Payson High School senior Jordyn Fruth hails from a family of runners — her mother, Carolyn, has competed in the Boston Marathon and has her sights set on the New York Marathon — but the 18-year-old had never run in a big-time competitive event until Sunday, Jan. 20, when she competed in the P.F. Chang’s Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon.
Overcoming her inexperience, she ran her way to a very respectable time of 1:56.10 that was second among the 15 Rim Country runners who entered the event.
Tanner McLaws, 34, finished in 1:56.10 and was the only Payson runner to best Fruth.
Of the 627 runners who entered Fruth’s age/gender group, she was 98th.
“My goal was to beat two hours and I did it, so I’m very happy,” said Fruth. On Monday, the day after the run, Fruth said she was suffering no ill effects from the grueling 13-plus mile run, “I feel great.”
Prior to entering the Rock ’n’ Roll, Fruth’s running experience included only being a member of the Rim Country Middle School cross country team five years ago.
“Just recently, I got a sudden spark of interest to run,” she said. “I think it comes from watching my mother… I kind of want to sometimes be able to run like her.”
Also from the Rim Country at the Rock ’n’ Roll, Zack Magill finished in 2:05.44 and Megan Miller turned in an ET of 2:07.39.
Among the older set, 73-year-old Henry Lopez was clocked in 2:08.64 and Tom Cooka, 82, turned in a 2:28.40 to finish first in his age division.
Becky Randall, 29, was the only Pine runner to enter the Rock ’n’ Roll half marathon, finishing in 3:34.25.
A trio of Rim runners entered the 26.2-mile full marathon including Melleny Magill, who crossed the finish line in 3:47.06, and Chris Schur who was timed in 4:21.25.
Ivan Mclaws, a local podiatric surgeon, finished in 4:29.57.
A field of over 27,000 full marathoners, half marathoners and relay runners entered the event that was this year celebrating its 10th anniversary.
For the first time ever, a bicycle division was also offered.
Most runners turned in fast personal times due to the sunny weather and mostly flat course that ended in Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.
“The toughest part was about the 9- or 10-mile mark near the botanical gardens,” said Fruth. “There was an uphill and a downhill stretch there.”
Along the course, bands, entertainers and fans of all ages lined the streets to spur on the runners.
More than 2,500 volunteers showed up to help stage the Rock ‘n’ Roll that has become one of the premier events on the country’s long distance running circuit.
Fruth intends to continue to run, possibly entering Pat’s Run in April in Tempe and the Tucson half-marathon.