I didn’t necessarily have an expectation of my time because the course was changed, so I just wanted to hold up throughout the race. I wanted to win, but you never know who is going to show up, so the fact that I did, I was really happy about that. —Fritz Van De Kamp
SALT LAKE CITY — From first-time winners to injury comebacks to marriage proposals, the 11th annual Salt Lake City Marathon had it all.
More than 6,500 participants took to the sunny, downtown streets of Salt Lake City to compete in a 5K, half marathon and marathon Saturday morning, and by the end of the day, there wasn’t much participants hadn’t seen.
Fritz Van De Kamp, a Salt Lake City resident, was the first person to cross the finish line in the marathon, with a time of 2 hours, 28 minutes, 18 seconds.
“I didn’t necessarily have an expectation of my time because the course was changed, so I just wanted to hold up throughout the race,” Van De Kamp said. “I wanted to win, but you never know who is going to show up, so the fact that I did, I was really happy about that.”
Van De Kamp has won plenty of marathons in his life, around 10 to be exact, but missed last year’s Salt Lake City Marathon due to an injury, making his first-place finish that much more special.
“I was injured last year, so I wasn’t able to run, unfortunately, and the last marathon I ran in December I really fell apart,” Van De Kamp said. “So I just really wanted to run strong through the end, and I’m just really happy that I was able to pull it out.”
Second-place finisher Bret Ferrier, a resident of Ogden, could definitely relate to Van De Kamp’s excitement as he placed in his first time competing in a marathon with a time of 2:32:22.
“I really just wanted to stay relaxed because it was my first (marathon), and I didn’t want to tank at the end,” Ferrier said. “I would have liked to be under 2:30, but then again, I think second place for your first marathon is pretty good, so I’m happy about that.”
Jason Howe, also a resident of Salt Lake City, finished with a personal-best time of 2:42:38 to take home the third-place trophy.
“I was hoping to finish under 2:45, so I was happy with my time of 2:42,” said Howe. “I came in third place, which is never a goal for me, I just try to compete with myself, but I was really happy with my performance.”
Melanie Burnham of Sat Lake City was the first woman to cross the finish line with a time of 3:02:55, while training buddies Kim Taylor and Jane Durfey finished just a half second apart (3:15:31, 3:15:31.5) to take home second and third place.
“I’ve been sick coming up through the week, so I wasn’t quite sure what was going to happen today,” Burnham said. “I almost took the half marathon instead, but I stuck it out and did the full. I was just so happy to be here today.”
Taylor and Durfey were pleased with their finish in their first time competing in the Salt Lake City Marathon.
“I loved it, it was so much fun,” Durfey said. “Kim and I are training partners, so we just ran it together. I was happy with my performance, it was just kind of a run for fun, but I was happy with the outcome.”
When Kelsey Belnap of Pocatello, Idaho, crossed the finish line with a time of 4:48:19, her beau, Taylor Curtis, patiently waited for his longtime girlfriend with a huge surprise.
Curtis presented Belnap with an engagement ring and a huge question: “Will you marry me?”
Belnap happily said yes.
Patrick Smyth of Salt Lake City took first in the men’s half marathon with a time of 1:06:02 while Mario Macias of Boulder, Colo,, (1:06:42) and Brett Hales of Ogden (1:07:50) followed up in second and third place, respectively.
In the women’s half marathon, Allie Moore of Salt Lake City won with a time of 1:21:26. Emma Garrard of Park City (1:21:57) placed second and Jenny Sperry of Murray (1:22:12) placed third.
Jacob Gustafsson and Kelli Holiday won the men’s and women’s 5K with times of 16:43 and 21:17, respectively.
Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications and has been a part-time sportswriter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since October 2012.
Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724