When the Deseret News/Granite Furniture Marathon and 10K races begin July 24, they will bring into the Salt Lake Valley some of the nation's top road racers. And in the years ahead, the list of those runners is likely to increase thanks to publication of a new national runners' guide.
The Ultimate Guide to Marathons will be published this fall by Marathon Publishers, Inc. of Sacramento. In the guide, more than 200 marathons are graded on a 10-point scale in several areas - including course beauty, difficulty, appropriateness for first timers and race organization. Overall, publishers Dennis Craythorn and Rich Hanna give the DesNews Marathon a 9.5 rating."When Brigham Young looked out over the Salt Lake Valley, he exclaimed, `This is the place,"'Craythorn writes. "When you run the Deseret News Marathon and lope down Emigrant Trail, you may very well agree."
Craythorn and Hanna are particularly impressed with the beauty of the DesNews course, pointing out the opportunity to see the sunrises over the Wasatch Mountains, the early morning shadows cast over a valley as it awakens and the cool temperatures and low humidity the race enjoys as it begins.
They're also quick to point out that this race can be difficult for first-time marathoners (it earned a 6.0 rating) but add that, "It is very doable for first-timers. The challenging course requires excellent fitness, and the heat as the race reaches its mid-point adds to the difficulty. But there are a number of aid stations to help you through it."
Two huge "attractions" which the publishers point out about the DesNews Marathon are a strong race organization, which has been embellished this year thanks to the coordinating effort of the Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation Department, and the fact that, "If you can finish in under four hours, you will be greeted by a huge crowd - about 200,000 strong -waiting for the start of the Days of '47 Parade.
"There aren't many races anywhere that can claim that kind of crowd at a finish line," Craythorn said. "When we were at last year's race, we were very impressed with how the crowd came alive as racers passed." Ease of registration and overall organization of the marathon also earned the praise of the publishers.
The 9.5 overall rating not only gives the marathon a boost in attracting more runners in the future but also the accompanying 10K, which Crayton and Hanna praise in their guide.
This year's event, presented as well by HealthRider and KSL NewsRadio 1160, is already attracting some first-time entrants from across the country and around the world. Registration can be accomplished at any Granite Furniture location along the Wasatch Front, at the Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation Department at 2001 S. State St., Suite S-4900, or at the Deseret News, 135 Regent St. Runners can also obtain information by calling 468-2560.
Each Tuesday between now and July 24, KSL NewsRadio 1160 will feature the races and some of their participants on "Sports Night" with Greg Wrubell from 7-9 p.m. And watch for more training tips and race features each week in the Deseret News sports section.