Parowan half marathon continues despite recent floods, fire
By Craig Bennett
Iron County Today
Fire, floods and even road construction couldn’t stop the 7th annual Parowan City Half Marathon. The city of Parowan, a small city of roughly 3,000 people is the “Mother Town of Southern Utah” and hosts the annual event.
Event Director Jet Smith, said “the 70,000 plus-acre Brian Head fire, but more importantly the flooding afterwards did force a change to the race route.”
“The new starting line will be on SR 143 at mile marker 6, or better known as the chain-up area,” Smith said. “The route will also take runners farther around the town of Parowan, but the finish line will remain the same as previous years at the Iron County Fairgrounds.”
Smith said the participants took longer to register because of the fire and flooding.
“Mother Nature is more powerful than any of us, but the runners, as more information became available said they just wanted to run regardless of the course change,” she said.
Smith said that approximately 500 runners had pre-registered and she wanted to thank everyone.
“It’s been a tough year,” Smith said.
Saturday morning school buses started rolling about 5:30 to 6 a.m., taking half marathon participants from the Iron County Fairgrounds to the starting line at mile marker 6 on State Route 143. With something for all age groups, three different running and walking events took place starting at 7 a.m. The Rebel 5K race began at the Iron County Fairgrounds and finished at the same location.
Melissa Unger, with two of her children and husband from Las Vegas participated in the events.
“We ran our first Parowan Half Marathon in 2013,” Unger said. “This is the first year for the kids. My husband is doing the Half Marathon and I’m doing the 5K with the kids and we’re really excited to be here.”
Simultaneously, the half marathon also began at the same starting line. About 500 participants began the 13.1 mile run ending at the Iron County Fairgrounds.
First place went to Greg Harris from Cedar City.
“I wanted to get in another race before the St. George Marathon. I’ve always heard good things about the Parowan Half. I signed up just a few days ago,” Harris said. “Great organization, they did have to change the course last minute due to the flooding. I’ve never seen so many volunteers mark out a new course like that. It was great.”
He said he has run the St. George Marathon several times and always likes to get a few half marathons in during the summer prior to the marathon in the fall.
In the women’s division, first place went to another Cedar City resident, Diana Mitchell.
“Ive run this course before and I loved it. This year was a little more challenging,” Mitchell said. It was still beautiful and a great race.”
Mitchell, a former SUU track athlete, said the last of the course was a lot flatter and then began a gradual uphill as compared to the previous year.
“That’s what made it tough,” she said.
The morning finished up with the Yankee Doodle Dash Children’s race, which began at 10 a.m. The race took place at the Iron County Fairgrounds parking lot and was approximately 100 yards long.