St. George Marathon

The St. George Marathon is a significant event that attracts thousands of people from all over the world. It accommodates about 7,400 runners. Anyone can submit a registration form but only 7,400 are randomly chosen to participate. The beauty of Southern Utah makes this marathon trail unique. It begins in the fresh green Pine Valley Mountains and continues through a variety of sceneries, including the amazing red, pink, and white sandstone mountains of Snow Canyon State Park. This race truly is spectacular and is appreciated by many as one of the most beautifully scenic marathons in the world. The decent from start to finish is approximately 2,600 ft and ends at the Vernon Worthen Park in St. George.
The first marathon in St. George was in November 1977, but now traditionally takes place on the first Saturday in October. Sherm Miller originally organized the race while working for the Parks and Recreation Department. He was inspired to host a marathon in St. George after running the Desert News Marathon in Salt Lake City. Not everyone was excited about it, but it was approved and only 58 participated with 38 who actually finished. Over the next few years, the race grew tremendously even though it was not yet a USA Track and Field Certified race. Today, St. George celebrates 37 years of marathon running and has exploded in popularity. Runner’s World magazine pinned the St. George Marathon as the Most Organized Marathon in January 2010, based on a survey of runners. It has also been included in the Top 20 Marathons in the USA, Runner’s World 10 Most Scenic Marathons, and Fastest Marathons.

The marathon has become an important part of the community and always has more than sufficient volunteer help and support. There are around 52 business sponsors as well as local sponsorship from the community. Every few miles there are aid stations that provide water, Gatorade, and snacks like fruit and power bars to give the runners energy and a quick break. At each station there are many volunteers who are kind enough to stand with arms outstretched holding the cups so that the runners can continue speeding by as they grab the cup. There are also people with icy-hot that are willing to rub down sore leg muscles, and trained professionals to assist if there were any serious injuries or complications. At the finish line is a spray down booth immediately to cool the runners off if necessary. There are some free services provided for the runners, including food/drinks, relaxation, and pain or injury treatment. A lot of people gather along the last few miles of the race to watch the runner’s final battle to the end. Although traffic can get pretty crazy on race day, it is an exciting and energizing event that brings the community together.

Another great thing about the St. George Marathon is the ties it makes with the Ibigawa Japan Marathon. It is considered our sister city marathon, where we have deals to exchange runners and host those who travel the long distances to participate in each other’s marathons. The over-all male and female winner of the St. George Marathon each year are awarded an all expenses paid week long trip to Ibigawa to run in the sister marathon. This is a pretty neat way for us to share our culture and have a connection with other countries. The marathon is more than just a race; it is a wonderful part of St. George.