St. George Marathon: Metler, Green give encore performance in marathon victories – STGnews photo gallery

ST. GEORGE — Hey, haven’t we seen this before?

St. George residents Aaron Metler and Amber Green are making a habit out of winning the St. George Marathon, with Metler taking his third SGM title by winning the men’s division with a time of 2:19:30 and Green also recording her third with a time of 2:43:14 Saturday.

Amber Green, the first place finisher for the women, at the St. George Marathon, St. George, Utah, Oct. 3, 2015 | Photo by Shelly Griffin, St. George News
Amber Green, the first place finisher for the women, at the St. George Marathon, St. George, Utah, Oct. 3, 2015 | Photo by Shelly Griffin, St. George News

“This is my home,” Green said. “I love this course and I’ll never, ever miss this race. And the crowds – awesome, awesome, awesome. (You get to) about the 18 mile mark and you’ve really pushed your body hard and the crowds and the volunteers just help lift you.”

The race annually attracts about 7,800 runners from across the United States and even around the world. Hundreds of volunteers rush to aid the runners along their way and at the finish line in Vernon Worthen Park in downtown St. George.

Director of race operations Kami Ellsworth said this year’s contingent of runners includes athletes from as far away as Japan and Singapore as well as all 50 states in the USA.

Metler set a blistering pace, just four minutes off the all-time St. George Marathon record. He said a little breeze at the beginning helped.

“Yeah, there was a little tailwind today, especially at the beginning,” he said. “I just felt good out there. I don’t wear a watch, I just try and go out and run what feels right.”

Hundreds of volunteers and thousands of spectators lined the course, especially in the downtown area. A buzz of excitement rippled through the crowd as Metler bore down on the finish line. Loud cheers accompanied him as he crossed the line at 400 East.

“There’s nothing like it,” Metler said. “The hometown crowd support, the cheering, the vibe, you can feel it here in St. George. I can go home and lay on the couch after this. At home, it’s the best way to run it. I love it.”

Aaron Metler, the first place finisher for the men, at the St. George Marathon, St. George, Utah, Oct. 3, 2015 | Photo by Shelly Griffin, St. George News
Aaron Metler, the first place finisher for the men, at the St. George Marathon, St. George, Utah, Oct. 3, 2015 | Photo by Shelly Griffin, St. George News

This is the 39th annual St. George Marathon. In the early years, as the race began growing, anyone who wanted to run could register and attempt the course. The popularity of the race, which takes place the first Saturday in October every year, has grown such that there is a limited number of racers allowed and very early registration is requisite to assure a bib.

The race is also a boon to the St. George economy, boosting tourism in the fall along with the Huntsman World Senior Games and the burgeoning Fall Brawl pickleball event.

“We have 7,800 runners in our race and we estimate that each of them bring one to two people with them,” Ellsworth said. “For economic reasons alone, it’s huge to the City of St. George. We see anywhere from $2.4 million to $2.7 million brought into the community each year.”

Metler’s Saturday time was 24 seconds slower than his winning time a year ago, but considerably faster than his time in 2010, when he also won the race.

Green said she was pulling for good friend Metler to win the race and she hugged him warmly after crossing the line as the top female finisher.

Runners compete at the St. George Marathon, St. George, Utah, Oct. 3, 2015 | Photo by Shelly Griffin, St. George News
Runners compete at the St. George Marathon, St. George, Utah, Oct. 3, 2015 | Photo by Shelly Griffin, St. George News

“I just kept saying to myself, ‘Three-peat. Three-peat. Three-peat,’” Green said. “I’m happy for Aaron and I’m glad we both got to win it again. This has become a fun tradition. Maybe next year, too?”

Green won the 2012 SGM with a time of 2:45:59, but had to settle for second in 2013 behind Rosy Lee. She returned to the top of the podium in 2014 with a time of 2:43:28, then shaved 14 seconds off that time in winning this year’s race.

Wheelchair and handcrank racers set off at 6:40 a.m. in the Saturday pre-dawn, while the runners began their race at 6:45 a.m. All runners are required to reach the corner of Snow Canyon Parkway and S.R. 18 (Bluff Street), a distance of 23.1 miles, by 1:00 p.m. This is 6 hours 15 minutes race time, and can be accomplished by a 16:13:00/mile pace.

Runners who do not meet this time standard will be required to leave the course, will not be allowed to finish the marathon, and will be transported to the finish by bus.

St. George News welcomes and encourages reader submitted photos from this community event. Help keep the photo gallery exciting by sending your pictures to news@stgnews.com.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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