SALT LAKE CITY - For most people, running a marathon takes significant planning and months of methodical training.
But Devra Vierkant was at home Friday night when a friend called and suggested she sign up for Saturday's Ninth Annual Salt Lake Marathon.
"I said sure," the mother of two said with a laugh after winning the women's race with a time of 02:54:56. "I just wanted to come out and do my best. I was hoping to win, but you never know."
In fact, it was such a spur of the moment decision, that her friend, Emily Bates, who took second in the half marathon, had her boyfriend sign the two runners up at the expo because she was stuck in a traffic jam.
"He didn't know her last name," said Bates laughing. Which accounts for why officials had it misspelled.
Vierkant was a little overwhelmed with the media attention after she finished despite having won four other marathons. A former BYU and UVU runner, Vierkant said she thought she might have a shot at the podium, but she'd never run the Salt Lake Marathon before Saturday.
"So I didn't really have any expectations," she said. "My longest run was about 15 miles. So I'm happy; I'm very happy."
And then she motioned at all of the cameras and added, "I'm a little intimidated."
She said when she told her husband shed be running 26.2 miles Saturday morning, he said, What can I do to help you. Hes awesome.
Vierkant's last marathon was the Deseret News Marathon last summer, and her best marathon time is 2:37.
"The first time I ran (a marathon), I signed up two weeks before," she said.
On the men's side the winner was a familiar local name - Fritz Van De Kamp. He finished well ahead of anyone else with a time of 2:25.58.
"I won two years ago," said Van De Kamp, who was a two sport athlete at Olympus High. He's won Ogden and Park City marathons, as well. "I got to run right through my neighborhood, past Evergreen (Junior High) and Olympus. I'm very familiar with these streets."
He said Ogden and Salt Lake marathons are his favorite races - Ogden for beauty and Salt Lake because it's his hometown.
The veteran runner said he enjoyed the changes to the course.
"The downhill finish is great," he said.
As for strategy, he expected some competition from runners who didn't show up, but he had decided before hand to run his own race with a 2:25 time as his goal.
"I just run my race because I had no idea who would show up," he said, acknowledging he didn't even know where his closest competitor finished. Saturday's time was his fastest on the Salt Lake course. "I had no idea (who was behind him). I don't really ever look backwards. It wouldn't have changed how I raced."
Bates ran much of the half marathon with the eventual winner of that event - Andrea North, who finished with a time of 1:18:13. On the men's side, Brad Osguthorpe, another accomplished local, won with a time of 1:08:37.
In the 5K, Albert Wint won the race with a time of 17:52 in the men's division, while Sara Mickelson won the women's race with a finish time of 21:21.
All results will be posted at www.saltlakemarathon.com