SALT LAKE CITY – Utah runners now have one more reason to lace up those shoes and train. Dolphin Events, the same Utah-based company that invested in the Ragnar Relay series (owner of Wasatch Back) will produce Salt Lake City’s third marathon of the year.
With US Road Sports hoping to revitalize the nine-year-old Salt Lake Marathon on April 21 and the Deseret News Marathon running through Salt Lake City on July 24, Dolphin officials chose to offer the first annual Utah Marathon and Fittest State Festival on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012.
It’s just a week after the St. George Marathon, which sells out and uses a lottery system to determine entries. Organizers of the Utah Marathon are hoping to offer something unique to runners – and even would-be runners. Organizers plan to offer a Marathon, Half-marathon, 5K and kids race and bike tour as part of the Utah Marathon and Fittest State Festival. There is a possibility they will add a relay event to the marathon next year.
“I think we’re shooting for a very different experience,” said Ken Jacquin, founder of Dolphin Events. “We want it to be really festive, focused on people having a great time, sort of Ragnaresque. We believe that’s where running is going.”
The event won’t be just a race, and Jacquin said they’re hoping to entice anyone hoping to improve their health to participate in the events that will include a post-race party affectionately being referred to as “Fitstock.”
“Our hope is that we engage the whole community,” Jacquin said. “There is going to be a big focus on getting everyone, even non-runners, involved.”
He said he hopes the April Salt Lake Marathon improves and becomes an asset to the local running community, as well, but Dolphin’s focus is offering something unique and far-reaching that will improve the health of locals.
Jacquin said Dolphin officials have considered staging a local marathon for more than a year. And after Scott Kerr resigned as race director for the Salt Lake Marathon in October, they decided they had the expert leadership they needed to make it happen. Kerr will act as the race director and CEO of the event.
Originally they’d hoped to offer these events in April, but Salt Lake City officials didn’t want any other marathon-type events within three weeks of the original marathon.
So Kerr and Jacquin said they spent a lot of time talking to community members and race directors and opted to go with the fall date, instead.
Kerr said it was critically important to them that they had the support of community organizations and municipalities when choosing the date.
Jacquin said they like the idea of allowing people – especially first-time distance runners – ample training time to join the fun.
“We think it’s a great time of year to have an event,” Jacquin said. “The weather should be great, people should have a lot of time to train for it and it will highlight the best sights of Salt Lake City.”
Kerr said they have a proposed course, and they have submitted the necessary permits and received positive feedback from the city thus far. The course is almost completely different from the Salt Lake Marathon course.
“When we first designed the course, one of our priorities was to create a course that would incorporate all of the major landmarks Salt Lake City can offer,” Kerr said.
The proposed course starts at City Hall (400 S. State) and runs north near the Capitol Building and through Memory Grove. It will run through the Avenues, near Shriners, before heading south to the University of Utah’s campus. It will wind through campus, go past Hogle Zoo and eventually find it’s way to Foothill and then Parley’s Trail. It will travel through city neighborhoods (4500 South and 2000 East) and then head back down town to Library Square. There will be bleachers set up on 200 East so spectators can watch the finish and participate in the post-race festival (Fitstock).
Kerr, a 20-year veteran of the race business, said the course could be tweaked a little as they work with public safety official over the next couple of months.
When asked why he chose to get involved in another marathon in Utah’s capital city, Kerr said, “I can see that Salt Lake City really deserves a major, world-class event, and there is definitely room for it. It’s important, and I think with the backing of Dolphin Capital and the other community partnerships, we’re really going to be able to do something great.”