be tough to do in his first marathon. As the 1987 race progressed, Tyrus was under the qualifying time necessary when he accidently went off the course for a short period and ran in a dirt section that resulted in him having to remove a small rock from his shoe. This delay eventually caused Tyrus to miss the qualifying time by just 13 seconds, as he finished in 7th place overall in the 1987 St. George Marathon in a time of 2:20:13.

In 1989 the Gardena Valley Reebok Club entered twenty members in the St. George Marathon, including Tyrus, who was looking to redeem himself from his debut marathon two years ago in St. George. The 1989 race was his sixth marathon, and Tyrus was confident in his fitness, and had a goal time of sub 2:20. He had upped his weekly mileage to prepare for the marathon to 90 miles per week, which was an increase of 20 miles per week from his 1987 training. He had been training in Southern California on the Palos Verdes Marathon course, which contained the rolling hills to mimic the St. George course. When the 1989 race began, Tyrus was in the lead pack as they ran consistent 5:30 miles through the first 10 miles. That is when Tyrus increased the pace to low 5 minute miles and had pulled away from everyone by mile 12. Tyrus wanted to run to the 20 mile mark and then run the best 10k of his life. He was never threatened as Tyrus was the Overall Winner of the 1989 St. George Marathon in a time of 2:19:07. He had won the race by a clear margin of over three minutes.

The win in 1989 had special significance for Tyrus, as this was the first year of the “sister city” relationship with the Ibigawa, Japan Marathon. Five weeks after his St. George victory, Tyrus won the Ibigawa Marathon and also set a course record by over one minute. Tyrus returned in 1991 to again run the St. George Marathon, this time hoping to repeat as champion, but also to run under 2:20 again so as to qualify for the 1992 US Olympic Marathon Trials to be held in Columbus, Ohio. The leaders of the 1991 race took off at the gun at a blazing pace, however, Tyrus stayed focus on his goal, which was even pacing to get the qualifying time for the trials. At the 20 mile mark, Tyrus was in 6th place, as many of the early leaders were coming back to him. Tyrus ended up in 4th place at the finish line in a time of 2:19:30, which also qualified him for the Olympic Marathon Trials.

Tyrus had a successful experience in St. George. His winning time in 1989 is the 27th fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. He is one of only three runners that have THREE performances that were fast enough to be in the top 50 fastest times ever recorded in St. George.

Because of this performance, Tyrus Deminter is the #9 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.


Suzanne Morris Number #9

Suzanne Morris, Encinitas, California, completed the St. George Marathon three times between 1997 and 2001, and her performances in those races were so remarkable that she easily earned her status as a Top 10 Legend.

Suzanne began running at age 25 in 1982 and immediately enlisted her father, Bob, as her training partner. They trained and ran marathons during the next 5 years, until Bob realized that Suzanne had talent far above his own and encouraged her to maximize her potential. That talent was quickly evident when she ran the Holiday Bowl Marathon in San Diego in 2:46:10 in December 1986. She qualified for the 1988 US Olympic Marathon Trials that were held in Pittsburgh in May of 1988, where she finished a respectable 33rd overall in a time of 2:42:25. That would be her personal record until 1990, when she ran 2:41:22 in the Chicago Marathon which also meant she qualified for the 1992 US Olympic Marathon Trials.

After taking two years off from running marathons, Suzanne decided to run in the St. George Marathon in 1997 as a Masters runner (over age 40). She had heard it was a fast course, but decided to avoid the race until she was a bit older, as she was concerned about injuries with the downhill second half of the course. Suzanne spent the first half of the race holding her pace and getting ready for the fast downhill second half. She finished very well, as she landed in the top 10 overall with a time of 2:47:07 which was good enough for 5th place overall and Suzanne was also recognized as the Masters Champion of the 1997 St. George Marathon.

