Winning the Tooele Kiwanis Club 5K Freedom Run is routine for 23-year-old former Tooele resident Hawk Call. He’s won the event every time he’s competed — five or six times (he can’t recall the exact number).
Most years, winning the Tooele 5K is just icing on the cake because three or four other years, he’s also won Grantsville City’s 4th of July Race (In Memory of Ray Barrus) on the same day.
“I’ve been doing both races ever since high school,” Call said.
This year, he finished the Grantsville race in 16:08.92 with Porter Whitworth second at 17:21.18.
He then hurried to Tooele where he won the Kiwanis race in 15:49.2 Elias Nelson finished second in 16:57.4
The only two runners to ever defeat Call at the Grantsville race were Whitworth and Tyson Lambert.
Running both races is a bit of a challenge, but really fun, Call said.
“Basically you get up early enough for the Grantsville race, rush over there and you’ve got to finish in less than 17 minutes,” Call said. “You then hop in the car and quickly drive to Tooele to Settlement Canyon, hurry and take off the Grantsville bib and put on the Tooele bib. I usually have about 5 minutes to shake my legs out a bit after the drive over from Grantsville.
“It’s definitely a rush, but I’ve been able to make it every year though. I haven’t run into the problem of too much traffic or racing too slow in Grantsville,” he said. “I don’t have any time to stick around after the Grantsville Race. After I finish I’m basically just walking straight over to the car. My mom drives. She loves that I do this and she thinks it’s so much fun. Every year she will drive me out there with some of my siblings, drop me off, watch the Grantsville race, then we all get back in the minivan and book it over to Tooele where the rest of my siblings also race.”
Call graduated in December from Utah Valley University in Orem where he ran varsity for four years and made the All-WAC team. He finished third in the WAC championships one season and competed in the steeplechase.
And which Fourth of July race is the most difficult?
“I personally prefer the Tooele one because the majority of it is downhill, and I definitely like downhill running. Grantsville is extremely flat so Grantsville is a little harder.”
He said the back-to-back races don’t strain him too much.
“I ran in college so I’m used to high mileage. It’s like running a 10K minus a break in between,” Call said.
Hawk Call has decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and compete in Obstacle Course Racing (OCR).
Last year in July he finished third at the Utah Beast in the second race of the Spartan 2021 U.S. National series at Snowbasin.
He talked about competing in front of his father, three-time Spartan World Champion Hobie Call.
“It was a huge motivation and I definitely wanted to make him proud, which I feel like I did,” Hawk said.
“I just started racing obstacle courses after I graduated this past December. The majority of the races are in the mountains so there’s elevation gains, hill running and the obstacles themselves,” he said.
“Training includes a lot more upper body work and I still go on long runs,” Call said.
Call attended Stansbury High School where he set several records and placed third at state in cross country meet.
He was a member of the second-place 4×400 team at state which included Xander Littlefield, Abram Miller, and Josh Wintch.
Instead of training to compete professionally as a marathoner, Call has decided to pursue obstacle course running instead.
“I still love running and I love training; I prefer the trails a lot more than the road,” he said. “Obstacle course racing is just something I really enjoy, it adds a lot more variety than just running on the road. There is a lot of really good competition. There are a lot of amazing athletes that do it; they are fast and strong. Marathon running is just running far and fast and that’s it, not really anything else to it.”
The elite runner said he will continue to race in Tooele and Grantsville’s Fourth of July 5K races, unless it conflicts with an obstacle course race.
There is a good chance he will continue to prevail at those races.