Doug Robinson: Memo to runners: Bob Wood is back

Lee Benson

Deseret News Marathon director Bob Wood

Bob Wood keeps trying to retire, but he can’t quite pull it off. He just can’t escape the world of competitive running, even at the age of 68.

Wood recently was hired as race director of the Deseret News Marathon. Again. This comes about four years after he stepped down from the same position. Which came about seven years after he was originally hired.

Wood also tried to retire as an agent for world-class runners in 1998.

That didn’t take either. He’s still doing that too, albeit on a reduced level.

For the running community, Wood’s return to the Deseret News Marathon is welcome news. There aren’t many who are more qualified to handle matters in the running world than Bob Wood, once voted one of the four most powerful men in running in the United States. If you want someone to make a successful road race and take on all the headaches associated with that, Bob Wood will do it, which is probably why his hair turned white.

The Deseret News Marathon, which at 47 years old is the oldest road race in Utah and fourth oldest in the West, had faced numerous challenges in recent years. Deseret News officials consulted Wood about the race and wound up hiring him.

This is the second time the Deseret News has turned to Wood. The paper found itself in a similar situation in 2005, with runners grumbling about various issues and declining attendance.

Deseret News officials consulted Wood about their race and then wound up hiring him as director in a scene that would be replayed in 2017.

“It was almost the exact same scenario both times,” says Wood

One of the first things Wood did when he was hired a few months ago was to cut the marathon entry fee from $95 to to $60. “We want to get people to come back to the event, and make people happy with what we’re doing,” he says. “We want to make it the premier race here again.”

(He is circumspect about the price of races anyway. Commenting on the $55…

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