For the beauty, Zion Half Marathoners come and run; STGnews Videocast

Zion Half Marathon, Springdale, Utah, March 22, 2014 | Photo by Amber Green, St. George News

SPRINGDALE – On Saturday morning, running 13.1 miles through the desert with a backdrop of Zion National Park’s high red and white peaks and low springtime green river valley surrounding them, some 1,500 runners competed in this year’s Zion Half Marathon.

The Zion Half Marathon was a sell-out race that started at 7 a.m. in the town of Virgin on Highway 9 and ended at the Zion Canyon Giant Screen Theater just prior to the entrance to Zion National Park. Participants experienced a 466-foot elevation gain over the course of the race and were given 3.5 hours to complete the course, whether running or walking.

The three top finishers for men were Walter Brown of South Jordan, who finished in first place overall with a time of 1 hour, 21 minutes, 24 seconds, followed by Rob Decker of Mesa, Ariz., 1:28:06, and Kyle Hills from Colorado Springs, Colo., 1:23:57.

Top finishers for women were Maria Isabel Perez of Spring Valley, Calif., with a time of 1:32:53,  Aponi Porritt, from Salt Lake City, 1:33:13, and Brianna Decker of Mesa, Ariz., 1:40:07.

Results for all participants may be found here.

This was Perez’s second year running the Zion Half Marathon and she said that although you could feel the elevation jump around Miles 6 and 11, the view distracted her from feeling the impact of the climb.

“With the view you don’t think about the elevation,” Perez said. “It’s gorgeous. I will come next year.”

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Videocast by Amber Green, St. George News

 “I’m originally from Boise, Idaho,” presently a Salt Lake City resident and runner Lindsay Burt said. “I’m training for the Salt Lake Marathon. Trying to qualify for Boston, and this race is a great training run and it’s a gorgeous course. It’s a little bit uphill but you can’t even feel the uphill. They have pacers on the course, which was excellent. I ran with a pacer and ran with him 10 miles and then sprinted in the last 3.”

Robert Fine, of San Diego, represented many of the runners who participate in the Zion Half Marathon for its incomparable beauty.  “I decided to run it definitely because of the scenery. It’s a gorgeous race,” Fine said. “We’re going to spend the rest of the time hiking, we’re going to do Angels Landing. Everyone talked about how uphill it was, but I didn’t feel that way at all – it was more downhill and flats. … It’s more about the scenery and the camaraderie.

St. George resident, Aponi Porritt, offered a bit of advice for the future Zion Half Marathoners: “Just enjoy it. It’s incredible, it’s an amazing race.”

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