The 2014 fair was up and running with an early start on Saturday, July 26, with the fourth annual Morgan Valley Marathon. Ninety-nine marathon, 252 half marathon and 86 10K runners, along with a sea of 5K runners, tested their endurance on the courses around Morgan County.
The Morgan Valley Marathon boasts clean air and beautiful skies. This year that status was threatened with the massive Tunnel Hollow Fire still smoldering miles away. Fortunately the air was clear and the views were stunning for runners who traveled across the country, one even from Tokyo. The weather was exceptionally hot but the runners were taken care of with misters, aide stations and two very cute girls near the end of the race with squirt guns.
While many runners came from afar to participate in the marathon, many came from our hometown.
Janet Thornton began running five years ago and her first race was not what others typically start out with: a half marathon. Since that first race Thornton has continued running and has made it a family event.
“Even if it is ‘forced family fun’ a family that plays together stays together,” Thornton explains. This is her third year running the Morgan Half Marathon and she was very excited that everything aligned to have all seven members of her family run together. “We do it for the picture at the end.” Not too many 12- and 14-year-olds have the stamina and endurance to run a half marathon. Thornton’s sons not only ran the distance, they also placed first and second in their division. Talon had a chip time of 1 hour 54 minutes and Gage was right behind him with a 1 hour 56 minute finish.
“We look forward to it every year,” Thornton said. “It’s the funnest race I’ve ever run.”
Thornton said she enjoys participating in an event on the same roads she regularly runs and she is not alone. Many others find satisfaction running around our beautiful valley on race day.
One dedicated runner has never had the opportunity to run the course on race day. Tara Low has ran many marathons but has not been able to run during the event because she is one of the organizers for the Morgan Valley Marathon. Her passion for running is evident to those who know her. She is genuinely happy for everyone who crosses that finish line from the first to the last, from 5K to full marathon. She is happy to know that the race she helps host makes a difference and is something good for those who participate. “It’s a lot of work and a lot of time, but it makes a difference,” Low said.
“There is nothing like your first marathon,” Low said, happy for several friends and neighbors who finished their first marathon on Saturday.
After three years of watching hundreds of runners cross the finish line and a fourth year fast approaching, she determined she was going to run the course. Low decided, “I can’t do it on Marathon Day. I will do it two days before!”
While she has ran the streets that make up the course at different times, she said she had never ran them as a full marathon course.
She put her running shoes on and became the first person to run the course in 2014 two days before the finish line was even put in place. She said it was a little lonely, but some of her friends ran portions with her to keep her company. She didn’t have any of the aide stations that the Morgan Valley Marathon is known for.
“It’s the feeling that they get. They didn’t get that anywhere else,” Low said of the feedback they receive of their aide stations.
Morgan Valley Marathon has many great sponsors that make the race and kick off to the fair possible. Holcim has been particularly supportive. “Without them we could not have done this the last four years!”
Congratulations to all of those who accomplished their goal and completed a run in the Morgan Valley Marathon.