Some say it's not hard to win a race that no one else shows up to. Just don't tell that to Nathan Crowton and Curt Brinkman, the winners in the Deseret News wheelchair 10K and marathon.
Crowton was literally racing against himself as he was the only contestent in the 10K.
"I was surprised there wasn't much competition," Crowton said. "It's always more fun to have competition to play with and socialize with, and it helps push yourself."
Crowton still had plenty to be motivated about as he raced against his personal best. The Ogden resident thought he had beat it with a time of 24:10, benefitting from a course Crowton says is fast on top with some sharp corners.
Brinkman took first place in the marathon for the third year in a row, beating one other competitor, John Brewer. But unlike Crowton, Monday's race wasn't as satisfying for Brinkman because he didn't break any of his personal bests.
"I was a little bit slower this year," he said of his 2:04:42 time. "You always want to do better."
One reason for the slower time was Brinkman had to deftly weave around some of the 10K runners.
"This marathon is a very difficult race. You have hills in the first half and then you have to be really cautious coming down the canyon," Brinkman said. "I was trying to miss the 10K runners. I lose five minutes on that every year."
Despite the unusual obstacles and the unusually small turnout, both Brinkman and Crowton enjoy the race and are already looking forward to next year's.
"I'm convinced I can race competitively even as I get older," Brinkman said, "and I will try to do better next year."