Sports Stories

A record number of runners participated in the 12th annual Sedona Marathon Event on Saturday Feb. 4, according to organizers.

Some 3,093 participants ran either the 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon distances, said Jennifer Wesselhoff, president and CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, which handles the event.

Sedona Mayor Sandy Moriarty blew the horn to set off the 243 marathon runners at 9 a.m.

Michael Carson, marathon winner, charges in, giving it his all to finish strong at the Sedona Marathon Event on Saturday, Feb. 4.
Two hours, 52 minutes and 55 seconds later, the top male finisher, Michael Carson, 30, of Tempe, crossed the finish line.

Jake Suss, 23, finished second, about three minutes after Carson, with a time of 2:55:18.

Carson said it was his first time running the Sedona Marathon, his fourth marathon overall, and his first time winning one. He also said that he, as “a trailrunner by trade,” did a lot of trail and uphill training, but since that type of training is normal for him, he really did not do any special type of training for the Sedona course.

“It [winning] actually feels really awesome,” Carson said. “I didn’t feel the hills, it wasn’t as hard because of all of the trail and hill climbing.”

Most runners agreed that the Sedona course is difficult due to its hills and altitude.

Denver native Stacey Mulligan averaged 8:18 minutes per mile to take first overall for the women, and soon after the awards ceremony needed intravenous treatment by the Sedona Fire District to deal with post-race cramping.

“I don’t know, I don’t think I understand what’s happening right now,” Mulligan, another first-time marathon winner, said immediately after the race. “I didn’t have a goal in mind. I had a really rough year last year and training got me through it and I’m really surprised.”

After the marathoners started, the half-marathon runners, 10K and 5K runners were subsequently set off about 10 minutes apart.

Marcel Laros, of Oosterhout, Neb., won the men’s side of the half marathon with a time of 1:19:04. Autumn Ray, of Sedona, finished just behind Laros to take the women’s division, finishing in 1:21:22.

Two Flagstaff residents won the 10K races: Aaron Biah won the men’s division in 36:27 and Alvina Begay took the women’s championship in 39:06.

Sedonan Harry Danilevics won the men’s 5K race in 18:15, while Faye Hellman was the top female with a time of 20:37.

“It’s a great event, safe,” Wesselhoff said. “It was a perfect day, everything ran smoothly, there’s not a lot I would change.”

Jeff Frost, race director, agreed with Wesselhoff.

“With a day like today, nothing could go wrong,” he said. “A beautiful day like this makes a huge difference.”

Runners at the Sedona Marathon Event take off as the race horn sounds off starting the 26.2-mile marathon.
Frost said that between insurance, permits and law enforcement partnerships, the entire event costs about $250,000. The money from registration fees went to a cash donation to the Navajo Water Project, according to Frost.

There were a number of vendors present, including local food and clothing establishments, that set up booths free of charge.

There were 10 aid stations to provide water, sports drinks, bananas and energy chews. The stations were located two miles apart from one another, and each manned by a volunteer group.

The award for best aid station went to Enchantment Resort, which won $200.

Northern Arizona Healthcare was the main sponsor of the event.

Pick up the Friday, Feb. 10, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News to read more about the event.

By the Numbers

Of the 3,093 participants, 1,075 were male and 2,018 female. 134 males and 109 females completed the full marathon while 437 men and 832 women did the half marathon.

Before the start of the half marathon, it was stated over the loudspeaker that it was the largest ever in the Sedona event’s history with 1,269 runners.

More than twice as many women did the 10K race, 586, than men, 239. Females outnumbered the males in the 5K race as well — 496 to 265.

Two 3-year-old boys, one from Sedona and the other Longmont, Colo., were the youngest participants in the entire event, participating in the 5K run.

As the runners pass by, a man runs with the American flag at the Sedona Marathon Event.


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