LDS Church
A view of Carthage Jail in Carthage, Illinois.

NAUVOO, Illinois — A new 26.2 mile marathon footrace will begin at 6 a.m. on Saturday, May 27, in Nauvoo and finish in the nearby town of Carthage, commemorating the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, on June 27, 1844.

This will be the inaugural running of the Road to Carthage Marathon, according to event director Chris Chauncey.

In addition, a half marathon and a five-person, 26.2 mile relay run are also planned to coincide with the marathon, he said in a news release.

The top finishers of the marathon will be awarded $5,000 in prize money. All who finish the event will receive a finisher’s medallion, and top overall and age bracket finishers will receive an award. The award ceremony will begin with a post-race barbecue later Saturday, May 27, according to the news release.

The race will begin in front of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple, progress through the streets of Historic Nauvoo for the first two miles, and proceed south on Illinois Highway 96. The half marathon will end in Hamilton at the 13.1 mile point.

“The marathon course was made to follow, as closely as possible, the back roads that were taken by the two brothers and their companions on horseback in 1846,” the race director said. “It’s the road taken by Joseph and Hyrum Smith, who were requested to present themselves at the Carthage Jail on June 25, 1846.”

They were murdered by a mob that stormed the jail the next day.

Events during the weekend of the race include a fireside given by Glenn Rawson, host of a television documentary series covering LDS Church history, a concert performance by musical trio Gentri, and a presentation from motivational speaker Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, whose story as a Notre Dame football player in 1975 was told in the feature film “Rudy.”

Chauncey said the weekend was chosen because it coincides with the opening of the tourist season in Nauvoo and performances by the Young Performing Missionaries who are called by the LDS Church to perform in Historic Nauvoo during the summer.

For information, see roadtocarthagemarathon.com.

Email: rscott@deseretnews.com