11:50 am, a thunderstorm had just rolled into Logan minutes before, drenching and cooling off the runners and fans scattered and stretched along all of the Top of Utah Marathon course. Fans had accumulated in heavy numbers along the last 200 yards of the finish line to cheer on their family and friends with screams and cowbells. By this time runner #2801 was making her last turn leading to the finish line, mustering the final ounce of strength needed to get herself across the last of the 26.2 mile course.
Stephanie’s goal of competing in a marathon started several years ago. She strove to complete it with daily running at 24 hr Fitness, regularly running on Saturdays with her “running buds”, and competing in several half marathons (Salt Lake City Half twice, Bryce Canyon Half, and most recently last month the Provo Half). On September 20th the day finally came.
Our journey with Stephanie started on Friday by driving up to Tremonton where we stayed in the Hampton Inn (no room left in the other inns). Stephanie, her sister Caryn and running friend Paula, along with several hundred other nervous and anxious runners started the next morning early around (5:30 am) getting on board a host of school buses which would take them to up Blacksmith Fork Canyon to Hardware Ranch. It would be the host of the start of the 10th annual Top of Utah Marathon. The race would wind them down the canyon for 14 miles emptying them out into Hyrum.
At mile 14 we caught up with Steph and her sister Caryn as they came out of the canyon at about 9:30. We (Darrin and Jenn, the girls, and Mom Collard) all cheered them on as they cruised past, all smiles with just over 12 more to go.
We then gathered up our things and planned to meet up with them around mile 20. While driving out we surprisingly met up with them along the road as we drove past them still going strong.
After we cheered them again at mile 20, with only 5 miles to go, the course entered into
10:30am we arrived at the finish line, greeted by a fierce rainstorm that slammed the area for just a few moments. But as quickly as came, the sun came out just in time for the finish. Steph recalled that the burst of rain was really nice, and cooled them off as they neared the end.
As we looked down the line of runners turning the corner for the final stretch, at 11:54, we saw Steph pushing forward at a steady pace. She said that after 26 miles, pain throbbing through her legs, she was giving everything to get across the line. I’m told it’s the type of pain that only marathoners experience at the end that the rest of us can only imagine by the anguish and strain of the faces of the runners.
As we all screamed her name Steph gave a few waves and a smile as she ran by and crossed the finish line under the 5 hour mark. Having started several minutes after the gun, we estimate her finish time to be around 4 hours and 50 minutes (She said that her goal was just to finish).
Through all of the aches, pains and blisters, her dedication to consistent training carried her all the way to the finish line. She is now among an elite group that can say they have completed the intense 26.2 mile race known as the marathon.
Great job Steph!
Darrin & Jenn wrote on our car. (more photos will be posted later)