SALT LAKE CITY — It was about redemption for one.
It was a sort of parting gift from the Beehive State for the other.
Patrick Smyth of Salt Lake City took home the Deseret News 10K title Thursday morning, crossing the finish line at Liberty Park with a time of 29:23.1. Meanwhile, Taylor Ward of Ogden won the women’s crown, clocking in at 34:30.5.
Smyth, who won the event in 2011 and 2012, finished second a year ago behind Miles Batty. On Thursday, he was able to reclaim the title.
“Having lost it last year, I really wanted to get it back,” said Smyth, who runs professionally for the Nike Trail Team in addition to being employed by the Bureau of Land Management. “It’s kind of become a rite of summer to do this race and do well. It’s always really competitive, so you can never come into it thinking, “Oh, it’s going to be an easy run.’ It never is. It’s always good guys.”
The 27-year-old took the approach of finding his pace during the first portion of the race before finishing strong.
“I was just kind of trying to feel things out the first 5K,” he said. “The second 5K, I just kind of kept the pressure on and eventually guys just started splintering once we got onto Second East (about 4 miles in).”
The victory didn’t come without a hiccup for Smyth, however. At about the same time the eventual contenders started making their big push, confusion arose about whether or not the course called for the lead pack to turn up 800 South or continue going straight. Race officials offered conflicting reports, and the group turned. Straight was the right answer, however, and it took some time to get back on track.
Smyth didn’t get too fazed and was able to regroup and finish strong.
“We’ve all done it before, but when someone tells you otherwise and they look official, you follow them,” he said.
Smyth doesn’t have any races on his docket for the next few weeks, but the Judge Memorial graduate and All-American at Notre Dame will be competing at the World Mountain Running Championships in Massa, Italy, in September.
As for Ward, the Logan High alum just recently graduated from Weber State University, where she was a distance runner on the Wildcats’ track and field squad. There, she earned all-conference honors in 2013 and won a Big Sky title in the 10,000 meters in the spring.
Next week, she and her husband Kurt will be moving to Alabama to attend Auburn University. She’ll be working toward her master’s degree in radiological sciences and he’ll be pursuing a Ph.D. in kinesiology.
On Thursday, Ward was part of the pack for about the first 4 miles before turning on the jets as she reached the uphill portion of the race.
“It was awesome,” said Ward, who wants to one day run a marathon. “It was really hot today, but it was a really good race, fun. It’s a pretty competitive 10K road race and a lot of elites will come out for this, so I wanted to come and just have some fun and get a good race in.”
Taylor Thatcher of Lindon took second on the men’s side. A trio of runners from Irumagawa, Japan, who train in Park City placed in the top six, as Shun Sato took third, Masamichi Shinozaki placed fourth and Hirotaka Yamagishi finished sixth. Jason Lynch of Sandy took fifth.
Ogden City was represented well at the top of the women’s standings as Sarah Feeny, who will begin her career on the University of Utah's cross-country team this fall, took second for the second-consecutive year and Merrilee Blackham placed third.
Emma Garrard of Park City, Marlee Mitchell of South Jordan and Rosy Lee of Mountain Green rounded out the top six.
In all, 423 men and 591 women completed the race.
Ryan McDonald is a part-time reporter and editor at the Deseret News. Prior to these roles he worked as the sports editor of The Daily Utah Chronicle, the campus newspaper at the University of Utah.