In early 1989, SGI, a St. George company involved in bringing tourism to St. George became aware of a city in Japan that was starting a marathon similar to the one being staged in St. George.
SGI approached Kent Perkins, the Director of the St. George Marathon at that time, about the idea of exchanging ideas and information between the two cities concerning their respective marathons.
Kent Perkins liked the idea and in summer of 1989, he flew to Ibigawa, Japan to lay the groundwork for what has become a very successful exchange program. Later that year, during the St. George Marathon, representatives from the Ibigawa Marathon came to St. George as guests and participants. Later, in November of that year, Bob Nicholson (Director of Community Development for the City of St. George) flew to Ibigawa as the first official delegate from St. George to the Ibigawa marathon.
Since that time the two cities have exchanged delegations and event winners in an effort to enhance each marathon and to broaden the scope of understanding between countries and cultures.
Both marathons have built reputations for their excellence and growth. The exchange program has played a part in the success of both marathons and new ideas are fostered as these two marathons grow and mature.
Currently, St. George sends the overall male and female winners, masters division winners, and a local runner to Japan for a week-long stay with Japanese host families. This award for winners demonstrates the uniqueness of the St. George Marathon.
Exchange Program Contest - Japan and Me Essay Information and Instructions (Cancelled for the 2022 Marathon)
The City of St. George and the St. George Marathon student exchange experience with the Ibigawa Japan Marathon and Ibigawa’s middle schools is now in its 32nd year. The St. George Marathon will select 16 ninth-grade students (2022/23 school year) to be a part of it’s delegation to Ibigawa, Japan in November 2021. We are looking for students that will be great representatives of our city, who exemplify courtesy, respect, and integrity. Delegates will be selected after a review of written essays, a letter of recommendation, and a summary of qualifications submitted by interested students.
St. George - Ibigawa, Japan Marathon Exchange Program Contest for St. George area middle school students from the following schools:
Pine View Middle School, Desert Hills Middle School, Dixie Middle School, Crimson Middle School and Snow Canyon Middle School.