One last dash

By and

As teammates, roommates and friends over the past two years, Nicki Hugie and Ashlee Warnick trained, studied and played together.

On Saturday they symbolically ended their collegiate athletic careers by completing the Salt Lake City Marathon-a 26.22-mile race-running side-by-side the majority of the way.

Warnick finished 16th among women, running the race in 3 hours, 29 minutes. Hugie finished 19th among women with a time of 3:31.

“This is a good way to end our college running careers,” said Warnick, a senior chemistry major.

Their first goal was to finish the race; their second was to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which requires a runner to average an 8:20 mile. Both accomplished the feats, with Warnick running a pace of 7:59 per mile and Hugie 8:03 per mile.

Since their season ended last month, Hugie and Warnick had three weeks to train, which U track coach Kyle Kepler said wasn’t enough to properly prepare.

“Typically a runner will train much longer while completing at least three 20-mile runs in preparation,” Kepler said. “They did one.”

This was the first time Kepler has ever had runners do a marathon immediately after the season ends.

“Runners have typically waited for about a year?this will be an interesting experiment,” Kepler said before Saturday’s race.

Runners typically wait because training for a track event is different from training for a marathon, Kepler said. Learning to run at a slower pace than what they were used to was an obstacle for Hugie and Warnick.

As a runner for the U, Hugie ran the 1,500-meter-approximately one mile-at a pace of 5:16 in 2005, while Warnick completed the one-mile run in 5:21 at the Utah State Open last January.

“In a marathon, you have to relax and run at the correct pace or you’ll pay the price,” Kepler said.

“I think completing a marathon is a great accomplishment,” Hugie said.

Hugie is leaving to attend graduate school in Washington, and Warnick is returning to complete her final year as an undergraduate.

Kamil Krzaczynski

Ashlee Warnick and Nicki Hugie run side-by-side through Sugar House Park during the Salt Lake City Marathon on Saturday morning. Among women, Warnick placed 16 and Hugie 19 in completing the marathon.

Kamil Krzaczynski

Ashlee Warnick and Nicki Hugie meet with U track coach Kyle Kepler after completing the marathon Saturday.

Kamil Krzaczynski

U chemistry major Ashlee Warnick passes the finish line at The Gateway during the Salt Lake Marathon on Saturday. Starting at the Olympic Legacy Bridge, the marathon stretched as far as 6200 South, then headed back north to The Gateway.