The annual St. George Marathon is set for its 43rd run Saturday morning

The annual St. George Marathon is set for its 43rd run Saturday morning, and entrants in the 2020 race will have the option to run a half-marathon.

According to a press release issued by the city of St. George, the marathon is the city’s signature event, having received accolades for a variety of superlatives, including the course itself and the enthusiasm of its more than 1,000 volunteers.

“The marathon would not be the event it has become without the efforts and support of our great community — from the participants, to our City staff and especially the volunteers,” Leisure Service Director Shane McAffee said. “The marathon is such a beautiful reflection of our scenery and the great people that reside here.”

The event officially begins Friday with the Marathon Expo at the Dixie Convention Center. It is free for the public to attend and where runners pick up their packets. The booths, free samples, photo opportunities and keynote speakers combine to kickstart to the weekend.

At Vernon Worthen Park, the “Marathon Fun Walk Run n’ Roll” events begin at 6 p.m. Friday. Children ages 3-12 or anyone with special needs are invited to participate. After the event, (200-meter or 1-mile distances), everyone is invited to celebrate with a party in the park that will go until 8 p.m.

On the morning of the marathon, Mayor Jon Pike will lead hundreds of participants in the traditional Mayor’s Walk. The approximate 2-mile walk begins at Sandtown Park and ends at Vernon Worthen Park, where scones are provided by the Exchange Club of St. George.

“The whole day is just a wonderful tradition and a great citywide celebration,” Pike said.

Starting next year, there will be a half-marathon called the St. George 13.1. During this year’s Expo, interested runners can lock in the lowest rate for the 2020 St. George 13.1 — $60.

“We’ve noticed throughout the years that marathon runners receive a lot of support from their families. The option of a half marathon may encourage more participation within the family who are already in — or plan to be in — St. George that weekend,” said Michelle Graves, race director and deputy director of arts and events for the city of St. George. “You need not be a participant in this year’s marathon to sign up for the St. George 13.1 — but that $60 rate is only good for the day of the Expo.”

posted Tuesday October 1st