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Gordon Monson: Salt Lake’s marathon has long landed in the gutter, not on the podium

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Red tape and red flags are everywhere.

God only knows if it will continue to carom down the same path.

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Maybe the answer is for the city to put so many temporary roadblocks and requirements up that the effort for a permit isn’t worth the trouble — until it can be done right.

Salt Lake City does have a brand here to protect. Its name has landed in the slime and gutter of this race, when it should be on the champion’s podium. How valuable is that good name, could that name be, given the growth in popularity of marathons around the country? It’s an extreme example, but New York City’s marathon had 44,000 finishers in 2010. That’s a lot of entry fees, a lot of boost to the local economy, a lot of goodwill shared.

Think about what the Salt Lake City Marathon could be, should be, if it were run legit — terrific location, challenging venue, beautiful scenery, fantastic community, vast participation, great destination, and impressive experience for everyone involved. That’s what this event might be, a destination marathon where elite athletes and local and visiting runners come and stay — and cover the same ground and distance to test themselves and celebrate the achievement.

In the great pantheon of American marathons, Salt Lake City might never be Boston or New York or even St. George, but it still should be something north of what it’s been best known for in the past: shady business, bad debt and broken promises.

GORDON MONSON hosts "The Gordon Monson Show" weekdays from 2-6 p.m. on 97.5 FM/1280 AM The Zone. Twitter: @GordonMonson.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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