After Suzanne’s successful 1997 St. George Marathon, she remarked to a marathon official, “I would like to come back next year, this is a course that is better if you have run it before”. Those words turned out to be prophetic. Suzanne returned in 1998 ready to run well in the marathon. She was now familiar with the course and was not afraid to push hard from the start. When the gun went off to start the race, Suzanne took off into the lead from the get go. She felt good and ran as fast as she could for the entire race. She did not hold back at all and never was threatened as Suzanne became the Overall Winner of the 1998 St. George Marathon. Her time was 2:44:41, which is the 43rd fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. It is also the 7th fastest time ever run by a Masters runner. Suzanne returned one final time in 2001 and performed very well again as she finished in the top 10 again with a time of 2:52:44, which was fast enough for 3rd place overall, and also the Masters Champion.

Suzanne was the first woman to be crowned both an Overall Winner and a Masters Winner in two separate years. This feat has been duplicated only one other time. She is also one of just three women that have won the Masters title more than once. Suzanne always had great experiences in St. George, she loved the beauty of seeing the sun rise during the race and the surrounding landscape light up in the early morning. She loved the bonfires at the start. The organization of the race is top notch, she is still amazed that she could toss her long sleeve shirt at the mile one marker, and then easily find it at the finish line. In addition, she has wonderful memories of her two trips to Ibigawa, Japan as part of the “sister city” marathon exchange.

Because of this performance, Suzanne Morris is the #9 all time performer in the St. George marathon.


Ken Hawk Harper Number #10

Ken “Hawk” Harper, Orem, Utah, is a “22 year club member” of the St. George Marathon and competed at a high level in the race throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. Hawk has eight performances that were fast enough to be included in the fastest 1,000 times in the history of the race, which is only exceeded by eight other runners.

Hawk was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, but as a Navy “brat” moved all over the country, eventually graduating from Mojave High School in California. Hawk excelled at all sports, and played both football and baseball at Dixie College in St. George. Hawk also enjoyed weightlifting. At age 30, Hawk was challenged by a friend to run the Las Vegas Marathon which was to be run in just a few weeks. He had no idea when he made the decision to run that marathon in Vegas, that running would become his life-long passion.

His passion for running and his familiarity with the St. George area resulted in Hawk running in the 3rd annual St. George Marathon in 1979. He ran very well and finished in 12th place overall in a time of 2:41:17. This was a remarkable performance considering just a few years earlier, Hawk had not even begun to run and was a 240 lb weightlifter. Still, Hawk had not reached his peak just yet. Hawk returned in 1980 and landed in the top 10 for the first time, as he improved his time by over 12 minutes when he ran 2:28:41 and finished 3rd place overall.

In 1982, Ken again finished in the top 10 with a 9th place showing and also had a St. George personal record, this time he ran 2:27:55. However, in two more years, Hawk would step it up another notch.

The 1984 St. George Marathon resulted in Hawk’s pinnacle in his long involvement in the race. Hawk had seen gradual improvement in the eight years since he began to run, and 1984, Hawk came into the race in top fitness. His previous PR in the race was run in 1982 in just under 2:28, which would not be considered a time to win the race, but Hawk still had room for improvement. Even at age 38, Hawk continued to get faster as a runner. This was the case in 1984, as Hawk went out and ran the best race he could to become the Overall Winner of the 1984 St. George Marathon in a time of 2:22:03, which is the 76th fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. Hawk is still the oldest overall winner of the marathon 27 years later, although his accomplishment of winning the race at age 38 was matched by Iain Hunter in 2009. Hawk also ran very well when he turned 40 in 1986, as his time of 2:28:39 meant that he was the 3rd overall Masters (over age 40) runner. He improved his Masters standing the next year in 1987 when he ran 2:27:14, however, this time was still behind the #13 Legend and 1987 Masters winner, Stephen Lester. Hawk’s performance in 1987 is still the 13th fastest time in St. George Marathon Masters history. Hawk’s family is full of accomplished runners, as his wife Cheryl will be profiled shortly very high on the Legend list, and his son Golden was already named the #44 Legend of the race.

Because of this performance, Hawk Harper is the #10 all time performer in the St. George Marathon.


