St. George community remembers marathon runner who died of cancer

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ST. GEORGE — Debbie Zockoll was well known in Washington County as a runner who participated in every single St. George marathon. Many longtime residents also knew she fought cancer for more than ten years, but on March 1st, not even Zockoll could run away from it anymore.

On the field of life, it's not so much the preparation or outcome that matters, only that you play the game and give it your best. It's a lesson Josh Zockoll learned from his mom while playing baseball. It's also one he's now passing onto his children because his mother is no longer around to do it herself.

"She never missed a game," said Josh Zockoll. "Even if she ran to the game, she would run to the game and decide she wanted to run home."

For as much as Debbie Zockoll enjoyed watching her kids and grandkids play baseball, her love was running — up until the point she crossed her final finish line.

Cancer finally caught up to her.

"She was an inspiration to so many," said Josh. "It's the outpouring of love I have had from people, and just texts and calls, 'Hey, your mom was so inspirational.' She did so many things."

Debbie Zockoll was well known in the St. George community. She taught 1st grade in the Washington County School District for 30 years. However, she may be best known for running in all 43 St. George marathons.

"She started to walk when she was eight and a half months old, and she didn't walk, she ran, and she's been running ever since," said Debbie's mother, Julianne Cowley.

In all, Zockoll ran in 298 marathons.

For her, it was never about the medals. Instead, it was about being better as a person.

"On a marathon, someone was injured one time and she stopped and helped them instead of trying to make her own time better," said Cowley. "And that's the kind of person she was."

Because, in the end, how you lived and played the game of life is what really matters.

"It's important that she is remembered because she is a pillar in this St. George community," said Josh Zockoll. "And her legacy will live forever."

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Alex Cabrero
Alex Cabrero is an Emmy award-winning journalist and reporter for KSL-TV since 2004. He covers various topics and events but particularly enjoys sharing stories that show what's good in the world.


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