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GCU Running Club Rocks the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon

Co-Ed Running female athletes pose with race medals
January 16, 2018

By: Ruby Arani/ GCU Staff

New Year, new accomplishments. That rings true for the running Lopes.

This past weekend, the Grand Canyon University Running Club participated in the weekend-long Synchrony Financial Rock ‘N’ Roll Arizona Marathon. The Lopes were in a sea of over 18,000 runners who all flocked from all over the state to enjoy great music and competitive racing.

At this race, three Lopes were able to accomplish a New Year’s goal.

Lopes’ senior Veronica Ortega ran and finished her first-ever 10k (6.2 miles) race on Sunday morning with a solid time of 1:04:49. Ortega placed 34th out of 104 in her division and placed 806th out of 2,977 runners overall.

“I feel like I did a good finishing and training for my first 10k,” said Ortega. “The running club definitely helped me pursue to run a 10k. Without the running club I wouldn’t have the discipline to do it otherwise.”

Lopes’ freshmen Julia Allen and Kaylee Padour both ran and finished their first-ever half marathons (13.1 miles) race. Padour finished in great time at 1:47:16, with Allen right behind her, finishing at 1:47:17. Both Allen and Padour finished in the top 35 in their division as well as placing 770th and 771th out of 8,552 overall.

“Running my first half marathon was thrilling,” said Allen. “Running a half marathon has always been on my bucket list, so when I saw the opportunity through the GCU Running Club, there was no way I was going to pass that up. Now, I think I am hooked on half marathons!”

“It was a lot of fun, and I felt great after the race,” continued Allen. “I most definitely will be doing more half marathons!”

Allen wasn’t the only rookie runner exhilarated by the Lopes performances.

“Running my first half marathon,” said Padour. “I felt that I did great, I kept an even pace throughout the race, and had a great running buddy by my side. I decided to run the half-marathon because I wanted to try a different distance to see what I like to run. I felt prepared running my first half-marathon because (Lopes’ Running Head) Coach Kim Sims gives the team different workouts to accomplish, and the right amount of distance to achieve our running goals.”

Synchrony Financial Rock ‘N’ Roll Arizona Marathon is an annual race to kickstart the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon across the United States. This year was the 15th anniversary of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Arizona Marathon to raise funds for a variety of charities, such as St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

GCU Running Throughout the Rocking Weekend

To start off the races for the Running Club, Lopes’ sophomore Naomi Hopper ran the 5k race Saturday morning, finishing with a notable time of 23:40, placing third in her division as well as placing 106th out 2,179 overall.

Lopes’ junior Candace Yazzie ran the half-marathon in a strong of 2:23:17, placing 201 in her division and placed 4,231 out 8,552 overall.

Last but not least, Lope’s Running Club Head Coach Dr. Kim Sims also ran the half marathon with the team. Sims ran a steady race finishing at 1:54:52 placing 53rd in her division, and placing 1,380 overall.

The Lopes will race again next month at the Running Den Pancake Run presented by IHop in Phoenix.