SALT LAKE CITY — First, it was a 5:25 mile at nine months pregnant, followed seven months later with an Olympic Trials Qualification/performance in the 10K this past June. Now, just over a month later, Makenna Myler of Highland is the new record holder of the Deseret News Half Marathon with a time of 1:09.54.
To put this in perspective, that's a 5:20 per mile pace for 13.1 miles. And not only did she clear the field of female runners, but finished 10th place overall in the race that has long been known for attracting some tough competition — and this was her first-ever half marathon race.
"I have run the half marathon distance in training runs before, but this was my first time actually racing one," Myler said. "The 3:00 a.m. wake-up call to feed my baby, and the bus to the start line added a little more stress. When I was sitting on the bus, I just kept thinking how long a half marathon really is. The bus just kept going up. But when we got there, the temperatures were cooler than expected, which was awesome during the first miles of the race."
Myler said that she expected the course to be a lot more downhill and jarring on her body, but she said she was pleased with how smooth the course was.
"I expected the downhill to jar my body, but it wasn't bad at all," she said. "I remember passing a couple of men at about mile five, and I spent the rest of the race mostly alone."
Being alone for that long of a stretch required Myler to rely on her body and mind, and keeping a careful eye on her pace. Myler said that the race atmosphere, as well as other runners on the course competing in other events, pulled her to complete her goal.
"Going into this race, I knew my training was good enough for me to try to break the record, which was the goal going into the race. I knew that I needed to run a 5:20 pace, taking into account the downhill and then flat miles at the end. Toward the finish, I met up with the 10K runners, and having them on the course really helped me reach my goal."
Myler said that crossing the finish line of the Deseret News Half Marathon was particularly special because, this time, she was able to have the support of many family members.
"With this being a local race, I was able to have not just my husband and daughter, but extended family there to support me," she said. "It really was a special day."
Deseret News Marathon race director Corbin Talley agreed that this year's event was special for all the female winners.
"All three of our female winners today — Grayson (10K), Makenna (half marathon) and Ashley (marathon) — were fast and gritty," he said "It was fun to see so many phenomenal times on the course. And not just that, but I feel all three are great examples of fighting hard and conquering in life and running."
As for what's next on the "conquering life" agenda for Myler, she says that she's going to take a short break before competing in some championship races in September and will hopefully be moving into the marathon world. She recently signed a pro contract with Asics and says she is grateful for the opportunity to continue to do what she loves.
To continue to follow Myler's journey, her Instagram handle is @benzmakenz.