Runner shatters course record at St. George Marathon

ST. GEORGE — Aaron Fletcher took first place overall in the 41st annual St. George Marathon Saturday, breaking the course record by more than one minute.

Aaron Fletcher, new course record holder in the St. George Marathon, with a winning time of 2:14:45, St. George, Utah, Oct. 7, 2017. | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

“I hurt everywhere,” the 26-year-old Fletcher told St. George News immediately after the race. “It feels really great to win, to get the course record here.”

“My fourth race this year, fourth course record, fourth win. Great way to finish up 2017,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher, a resident of Lindon, is a former Brigham Young University distance runner who graduated from BYU two years ago.

Fletcher’s winning time was 2 hours, 14 minutes, 45 seconds, breaking the previous record of 2:15:56 for the current course, set by Bryant Jensen in 2013. Fletcher also bettered the old course’s retired record of 2:15:16, set by Paul Cummings in 1981 and tied by Criss James in 1987.

Saturday’s overall female winner was Nicole Lyons, 26, of Meridian, Idaho. Lyons finished in a time of 2:41:15, around five minutes behind the course record established a decade ago, when Deeja Youngquist finished in 2:36.06 in 2007.

“I’m so excited. I didn’t think this could happen,” Lyons said shortly after winning. She said she and her coach decided on a strategy to keep pace with last year’s overall female winner, Rosy Lee, 41, of Mountain Green.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike poses with top three overall female placers Nicole Lyons, Rosy Lee and Tara Lewis in the 41st annual St. George Marathon. St. George, Utah, Oct. 7, 2017 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

“I decided, OK, if I could just stay with her, I’ll have the best race of my life,” Lyons told St. George News. “Thanks to her, I was able to do it.”

Lee ended up finishing second overall among female runners, coming in a little more than a minute behind Lyons with a time of 2:42.26. She and Lyons hugged each other and talked for awhile as they cooled down after the race.

Fletcher’s course-record accomplishment came as a surprise to some, as announcers had said midway through the race the lead runners were on a pace to finish in about 2:19 or 2:20. But Fletcher and those right behind him picked up the pace over the last several miles.

“The second half was fast,” said third-place finisher Aaron Metler of St. George, who has won the St. George Marathon three times, most recently in 2015. Metler, a St. George city employee, posted a personal-best time of 2:18:54 to place third overall.

“You can’t complain when you run your best time. I couldn’t be happier,” Metler said, adding that the cool, clear weather made for nearly ideal running conditions. “It was amazing. A fantastic day,” he said.

Christopher Sproule was the winner of the handcycle category in the St. George Marathon, St. George, Utah, Oct. 7, 2017 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Coming in second place overall was Jonathan Kotter, 32, of Holladay, who crossed the finish line in a time of 2:17:30. Like Fletcher, Kotter is also a former BYU distance runner.

Saturday’s other highlights included Christopher Sproule, 40, of Las Vegas winning his second straight handcycle title with a winning time of 1:00:36. Close behind him was 34-year-old Travis Wood of Cedar City, who took second with a time of 1:00:50, his fastest finish over the past five years he has competed in the St. George Marathon. Melissa Chandler, 40, of West Valley City, won the women’s handcycle division with a time of 1:28.01.

The race’s official results page online showed that 4,700 runners had finished the course by 2 p.m., or the seven-hour mark. Click here for complete searchable results.

Editor’s note: due to an error that was initially posted in the marathon’s results page, an earlier version of this article said that Travis Wood, rather than Christopher Sproule, had taken first in the handcycle division. The article has been updated with the correct information, and the caption of the photo of Sproule has also been corrected.

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

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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