ST. GEORGE – Thirty-five-year-old Riley Cook from South Weber, Utah, won the 40th iteration of the St. George Marathon Saturday morning.
Cook, an elite runner who finished in a time of 2:16:09, outlasted Bryant Jensen from Fruit Heights and local favorite Aaron Metler, who works for St. George City, the sponsor of the event.
“My good friend, Bryant Jensen, was right behind me,” Cook said. “I hit a wall at mile 25 and really felt quite poorly. It felt like he was right there on me, so I just pushed with everything I had. Every step was a struggle, all the way to the finish. But I made it.”
Jensen came in at 2:16:46, 27 seconds behind Cook.
Jensen owns the SGM course record, setting the pace in 2013 with a time of 2:15:56.
On the women’s side, Rosy Lee from Mountain Green, Utah, just edged Lindsay Nelson from Flagstaff, Ariz. Lee raced across the finish line with a time of 2:40:45, just 14 seconds ahead of Nelson.
It is the third St. George Marathon win for Lee, who turned 40 this year.
“I’m nauseous, and relieved,” Lee said. “I’m 40 now and I’m like, this is my marathon. We’re both 40. I took two years off, but I had to do this one.”
Lee won the St George Marathon in 2013, finishing three minutes faster than this year. But the closeness of the 2016 race was tense. Second-place finisher Nelson was not disappointed with her runner-up status, especially since it was her first marathon.
“The last 5K was the hardest — that was the wall, probably,” Nelson said. “I’m happy with my time. That’s 10 minutes faster than I wanted.”
Provo’s Nicole Lyons was third and St. George’s Amber Green finished fourth, just over two minutes off the winning pace set by Lee.
The wheelchair winner was Emily McQueen of San Jose, Calif. (with a time of 1:44:03), while the handcycle champion was Chris Sproule of Las Vegas, who completed the 26.2-mile course in 1:03:15.
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