Angela French Number #10

Angela French, Phoenix, Arizona, completed the St. George Marathon five times in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, and all five performances were at such a high level that she has qualified for a top 10 placing in the Legend list.

Angela grew up in Tacoma, Washington and attended Bellarmine Prep School, which is a powerhouse in Washington’s running scene, however, Angela did not run in high school. She then attended University of Puget Sound (UPS) in Tacoma, but did not run at UPS until the summer before her junior year. However, by the time Angela completed her eligibility at UPS, she had been inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame for her accomplishments. She set school records at distances of 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 meters and also set the school record for the marathon. After college, Angela became a professional tri-athlete from 1981 to 1986, where she won six major triathlons or biathlons. She kept up the running also, qualifying for the 1984 and 1988 US Olympic Marathon Trials.

In 1990, Angela decided to run in the St. George Marathon in an attempt to qualify for the 1992 US Olympic Marathon Trials to be held in Houston. The marathon was quite popular in Phoenix because the travel was simple, just a quick flight to Vegas and then an easy drive to St. George. Another factor in the popularity of the race in Phoenix was because it was easy to mimic the St. George marathon course in the Phoenix area. Angela had a successful debut in St. George in 1990, as she ran 2:44:09 to finish in 2nd place just 96 seconds behind the winner, our #20 legend, Janell Burgon. Angela returned again in 1995 to St. George, again to try and qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials, this time the 1996 Trials that were to be held in Columbia, South Carolina. She was successful, as she finished in 10th place overall in a time of 2:49:34. In 1998, Angela was now running as a Masters performer (over age 40), and decided to compete again in the St. George Marathon. The window was open for qualifying for the 2000 US Olympic Trials, and Angela was determined to qualify for her 5th straight Olympic Trials. When the 1998 race was complete, Angela had again finished in the top 10, finishing 6th overall, was the Overall Masters Champion, and had also qualified for the Olympic Trials. Angela was also very excited to be the Masters winner, as this meant she had an opportunity to go to Japan and run in the “sister city” marathon in Ibigawa. Her mother and father had met in Japan shortly after World War II, so this was an opportunity to experience their country. Angela’s experience in Japan was priceless and her memories of that time will always be cherished.

In 1999, Angela returned to St. George, and was determined to be more aggressive during the race. She had already qualified for the Olympic Trials, so she didn’t have to be conservative with her pacing. She wanted to run 6:15 pace, which would mean a career personal record for St. George. The race was very competitive, as there were many fast women at the start that were attempting to run a Trials qualifying time. The race ended up with 10 women that were fast enough to have times in the top 100 fastest ever run in St. George History, which is only surpassed by the 2007 race. Angela ran relaxed at the beginning of the race allowing a tailwind to help with pacing. She was also now familiar with how best to run the course. As Angela entered St. George in the 1999 race, with about 3 miles to go, she was the overall leader of the deep field of talented women. She held the lead until mile 25 when she was passed by the eventual winner (and legend to be named later). She held on to 2nd place overall, with a time of 2:43:31, which is the 30th fastest time in the history of the race, which will have its 100,000 finisher in 2011. She also was again the Masters Champion. Angela’s remarkable time in 1999 is still the 3rd fastest Masters time in the history of the race.

Angela returned again in 2002 to St. George with another top 10 finish, finishing in 6th place with a time of 2:45:50 (her time on an age graded basis would be 2:31:17). She was just four seconds behind the Masters Champion in her attempt for a third title. Her performance in the 2002 marathon had qualified Angela for her SIXTH straight US Olympic Trials. Only Angela and one other woman had qualified for the first six Olympic Marathon Trials from 1984 to 2004. Angela is one of only three women that have won the Masters title in St. George more than once, and she also is one of only five women that have at least five top 10 finishes. Angela is also in a select company of just nine women that have at least three performances in the top 100 fastest times recorded in St. George Marathon history.

Angela has always loved the St. George Marathon for its dependable weather and awesome scenery during the race. Because of this performance, Angela French is the #10 all time performer in the St. George marathon.