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Marathon: Utahns Fritz Van de Kamp, Devra Vierkant win

(Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune) Men's winner Fritz Van de Kamp relaxes after winning the Salt Lake Marathon, Saturday, April 21, 2012. The Olympus High grad mentioned that he enjoyed that he was able to run past his former High School on 2300 East along the marathon route.

By Kyle Goon

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Apr 21 2012 12:18PM
Updated Apr 22, 2012 12:42AM

Devra Vierkant didn’t quite wake up Saturday morning and decide to run a marathon.

No, the Sandy resident registered on Friday afternoon. It turned out that the 35-year-old’s last-mintue decision led to a win, as she finished with the top women’s time of 2:54:56 in Saturday’s Salt Lake City Marathon.

"I didn’t really have any expectations," Vierkant said. "My friend called me last night and said, ‘You want to do it tomorrow?’ and I said OK."

Overall, it was a Utah sweep for the top spots. Millcreek resident Fritz Van de Kamp, 32, won the marathon for the second time in three years, finishing with a time of 2:25:58 and crushing his nearest competition by 11 minutes. A late spike in temperature slowed down some of the top times, as racers jogged through 70-plus-degree heat the last several miles.

Vierkant and Van de Kamp led a Utah-dominated podium in the marathon: Utahns took eight of the top 10 men’s spots and seven of the women’s top 10. Heber City’s Brad Osguthorpe won the men’s half-marathon with a time of 1:08:37, while Andrea North led all women competitors at 1:18:13.

For most of the race, Olympus High and University of Utah alum Van de Kamp found himself all alone as he trotted at a brisk five-and-a-half-minute per mile pace. He topped his 2010 winning time by nearly five minutes.

"I had no idea if anyone was behind me," said Van de Kamp, who was roughly a mile and a half ahead of second-place Seth Wold at the finish. "You never really know who’s coming out, but it turned out to be a really good race for me."

Vierkant finished more than five minutes ahead of second-place Allie Scott of Salt Lake City and was the only female marathoner to finish in under the three-hour mark. A former runner at BYU, Vierkant used a second-half burst to pull away.

Former college teammate Jessie Dorais said she knew Vierkant would be a contender when she saw her at the starting line.

"I thought she would win," said Dorais, who finished sixth. "She’s a good friend and I thought she had a really good chance to do well today."

Vierkant’s last-minute top finish was the perfect story for a marathon that looked like it might not come together in time. The race itself had been up in the air as recently as February, when U.S. Road Sports purchased it from Chris Devine and organizers had to rush to sew up the logistics only weeks before the marathoners were to take to the road.

But if there were any major flaws with this year’s race, they weren’t apparent to the runners. Many participants among the roughly 5,000 finishers said water, toilets and medical aid stations were at the ready. Some even said U.S. Road Sports had already outshined Devine, who had developed a reputation as an organizer who was slow to pay vendors and race winners.

"This race had excellent organization, and you can already see the difference," said Logan resident Stephen Anderson, who finished third with a time of 2:38:11 after running the Boston Marathon earlier in the week. "There were better aid stations, everyone had water when you needed it. It was a great race."

Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Coroon was on hand to count down to the marathon start on the University of Utah campus. He said he was impressed with how quickly U.S. Road Sports was able to coordinate with his office, and hoped the ownership change could lead to better days for the city’s premier race.

"We know we have to restore faith in this event," Coroon said. "We’re hoping for a smooth race that gives assurances that we’re doing that."

Twitter: @kylegoon

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