MANKATO — For Chris Caron, taking the top spot in the Mankato Marathon 10K race came as a bit of a surprise.
The Ham Lake native is normally a marathon runner, but he was the first to cross the finish line adjacent to the Verizon Wireless Center on Sunday to be crowned the men's and overall winner of the 6.2-mile race. He finished in 35 minutes, 13 seconds.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting to win,” Caron, 21, said. “I don’t have a lot of experience in the 10K and this was toward the end of the season and I wasn’t taking it too seriously. I ran the marathon the last three years and summer training has been going really well so I thought I would try a different event.”
Caron finished 45 seconds ahead of runner-up Dan Ristau, who finished in 35:58. Ristau, 29, is a Blue Earth native and former Minnesota State track and cross country standout.
Ristau was followed by Henry Lisok, who came across in 38:24. Lisok, 31, was the first Mankato runner across the finish line. Rounding out the top five men were Andy Redmann of Hutchinson (41:17) and Chris Crocker of North Mankato (42:34). In all, 169 men completed the 10k.
Caron said he was around second place through the first four miles, before putting together a strong finish, going as fast he as he could for the second half of the race.
“I knew there were hills at the beginning, and they said it was downhill in the second half,” Caron said. “So that’s where I knew it really played out, and I took the lead from there.”
As the drizzling rain continued throughout the race, an overcast sky set the ambiance for the runners as they crossed the finish line shortly after 8 a.m. Temperatures were just above freezing, which affects each runner in his or her own way.