37th St. George Marathon launches Saturday

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Running a marathon is mind over matter, and it tests a runner’s endurance, strength and will.

The 37th St. George Marathon will be held Saturday. Runners will race to qualify for the world-renowned Boston Marathon, which will take place April 21.

Ross Decker, a math associate professor and cross-country assistant coach, has raced in the St. George Marathon 25 times.

“Completing a marathon is extremely fulfilling,” Decker said. “The skilled runners that I have coached are very motivated by testing their physical and psychological limits. Running a marathon can really do that.”

A marathon is 26.2 miles, and to qualify for the Boston Marathon, an 18 to 34-year-old male must run within three hours and five minutes. For the same age group, females must cross the finish line within three hours and 35 minutes.

David Holt, a Pine View High School history teacher and cross-country head coach, has qualified for the Boston Marathon.

“Boston is a lot of fun,” Holt said. “It’s a neat experience. There are a lot of people from St. George that qualify for Boston and go back there.”

Holt said he trains year-round, while others may train only three to four months ahead.

“I generally run around 100 miles a week,” Holt said.

According to www.stgeorgemarathon.com, the St. George Marathon was labeled the “Most Organized Marathon” in the country. 

“I love the volunteer help,” Decker said. “The support of the home crowd leaves you with a really good feeling for the quality of the St. George community.”

Running a marathon is a goal in itself, but many others have goals of their own. 

“I have never won my age group,” Decker said. “One year, I was nine seconds away. I guess you can say that I have a goal of winning my age group some year.”

Holt finished with a time of 2:29:53 in last year’s marathon and is always in good shape, thanks to being a cross country coach.

“One of my goals is a sub-two hours and 30 minutes,” said Holt. “Injury kind of set me back a little bit, but I think a sub 2:30 is a good possibility.”

The marathon begins at 6:45 Saturday.