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Running enthusiasts conquer St. George marathon

Article Date: 
11 October, 2013 (All day)

Mountain Green resident Rosy Lee was the first woman to cross the finish line at this year’s St. George marathon.  Not only did she take home a first place win, but she was also inducted into the St. George Marathon Road of Fame. 
This was Lee’s fifth time running in the St. George marathon.  She finished in the top six in four of her five finishing times. She is one of only nine runners to accomplish that feat. Her first race was in 1998.  The next year, Lee finished so well in the St. George marathon, it allowed her to compete in the Olympic trials and qualified her to race in a sister race in Japan.  
Lee jokingly said, “I say I am going to quit after every race,” but she never does.  Lee took some time off to raise her family, but came back strong in 2011 with her first overall win.  Her most recent win came after having a baby only nine short months ago.  This year her win fell just seconds over the all time record.
“This one felt much better than the last win.  My mental prep was better this time. The 2011 race was agony,” said Lee.  She commented that this year there was a nice tail wind and everything went as planned.  Lee had amazing support at this race; her whole family came down to cheer her on and even her coach was there via internet.  “It was a great feeling to have a whole cheering section there for me.”
Rosy is a great example to the kids she coaches as she still holds the state high school record in both the 3200 meter race and the 1600 meter race. 
Getting the chance to run the St. George marathon is not always guaranteed.  The first year you sign up, you automatically get in, but after that it is decided by a lottery.  Local dentists Joe and Jess Hopkin were lucky enough to get in this year as well.  
The brothers started running together years ago.  They would run the Deseret News 10K on Pioneer Day with a big group of friends every year.  One year Joe suggested that they try a marathon, so together with Nate Murdock they signed up for the Top of Utah marathon.  
“Jess loves the Morgan Valley Marathon and the St. George marathon more than any others he has run,” said his wife Camille.  “The first year he was automatically in and the second year he wasn’t chosen and was so disappointed,” continued Camille.  This prompted Jess to begin running a club called the Grand Slam.  This club shows runners what races to run to assure placement in the St. George marathon.  He won’t have to go that route after next year, as you are automatically in after your 10th St. George marathon, but he probably will because now he “just loves it.”
In April Jess ran at least one marathon a week.  Recently he ran three races in three weeks:  Top of Utah, Huntsville and then St. George. This was Jess’ 61st marathon, edging him closer to his goal of 100.  
Running enthusiast Tara Low is one of Jess’ biggest supporters and left a big congratulatory banner on his garage spelling out the actual number of miles Jess has run so far.  He has inspired many family members and friends.  One year Camille ran every 5K that was attached to a marathon Jess was participating in.
Jess signed up for a 50 mile run that begins at Kent Smith Park at the end of October, so everyone come out and cheer him on!