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Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Brett Hales talks about winning the Deseret News half-marathon race at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, July 24, 2013.

SALT LAKE CITY — For the first time since the inaugural run in 1970, the Deseret News Pioneer Day Classic offered a half-marathon run this year.

In total, 900 runners — 509 women and 391 men — embarked on a 13.1-mile trek down Emigration Canyon Wednesday and battled the elements of a 1,600-foot drop in elevation before finally reaching the finish line at Liberty Park.

Amid 10K runners piling up at the end, two Ogden High and Weber State graduates finished separated by one minute to sweep first and second in the men's half-marathon and claim $1,000 and $500 awards.

Brett Hales, who graduated from Ogden in 2005 and later walked on at Weber State, crossed the mats with a winning time of 1:05:12.0. Riley Cook, who graduated from Ogden in 1999 and ran beside Hales at WSU, finished shortly after in 1:06:25.8.

“Once I was graduated, it was like, ‘This has become a part of me. This is a big part of my life,’” Hales said. “(I) wanted to keep running, so this was kind of in the sights this year. I’ve got to give credit to Riley because living out in Ogden — we’re Ogdenites. He was the one who kind of spearheaded all of the workouts from January on, so if it wasn’t for him I don’t think I’d be running like this right now.”

“I just saw our high school coach waving to me, so I’m sure he’s really proud of that,” Cook added after motioning Hales to rejoice together after the race. “ … I feel good now that I’ve had a few minutes to recover. I’m happy with it. It was a good race. Brett is a tough competitor, so I knew it would be really hard coming in to win.”

Fritz Van De Kamp, Trevor Baker, Benjamin Van Beekum, Kevin Smith, Brick Bergeson, Taylor Monson, Erich Olschewski and Matthew Christensen completed the top 10 male runners.

For Cook, training with another runner helped prepare him to run this specific half-marathon for the first time.

“We would try to do 8 miles just barely slower than what we planned to run in half-marathons — kind of closer to what we’d run in a marathon pace,” Cook explained. “We were doing those once a week, and then some speed work on another day. It’s a lot of easier when you can get guys to train with you, so you don’t have to do it by yourself — especially in those winter months.”

In the women's division, Taylorsville’s Emily Jameson finished with a winning time of 1:16:24.5, ahead of Kassi Harmon’s time of 1:16:52.7.

Christiana Perry, Natalie Shields, Emily Rich, Laura Young, Angie Beebe, Taralyn Summers, Allison Anderson and Tiffany Coleman rounded out the top 10 female runners.

See the full results for all 900 runners

Top 10 female finishers:

1. Emily Jameson (35) Taylorsville, 1:16:24.5

2. Kassi Harmon (30) Salt Lake City, 1:16:52.7

3. Christina Perry (31) Cottonwood Heights, 1:17:07.1

4. Natalie Shields (19) Salt Lake City, 1:19:15.8

5. Emily Rich (18) South Jordan, 1:21:57.7

6. Laura Young (19)South Jordan, 1:21:57.9

7. Angie Beebe (34) South Weber, 1:22:48.7

8. Taralyn Summers (31) Bountiful, 1:22:58:8

9. Allison Andersen (39) West Haven, 1:23:49:9

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10. Tiffany Coleman (27) Midway, 1:28:00.1

Top 10 male finishers:

1. Brett Hales (26) Midvale, 1:05:12.0

2. Riley Cook (32) South Weber, 1:06:25.8

3. Fritz Van De Kamp (33) Salt Lake City, 1:07:44.5

4. Trevor Baker (26) South Jordan, 1:11:28.2

5. Benjamin Van Beekum (29) Harrisville, 1:12:05.8

6. Kevin Smith (28) Salt Lake City, 1:12:09.1

7. Brick Bergeson (36) Bountiful, 1:12:29.7

8. Taylor Monson (27) Ogden, 1:12:47.0

9. Erich Olschewski (18) West Jordan, 1:13:56.8

10. Matthew Christensen (42) Portland, Ore., 1:14:47.3

Email: tphibbs@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @TPhibbsDNews