Local Ogden Marathon runners share their stories
Photo supplied, Ian Cox
Over the last 20 years, the Ogden Marathon has changed the community and the lives of its participants.
When Jeff Furton moved to Ogden in the early 2000s from his tight-knit community in Michigan, the city was on the verge of something great. Furton believed a world-class marathon would help revitalize the city.
Now, 20 years later, thousands of runners have finished the beautiful course and keep coming back every year. Furton believes it is because of community members’ hard work.
“The Ogden Marathon has shown the world what a dedicated community can accomplish. I believe that we have attracted a lot of national events because of how well the GOAL Foundation markets and executes the marathon rain or shine. The amazing volunteers that bring the contagious energy are the true backbone of the spirit of this event,” said Furton, a current GOAL Foundation board member.
The first-place winners were Riley Cook (men’s division) and Janel Zick (women’s division). Each received a $1,100 cash prize. Kevin Lambert and Christina Perry received second place and a $550 cash prize. The third-place winners were Adam Behrendt and Julie Meads, each receiving a $275 prize.
Photo supplied, Ian Cox
In the Marathon Masters Division (ages 40+), winners were Brian Lifferth and AnnMarie Wilson for first place, each receiving a $275 prize. Second place went to Jason Howe and Tomya Froerer, receiving a $150 prize. Third place went to Mark Stephens and Kim Kapinos, receiving a $75 cash prize. Each of the winners received a commemorative plaque.
A total of 5,600 people ran in all of the stages of the marathon. A person who ran the half marathon is Sharae Frankie, a 31-year-old photographer from Hooper. She says Ogden is her favorite run.
“It’s beautiful, well organized and the people helping out are incredibly sweet,” Frankie said.
She chose to run this year in honor of her twin brother who passed away almost three years ago.
“We were supposed to run it together. I’m excited to run it for him this year,” Frankie said.
Another person who completed the half-marathon (13.1 miles) was Autumn Jeppson, a 43-year-old teacher and current graduate student from West Jordan. She ran the full 26.2 miles in the spring of 2011.
“It was mentally difficult to finish it, rather than physical. I put the training in and was prepared, but mentally I had never run that far before and hit the wall hard around mile 23. I remember getting texts from my friends encouraging each other in our various places on the course. But that last mile seemed to stretch on forever. It was hot. I was tired but I saw the finish line and my sweet little kids cheering me on. I was so happy and proud of myself that I finished,” she said.
Another person running the 26.2 miles was Rebecca Warnes, a sixth grade teacher at Valley Elementary School in Eden. This was her third full marathon but she’s run the half marathon with her family as a tradition.
“Fifteen years and going strong. Rain or shine. We’ve all lived in the valley for a few generations. It’s easy to curse the disruption to traffic when there are events but it’s much more fun to join them. Volunteer. Run. Cheer. It sure brings people together,” said Warnes.
Finishing this year was an incredible feat for Warnes as she faced some setbacks along the way. Last December, Warnes was in a terrible snowmobiling accident that broke her ribs and dislocated her sternum.
“I finally regained my lung capacity at the end of January, then I redoubled my training efforts. I was feeling pretty good about my progress, but don’t ever get too confident,” she said.
Warnes planned to run the marathon with her husband, Brody. But on Friday, May 6, everything changed when they went for a “quick” 5-mile training run after work.
A fast-paced trip in spiky trail runners on a treacherous route in the trail put them in the ER for the next six hours. An MRI at midnight revealed Brody had severed his hamstring.
“We never should have gone. He never saw it coming,” said Warnes.
The Warneses went from specialist to specialist, but each declined to perform the complicated surgery required to fix Brody’s leg. Eventually, they found a doctor willing to provide the surgery but in New York City.
Despite everything going on, Warnes pulled herself together and completed the marathon on Saturday. “I thought about throwing in the towel, but I felt supported by the GOAL Foundation organizers and a couple thousand other fellow runners in our gorgeous Ogden Valley. I wanted to complete it for my husband,” she said.
Learn more about GOAL Foundation’s other signature events and ways to be involved at getoutandlive.org.