It doesn’t matter how fit you are, running a marathon hurts. Those who participated in the 2011 St. George Marathon over the weekend found this to be true.
“I got a lot of good training in,” marathon winner John Kotter said. “But 26 miles never feels good.”
Kotter, a BYU law student and former BYU track and cross country athlete, completed the St. George Marathon in a winning time of 2:24:43. The marathon victory is Kotter’s second this year, along with the Deseret News Marathon he won in July.
Kotter ran with BYU exercise science professor Iain Hunter for the first 20 miles of the race. Hunter then suffered stomach cramping and fell back into fourth place, nearly five minutes behind Kotter. Kotter held off the remaining competitors for a two minute victory over Pepi Peterson from Hudson, Mass.
With the win, Kotter earned a week-long trip to Japan, a NordicTrack treadmill, $100 cash and a variety of other gifts and prizes.
Although elated at his victory, Kotter said he felt bad for Hunter, who was his training partner this summer in preparation for the race. Hunter, a former BYU track athlete himself, won the St. George Marathon two years ago.
Hunter said he had originally planned on not rerunning the race in 2012 but because of his disappointing finish will return and attempt to regain his title.
“Since this year didn’t go as well as I had hoped, I have some extra motivation to run it again next year,” he said. “I’ll take a little break to recover, but then I’ll get back to training hard and going after it again.”
Kotter, who is in his last year of law school, also has plans of defending his championship in 2012.
“I’d like to defend the title and run a little faster next year,” he said. “I want to run under 2:20. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
The fifth place finisher, Jordan Perry, is also a BYU student. Perry, a senior majoring in public health, finished just behind Hunter.
Kotter, Hunter and Perry all wore BYU uniforms to represent the school they love.
Perry, who never had the opportunity to run for the track or cross country team at BYU, enjoyed the experience of wearing the Cougars’ singlet.
“I’ve paid thousands of dollars of tuition, I’ve gone through my whole college career here, I thought I deserved to wear the BYU uniform,” Perry said. “It was really fun to represent the school in a way.”
For Hunter, the experience was nostalgic.
“It was great to wear a BYU uniform,” he said. “It was one of the most motivating parts of being out there. It brought me back to my freshman year, thinking about when I wore it for the first time. I love being at this school. It’s an exciting thing to be a part of.”
With the 2011 run still burning in his quads, Perry, along with Kotter and Hunter, hope to run the St. George Marathon again next year, setting up a rematch between the three BYU affiliates.
“Ideally we would have gone 1-2-3 in the BYU uniforms this year,” Perry said. “Maybe next year.”