We have officially reached the two year mark for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Speaking of summer Olympic sports…
I learned yesterday via a reader tip that incoming Idaho Falls High School senior and defending 4A cross-country state runner-up Zach Erikson made his marathon debut on Tuesday. He completed the Deseret News Marathon as part of his senior project, finishing in an impressive 2:39:42 for fourth overall and first in his age division.
The Medal Stand: I.F.’s Erikson makes marathon debut in 2:39:42
Incoming Idaho Falls High School senior and multiple state cross-country and track medalist Zach Erikson can check another accomplishment off the list this week.
Erikson competed in his first marathon Tuesday, completing the annual Deseret News Marathon in Salt Lake City in two hours, 39 minutes, 42 seconds to place fourth overall and win his age division. Breaking the elusive three-hour barrier was his goal, and he initially had his sights set on 2:50.
As the race progressed, however, he maintained an average pace of 6:06 per mile with a few sub-6 miles here and there.
“I knew I was capable of sub-3,” Erikson said. “Once things started going, I was like ‘I’m really enjoying it. I’m pretty much going as fast as I can.”
Erikson chose to complete a marathon for his senior project, and he chose the Deseret News Marathon due to its proximity to eastern Idaho and for how it fit into his summer schedule. He said he drew some inspiration from athletes like 2013 Bonneville graduate Kyle Baldwin, who completed the 40-mile solo division of the annual To Bone and Back Relay as part of his senior project, when choosing what to do for his own senior project.
“I’m a runner, I do high mileage in the summer,” Erikson said. “Stepping up to a marathon wouldn’t be too big of a jump. Honestly, I just thought it would be fun. I guess I just wanna show that running will be a big part of my life. I’ll keep doing it, hopefully run in college and be a big road racer and show that a lot of my time will be spent running.”
Erikson said he experienced much kindess and encouragement in his first marathon from other runners as well as spectators. The first 16 miles of the course did not have many spectators, but there were significantly more near the finish. Their enthusiasm, as well as the cheering from his mother Kathy, helped him finish strong.
“Once we got down to like the final four miles, there were people lining the streets for the parade afterwards,” Erikson said. “They were all cheering. That definitely pushed me along. It was a great experience.”