ST. GEORGE — A St. George man made this year’s Snow Canyon Half Marathon one for the books.
Josh Conner broke the Guinness World Record for fastest completion time over a half-marathon distance dressed as a rancher. Conner was among nearly 2,300 participants who ran in the Snow Canyon Half Marathon, beginning the 13.1-mile run in the brisk November air Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
The previously held record was just over 1 hour and 51 minutes, which Conner bested by coming across the finish line, lasso in hand, at around 1 hour and 36 minutes.
Conner was joined by two other runners who recorded every step of the way as evidence for Guinness World Record officials. His outfit, right down to the red handkerchief wrapped around his neck, was outlined in a list of expectations he had to meet in order to break the world record.
In January, Conner came to the decision to try for the record while sitting in his dentist’s office waiting room and flipping through a Guinness Book of World Records.
“I was flipping through it, and I got to this one at the bottom, and it said ‘fastest half-marathon dressed as a cowboy,'” Conner said. “I looked at the time, and I was like, ‘I can do that.'”
The local long-distance runner said he prepares for races with the mindset of “nothing new on race day.” In the weeks leading up to the race, Conner ran in his cowboy attire, getting himself used to the over 9 lbs. of additional weight and limited mobility he would be expected to endure on the day of the race.
Just days before, however, he became sick. Conner told St. George News that illness made it more difficult than he anticipated throughout the race. After weeks of training and pushing his body, his body wasn’t cooperating.
Immediately after the race, Conner hugged friends and family who were present to show their support, collapsing onto Snow Canyon High School’s football field while he tried to catch his breathe and collect himself. After a few minutes, Conner was back up, taking pictures with supporters and biting into a maple donut the size of his head.
Despite the race itself being over, and Conner’s time solidified, the world record isn’t his just yet.
“It’s a pretty time consuming, tedious process,” he said.
Before the world record can become official, Conner has to submit witness statements, a signature from the race’s director, and video and photographic evidence that he completed the entire race within the parameters Guinness set forth. Officials will then review all submitted evidence during a 12-week process before Conner will hear if everything meets the criteria.
Conner said he has considered attempting to break more world records in the future, depending on the outcome of the Guinness World Records’ investigation.
“I want to get some other running friends to join in,” Conner said. “There’s a lot of records that are beyond my grasp.”
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