Smiles, laughs and hugs — some sweatier than others — were in high supply at this year’s Provo City Marathon Saturday.
The race, put on by organizers Run 13, is one of Provo’s new summer traditions and also includes a half-marathon, a “Kids’ Marathon” and a “Chase The Mayor” 5K.
“It’s an event that’s more than just a run,” said Melissa Gehring, who is in charge of race registration. “It’s an experience. Everybody wants to share their stories with you and it just becomes a fun thing we look forward to every year.”
Gehring, 33, from Provo, is married to one of Run 13’s founders, Jeff Gehring. Run 13 hosts races all over Utah, but Melissa Gehring said Provo’s is special.
“This was our first run — our first love,” she said. “Both of [Run 13’s] founders are from Provo/Orem and are BYU grads, so this race has always meant a lot to us.”
It certainly meant a lot to Mike Acton, an 11-year-old from Lindon who also ran in the 5K.
“I like to run,” Acton said. “This is my fourth time running a 5K. Running is something that I want to do when I grow up.”
Although Acton decided to run the 5K with the grown-ups, many children were able to run in the Kids Marathon. Over 75 kids, from six to thirteen years old, logged 25 miles of running in the weeks leading up to Saturday’s event. They then ran the last 1.2 miles down University Avenue to complete their marathon run, receiving a marathon finisher’s medal as they crossed the finish line.
Several families took on the challenge of a marathon together. Aisha Keala and her mother April Murnin make running a mother-daughter tradition. They have run in 13 races together, including four marathons, in the past three years.
“We run marathons together. This is just a pre-race for the Ogden Marathon next week,” Keala said.
The Ogden Marathon is a 13-year tradition, compared to Provo’s event, which has only been in place since 2008. But Keala said she enjoyed the scope of the new race.
“I really like the Provo City Marathon,” April said. “It’s not too big; it’s not too small. It’s pretty running through the canyon and it’s a hometown race where you end up seeing old friends.”
Nathan Summers spent his day, not in the canyons, but in front of a computer inside a race trailer.
“I’ve timed the Provo City Marathon for the last five years,” Summers said. “I like this race because they don’t just finish and go home–they finish and then hang out. Run 13 has really tried to make it a family event.”
Lorien “LoLo” Brinkman-Bouche, who worked as a disc jockey at the marathon, has plenty of experience playing for sporting events, but said nothing feels quite the same as a marathon.
“I love runners. I love their energy,” Brinkman-Bouche said. “Runners are just happy people.”