“A community builds an organization, an organization builds a race, a race builds a community”. This time tested formula continues to be relevant year after year in providing a significant positive impact in our community and in the lives of our athletes, volunteers, spectators, and community as a whole. “It's more than a marathon” is a statement that I have heard so many times, and the stories in our community of how the marathon has affected people’s lives in such positive ways are awe-inspiring. I had the honor and opportunity to sit down with Dave Weloth to hear his amazing Ogden Marathon story and how running has become a Weloth family tradition.
Dave’s first experience with the Ogden Marathon was working as a volunteer at the finish line. It was the first year of the Ogden Marathon, now 20 years ago, and Dave and a team of dedicated volunteers arrived in the early hours of the morning at the finish line to unpackage medals that would be later distributed to runners as they crossed the finish line. Dave remembers how inspiring it was to him to watch the runners cross the finish line with such emotion and a sense of accomplishment. Dave remembered seeing a diverse group of runners, some of which were elite competitive runners, but the group that had the biggest significance to him, were what he saw as “average people”. This group and the comradery of the volunteers inspired Dave to volunteer again the next year. During that year, Dave had ran a 5K and couldn’t stop thinking about how he wanted to run a ½ marathon. He reflected on seeing the runners at the finish line and wanted to experience the incredible feeling of accomplishment for himself. On the third year of the Ogden Marathon, Dave ran the ½ marathon and remembers the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment that he had when he finished. He had accomplished his goal that he had worked and trained so hard for all year and he told his daughter that he was finished and that would be his last ½ marathon.
Shortly after, his daughter Kimberly told him that she wanted to run the ½ marathon and invited him to train and run the ½ marathon with her. As Dave and his daughter trained together throughout the year, a series of events that his daughter was unaware of were unfolding. During the year, Kimberly’s boyfriend approached Dave and asked if he could marry his daughter, of course was kept confidential between Dave and his daughter’s boyfriend. The rest of the story would unfold, unknown to Kimberly, during the marathon.
After training together throughout the year, Dave and his daughter started the race, just like the thousands of other runners running the ½ marathon. As they made their way around Pineview Reservoir and down scenic Ogden Canyon and the beautiful Ogden River Parkway, his daughter’s boyfriend had strategically placed signs of encouragement for the two, but it was at the world-class finish line, at the end of the finish chute at 25th Street and Grant Avenue that the ultimate surprise would unfold. As Dave and Kimberly crossed the finish line, holding hands, with tears in their eyes, overcome with such a sense of accomplishment, awaiting on the other side of the finish arch was Kimberly’s boyfriend, on one knee with a marriage proposal. The perfect finish to a perfect day and by the way, she said “YES”!
Written by, Eric Bauman, Executive Director- GOAL Foundation