ST. GEORGE – The traditional pre-marathon Mayor’s Walk took place on Saturday with Mayor Jon Pike at the helm. Though this is Pike’s first Mayor’s Walk as the new Mayor of St. George, he has traveled this road many times before.
“I’ve done this walk for quite a few years as a council member and a citizen,” Pike said. “But this is my first walk as mayor.” He crossed the finish line with with wife Kristy by his side.
Several hundred people participated in the walk, though there was not an official count available. Moms and dads walked with their kids, pushed them in strollers or carried them in their arms or on their shoulders as they crossed the finish line together.
Biff Williams, President of Dixie State University, enjoyed his first Mayor’s Walk.
“This is great, so much fun,” Williams said. “I love the St. George activities.” Williams walked with his wife and children, as well as friends visiting from Indiana. Once he finished the walk he became one of the hundreds of volunteers helping with the marathon.
Also participating in the Mayor’s Walk were visitors from St. George’s sister city, Ibigawa, Japan. Michio Takehashi and Masami Onishi walked with the Mayor, while four of the total 12 delegates from Ibigawa ran in the marathon.
“The winners of their marathon get to participate in our marathon,” Pike said. “Then the winners of ours are invited to run their marathon.”
This has been a tradition for 28 years. Pike will be participating in the Ibigawa Mayor’s Walk next month.
Takahashi, speaking through an interpreter, said that he expected his runners to come in somewhere near the top in Saturday’s marathon.
Following the walk each participant was invited to have breakfast in the park.
According to the city’s website, the proceeds from the Mayor’s Walk will go to support Exchange Club projects including SUPAF (Southern Utah Performing Arts Festival), Freedom Shrines in our schools and public facilities, child abuse prevention programs, and student of the month scholarships. All Exchange Club programs that benefit local youth will include the new All Abilities Park which will be constructed at Tonaquint Park.
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