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Annual races now just 6 weeks away

It might seem hard to believe with all of Utah's recent wet weather, but the 30th annual Deseret News/Granite Furniture Marathon and 16th annual 10K races are just six weeks away.

The July 24 events, being coordinated for the fifth straight year by the Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation Department, are now taking early-bird registrations via the Internet, even while months of preparations are starting to culminate for Utah's premier running events.Scott Kerr of Salt Lake County Parks and Rec is the race director. His volunteer committee of more than 25 has been meeting since January to assemble the many components necessary for race day.

"We say it every year, but there are so many hundreds of hours of work for each of these individuals in advance of the races that the public and the participants can't even comprehend," Kerr stated. "Just as the runners spend many weeks and months in training for these races, our committee spends weeks and months going over every moment of the events."

As an example, there are volunteers who review the course routes regularly, who coordinate the start and finish line areas, the aid stations along the race routes, communication for medical and emergency teams, transportation of runners from Liberty Park to the top of Emigration Canyon for the marathon and to Research Park for the 10K. Added to those areas are activities and ceremonies held at Liberty Park once the races conclude, and it makes for a huge synchronization of efforts by literally hundreds of volunteers.

This year's races feature increased prize money, with Master's category prizes for runners over 40 for first through third place.

This year also marks the third anniversary of the 5K Non-Competitive Walk, an event added for families, corporate staffs or individuals.

Runners can register right now by contacting Race Information Online at www.desnews.com/run/.

Registration forms will also be available later this month at all Granite Furniture locations along the Wasatch Front, and at Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation.