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SV Half Marathon is this Saturday

Runners make their way through the route during the 2023 Star Valley Half-Marathon. (PHOTO BY DAN DOCKSTADER)

 

• Annual event will include a 5K race as part of the event

Star Valley’s 13th Annual Half Marathon is taking place Saturday, July 13. The Half Marathon is offered in memory of Jeremy Kunz, a Star Valley native, who was killed in 2009 while running an event in Las Vegas. His family hosts the event each year, raising funds from registrations to benefit families in the region who need support under difficult circumstances.

The race route begins in Turnerville at the top of the Heiner Airstrip. Runners will proceed onto the Bedford Turnerville Road heading south toward Grover Park. At the cattle guard entrance to the Park, they will turn around and head North, following the route that transitions to County Road 126 and then County Road 122, into Thayne and finishing at Thayne Elementary School. Buses will transport runners from the elementary to the race start between 6 and 6:15 that morning.

Organizer Denice Kunz, who is Jeremy’s mother, explained that “There’s also a little gravel road” running along the air- strip. Runners can “either run on the gravel road or run on the grass of the air strip. They have a choice.”

This year, a 5K run is offered in conjunction with the half marathon. The route for the 5K is the same as the half marathon route, beginning 3.1 miles from the finish line. Buses will also transport 5K runners to their start line, and that race will begin at 7:30 a.m. The races share the same finish line. Folks can run or walk either race, finishing on their own timeline.

Packet pickup for the races is Friday evening, July 12, from 6-8 p.m. at Thayne Elementary. All race participants can pick up their swag bag, race shirts and information that evening. Participants unable to pick up their materials on Friday evening can arrive as early as 5:40 on Saturday morning at the Elementary to collect their gear.

Registration is available at starvalleyhalfmarathon.com. Folks can register in advance online, or they can register as late as Saturday morning at the packet pickup table. If you are registering onsite, please go to the website and print your registration document and bring it with you. Participation fees are $80 for the half marathon or $45 for the 5K. Payments can be taken by cash, check or card.

“We do this to raise money to help families in need in our region,” Denice explained. “Some people are kind of under hard times and we just raise money to share because we were so blessed when we were having a hard time, when Jeremy died and people came to help his little family with financial funds. So, we are happy to pass that on and do that for other people. That brings us a lot of joy to us to be able to help our community.

The Kunz family works together to organize this event each year. “All of our adult kids take responsibility. We have five children, and Jeremy’s wife, Min [Melinda], is just as involved as everyone else.”

Denice is very pleased with the new development of the 5K. “I’m very excited! I hope this will work. When the buses have dropped off the half marathon participants, they will come back and pick up the 5K Runners and take them to the start of their race. I think it’s just going to be really fun to have that 5K. Star Valley Health is helping us do that. They are trying to inspire people to get out there and move their bodies. A 5K is a little more doable for people. It’s a little shorter and yet it still has the feel of the half marathon. I think it’s really nice that they’re trying to encourage a healthy lifestyle. It will be fun to have our first 5k as part of the marathon.”

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