SALT LAKE CITY — Riley Cook took home first place in the Deseret News half-marathon, crossing the finish line just after 7 a.m. with a time of 1:03:47.4. It was the second first-place win in a row for Cook, who finished ‘tied for first’ in last year’s running.
Finishing second in the men’s division was Conner Mantz, with a time of 1:05:09.2, and rounding out the top three was Brett Hales, with a time of 1:06.22.4.
“It felt awesome. That’s the fastest time I’ve ever run, so I’m extremely, extremely happy with that. I was so tired the last few miles, and I just kept thinking, ‘I’ve already earned it for 11, don’t give it up for the last two,’” Cook said of his win.
Cook’s training for the half-marathon focused on trail running.
“This year has been a little bit different, I trained for a marathon, I ran a marathon in May, up in Ogden, and since then, I’ve been focusing on doing a lot of trail running, a lot of uphill speed work, which, surprisingly, has translated really well into this race today,” Cook said.
The hardest part of the race for Cook was the last three miles.
“Those last three miles, I was just holding on. I had gone out really quick, and I was probably a little too fast, and I was paying the price those last three, but I was able to hold on,” Cook said.
The former Weber State Wildcat made his move early in the race.
“I just wanted to kind of see where it was early on and if I felt like the other guys were tiring, make a move to try and take the lead,” Cook said.
Cook, who has been running in marathons since 2012, plans to run in the St. George Marathon in October, which will be his main focus in training.
In the women’s division, Cynthia Fowler set a personal record, winning the category with a time of 1:15:22.5. Ashleigh Warner finished second with a time of 1:16:12.1, and Ellie Child Worob placed third, crossing the finish line with a time of 1:17:16.6.
“It was so good. That was a (personal record) for me, so I was thrilled to run that time,” Fowler said.
Fowler got a lot of running practice in before Pioneer Day morning.
“I just tried to put in a lot of miles. That helps, higher mileage. I raced a half a month ago, and I think it helps to do some races in between, keeps you strong. I feel like it pushes you more than a normal workout would, so it’s good to race,” Fowler said.
The Farmington native, who has been running marathons since 2002, made her move at mile 11.
“I feel like the competition helps. I had two girls that I was trying to chase down the canyon and that pushes me more than anything, is having women in front of me to just go after it. At mile 11, I thought, ‘OK, I either need to go by this girl or just be content where I am. I’m just going to try,’ so I put it all out there and hoped I could hang on,” Fowler said.
The middle part of the race was the hardest for Fowler, as fatigue began to set in.Comment on this story
“Everything kind of starts setting in, like the blisters on your feet, you’re just tired from going at a pace that you don’t usually run,” Fowler said.
Fowler’s next big race will be the California International Marathon in December, which runs from Folsom to Sacramento.
“I’m going to do a couple half marathons leading up to that, maybe Top of Utah half or the SoJo half, I’m not sure. Some races before that, (California International Marathon). That’s my big race that I’m looking forward to,” Fowler said.