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For nine years, runners from around the world have laced up their sneakers and hit the asphalt of West Sedona to compete in the annual Sedona Marathon.

The modern-day marathon is a 26.2-mile race that traces its history to ancient Greece. After the 10,000-strong citizen army of Athens defeated a Persian landing force of 25,000 on the shores of Marathon in 490 B.C. and burned their ships to the waterline, Pheidippides the courier ran 26.2 miles across the rocky terrain to Athens proclaiming “Nikomen!” — “We have won!” then collapsed and died.Athletes young and old will run one of four races, anywhere from a short 5 kilometers to a full marathon of 26.2 miles — or 42.195 kilometers — on Saturday, Feb. 2.

 

The ninth year of the marathon marks the third year its production is run by the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, led by chamber President and CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff, who is also the race director.

 

The chamber scrambled in 2012, taking the race over just in time to save it from demise when the former race organizer announced she wouldn’t be producing a marathon that year. Seeing the need for a winter event and the thousands of tax dollars the race brings to Sedona, the chamber stepped in and ran with it.

Managing Editor Christopher Fox Graham has said he only runs when being chased by something with sharp teeth or horns.The event not only brings in hundreds of runners from around the country, but hundreds of residents from Sedona and the Verde Valley run solo, in groups or as families. Students from our local middle school and high school track teams pit themselves against the course to see if they have the passion and commitment to run the 5K, 10K, half-marathon and even the full marathon.

Many participants are running to simply participate in a community event while others are challenging only a single person, themselves.

This week, I have joked with my staff that I only run when being chased by something with sharp teeth or horns, but I appreciate the effort to push one’s body to its limits as well as the history of the race itself: According to Greek history, after the 10,000-strong citizen army of Athens defeated a Persian landing force of 25,000 on the shores of Marathon in 490 B.C. and burned their ships to the waterline, Pheidippides the courier ran 26.2 miles across the rocky terrain to Athens proclaiming “Nikomen!” — “We have won!” then collapsed and died.

Whether a runner completes a marathon first, or in record time, or even comes in dead last — they have still run a marathon, an achievement few of us can say we’ve accomplished in our lives.

After racing in the 13.1-mile half-marathon, 10K run and 5K run, crossing the finish line feels like victory.

To capture all the glory of our modern-day marathon, sports reporter George Werner and photojournalists Jordan Reece and Zack Garcia will be along the race route shooting photos and getting quotes for newspapers we’ll publish along with all the results on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

The Sedona Red Rock News wishes good luck to all the runners. Both locals on the sidelines and those in the race welcome runners and friends who made the trip to our city for the Sedona Marathon. We hope you enjoy your visit in red rock country and don’t forget to look up every so often at the beauty that surrounds you.

When you cross the finish line of your races Saturday, remember “Nikomen!”

Christopher Fox Graham

Managing Editor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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