Marathon, 10k are 'hot races'

With the mercury rising fast, the 1994 Deseret News/Granite Furniture 10K and marathon proved to be hot races in two regards.

Both the men's 10K and marathon were battles, with the winners emerging only near the finish lines. The women's 10K winner, Olga Appell of New Mexico, chopped more than half a minute from the previous record, 31:04. And temperatures during the day reached 102 degrees.The Pioneer Day races, which follow the path of the 1847 pioneers into the valley, are opposites for records. The 10K is one of the fastest, starting out downhill and continuing on the flat. Winner of this race was Mark Coogan of Boulder, Colo., at 28:13, barely outpacing Rod DeHaven of Wisconsin.

The marathon is one of the nation's slower ones as it starts in the canyon above Salt Lake City and follows a 26.2-mile course that goes up and down mountains. Both routes end following the route of the Days of '47 Parade in downtown Salt Lake City.

As the runners are cheered by parade watchers, one of the contests is often overlooked - that of the wheelchair racers. Wheelchair racers compete with arm muscles as they pull and push the wheels of their chairs. This year's wheelchair marathon winner, Kem Hearne of the Ogden 54th Ward, has a drama of his own. Known as "Officer Wheeley" in his work with youth at area schools, he has been in more than 200 wheelchair races and crossed America three times in his wheelchair.

His efforts in the wheelchair are more than a competition; they are a link to life. Ten years ago, he was hit by a drunken driver and lost the use of his legs. Then, to make matters worse, he was mistakenly given a blood transfusion that contained test blood, from which he contracted cancer and the HIV virus. By March of 1992, doctors expected him to live only four more months.

"I love life and I chose not to die," he said. "I'm not going until Heavenly Father takes me."

He was given a priesthood blessing, and he continued to emphasize fitness and positive attitude. He has wheeled some 19,000 miles - which took 13,106,750 pushes, he calculated - in pursuit of health. As he did, he gained sponsors and raised some $5.5 million for charities.

Winner of the men's marathon was Paul Rosser, assistant track coach at the University of Utah and a member of the Kimball Ward, South Salt Lake Stake. He crossed at 2:27:46 after out-dueling previous marathon champion Alvaro Palacios, who set a blistering pace but placed second. A former All-WAC runner for BYU and a Ricks College All-American, Rosser hopes to qualify for the Olympic Trials.

Other winners in the Deseret News/Granite Furniture Marathon were: men's wheelchair 10K, Brandon Harris of Pleasant View, Utah, 20:26; women's wheelchair 10K, Sharon Penney of Salt Lake City, 27:55; women's marathon, Kathy Robinson of Salt Lake City, 2:54:37.

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