Ravell Call, Deseret News
Runners start the Salt Lake City Marathon, Saturday, April 20, 2013. This year, the Salt Lake City Marathon will prompt closures on portions of several streets on Friday, April 18, and Saturday, April 19.

SALT LAKE CITY — For the third straight year, the Salt Lake Marathon has a new course.

And for the third time in the race’s 12-year history, it has a new owner.

Lifetime Fitness took over the race from U.S. Road Sports, and it hopes its company's priorities will make the event one of the country’s most accessible and most popular.

“Our whole mission, as a company, is getting people to live healthy lifestyles,” said Keith Hughes, who oversees the marathon for Lifetime Fitness. “Our CEO is passionate about getting people involved in activities, getting families involved in eating healthier, living healthier.”

Lifetime Fitness said transforming the race into a marquee event for both locals and visitors will help them preach the power of healthy choices. The company owns about 150 events across the country.

“Athletic events are a way to expand the message,” Hughes said. “We realize there is a big health crisis in the country. … The solution is free — eat healthy, live a healthy lifestyle.”

He said having a goal like a 5K, half marathon or marathon helps people incorporate daily exercise into their routines.

Lifetime kept race director Steve Bingham, who was hired after U.S. Road Sports bought the race from its original owner, Chris Devine.

The new course highlights the historic and iconic neighborhoods in Salt Lake City, and it will finish on Library Square. In addition to the races — the marathon, half marathon and 5K — the bike tour remains, along with a kids race. There are discounts for families and team rates to encourage people to “bring a friend,” Hughes said.

“The goal is to grow this race nationally and internationally,” Hughes said. “Bring a friend that’s never done a race. Introduce them to it.”

The bike tour begins at 6 a.m., while the marathon and half marathon both begin at 7 a.m. The 5K will start at 7:10 a.m. The kids race will be at 10:45 a.m. There will be a number of activities and attractions for non-runners, most of them geared toward children. The activities are all free and include face painting, glitter tattoo, a magician and children’s entertainment.

The Quality of Life Expo will be held at EnergySolutions Arena on Friday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. With about 7,000 people expected in all of the races, there is an opportunity for last-minute participants to register. They can do so at the Expo Friday.

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