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Busy mom of four chalks up eighth Pocatello Marathon victory

Penny Parrish was the top female finisher in the 2018 Pocatello Marathon on Saturday. (Idaho State Journal)
Penny Parrish was the top female finisher in the 2018 Pocatello Marathon on Saturday. (Idaho State Journal)

The 19th annual Pocatello Marathon was held Saturday morning.

And for the eighth time in her 10 years of running the 26-mile race, Penny Parrish of Pocatello finished first among female competitors with a time of 2:59:10.

Parrish said the Pocatello Marathon has a special place in her heart, both because she is from Pocatello and because it’s the first marathon she ever ran.

“It’s home,” Parrish said. “So of course you have to do your home marathon. As long as I’m healthy and can run it, I’ll probably keep running it.”

The Pocatello Marathon is one of three or four marathons in which Parrish typically competes in per year. She has run the Boston Marathon twice. The first year she ran it, she qualified for it with her time from her first-ever Pocatello Marathon.

“For this marathon, at this point, I guess I put some pressure on myself to do well here,” Parrish said. “But it’s really just a goal thing. I made a goal, and I have to achieve that goal.”

In 2016, Parrish set a women’s course record for the Pocatello Marathon with a time of 2:55:54.

It can be difficult to find the time to train for marathons, Parrish said. She works part time at a physical therapy clinic, is going to school to become a physical therapy assistant and has four children.

“I don’t really find the time,” Parrish said. “I have to get up early or squeeze it in between school and the kids getting home. I just fit it in wherever I can.”

Parrish said she typically runs 50 to 70 miles a week depending on her schedule, though she wouldn’t reveal her entire training regimen.

“That’d give away my secret,” she said.

Matthew Braithwaite of Salt Lake City placed first overall in the marathon with a time of 2:34:18, which equates to 5:54 per mile.

Braithwaite’s wife, Caitlin was second among female racers, coming just behind Parrish with a time of 3:01:27. According to Matthew, Caitlin also set a new personal record by nine minutes.

“I’m really proud of her,” Matthew said. “It was fun to see her do so well today.”

The couple said they don’t typically run competitively, but they were looking for a Boston qualifier race, and the Pocatello Marathon caught their eye, in part due to its proximity to Salt Lake City.

“The weather is really nice,” Matthew said. “It’s a nice downhill course. It seemed like a good environment to run a good time.”

Matthew said this is the first marathon he has ever won.

“It feels great,” he said. “I ran faster than I thought I was going to today. On a good day, I usually run about five minutes slower than I ended up running.”

Matthew beat Justin Park of Sandy, Utah, for first. Park had previously won the race four times in a row.

This is also the first road marathon Matthew has run in about three years, he said.

“It’s kind of a rare event for us,” Matthew said. “We’ll do some occasional racing, but mostly we run for fun and fitness and to keep our two crazy dogs well exercised.”

Still, they said they would be more than willing to run the Pocatello Marathon again in the future.

“Coming down the canyon was so beautiful,” Caitlin said. “All the water stops were so encouraging and great. It was really just a great experience.”


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