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Rocky Raccoon 100 / 50 Trail Run – 2011 Results

Fire-and-Ice sets the theme for last weekend’s Rocky Raccoon 100 and 50 mile trail adventure down in Huntsville State Park.It was a weekend of extremes as athletes struggled to get to the event due to a blanket of snow and ice covering much of this area of the country.

Cold early morning temps but no snow if you were able to get to Huntsville. Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Ballard.

For the 512 that flew, white-knuckled it in the car, or snow shoed it to the start line, some scorching efforts were put on display for all to witness (thanks to the multi-loop course). Determination, comraderie, and compassion was showcased by those that traversed 20, 40, 60, or 100 miles. Everyone was part of something special.

The Course

The  trail was in near perfect shape except for some sketchy sections across various wooden bridges that required a ballerina grace to keep from fall on your bumper due to thin patches of ice.

The 100 mile athletes enjoyed five 20 mile loops within the forested park consisting of  mostly pine needle covered double-wide single-track with a couple sections of packed park dirt road (no vehicle traffic). Athletes also enjoyed nice views of the glistening water of Lake Raven in which the course traveled around.

The 50 mile trail runners enjoyed three 16.67 mile loops on much of the same course as the 100 milers besides a short cut-across trail that created the proper loop mileage.

100 mile course map

50 mile course map


Let's roll!! Photo: Courtesy of Deborah Sexton.

100 mile

With Jurek, Krupicka, Koerner, Meltzer, and a host of other running gun-slingers going after the male win, many were surprised when Ian Sharman took to the front around mile 34.

Anton Krupicka, Hal Koerner, and Mike Wolfe approaching DamNation with Scott Jurek in background. Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Ballard.

What was Ian’s effort in the early going?

“At DamNation it was exactly 26.2 miles and I think my time was around 3h13m. That sounded a bit fast for a 100 miler, but I decided to stay with the same comfortable pace and not judge it on the times or splits.” –  Ian’s Race Report

Ian held onto the lead for the remaining 60+ miles and maintained a blistering pace that set a new course record of 12:44:33! This is a new course record by 32-ish minutes that had held since 1996 when Eric Clifton ran a 13:16:02. This record was really due to be broken.

Ian Sharman flying through the course. Photo: Courtesy Craig Mitchell @

Thirty-four minutes after Ian crossed the finish line, Anton Krupicka earned second place in 13:18:52 (3 minutes over the previous course record). Hal Koerner cruised in about 7 minutes later to claim third.

One more thought about Ian’s day: The stat that really catches my attention (besides the blistering 7:38 avg pace) is his 50 mile split which he recalled at around 6:10. With a finish time of 12:44, his effort was a near even split. It was a good day!

Top 5 male

  1. Ian Sharman (CA) – 12:44:33 (*New course record*)
  2. Anton Krupicka (CO) – 13:18:52
  3. Hal Koerner (OR) – 12:26:19
  4. Karl Meltzer (UT) – 14:27:20
  5. Brad Reed (MA) – 15:58:38

Karl Meltzer arriving at DamNation. Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Ballard.

Top 3 TALON male

  1. Ryan Loehding (TX) – 18:09:55
  2. Peter Vrolijk (TX) – 18:10:47
  3. Matt Zmolek (TX) – 19:33:51

Ryan Loehding lookin' a bit frosty early on. Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Ballard.

The female race quickly became a challenge between Liza Howard…and herself. By mile 40 Liza had created over a one hour lead from the nearest chaser who I believe was tough and speedy, Connie Gardner. Connie unfortunately ended up dropping.

Liza kept the wheels spinning but had her own common and obscure challenges to overcome that included tummy issues, a sports bra with a bad attitude, and the fatigue monkey hanging on her back. Thanks to some immodium, a pair of sissors, and some dogged determination, Liza went on to win the female race in 15:33:09. After loop one, Liza advanced from 12th to 5th overall and ran the second fastest female time in the history of this event!

Liza Howard with a marathon complete. Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Ballard.

Brenda Carawan finished sub-23 to earn the second place finish with a time of 22:36:31.

Top 5 female

  1. Liza Howard (TX) – 15:33:09 (*5th overall*)
  2. Brenda Carawan (VA) – 22:36:31
  3. Terri Pfeil (CO) – 23:16:09
  4. Lisa De Young (NC) – 23:32:24
  5. Julie Grant (TX) – 23:34:14

It's a beautiful day! Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Ballard.

Top 3 TALON female

  1. Liza Howard (TX) – 15:33:09 (*5th overall*)
  2. Julie Grant (TX) – 23:34:14
  3. Anabel Pearson (TX) – 23:42:41

How many more miles? Now that is funny! Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Ballard.

50 mile

Nearly crackin’ the top 10, Maria Clemente forged through the three loop course to win the female race in 7:43:28. While alone at the front, the dash for second had a fairly small eight minutes separating second from third. Spread across 50 miles, we are talking about 10 seconds per mile. Carley LaRue was able to create the extra push to finish second in 8:39:30.

Top 5 female

  1. Maria Clemente (IL) – 7:43:28
  2. Carley LaRue (TX) – 8:39:30
  3. Lesley Hempfling (TX) – 8:47:45
  4. Alison Dunn (TX) – 9:05:39
  5. Meghan Anderson (CA) – 9:09:12

Top 3 TALON females already noted above.

Maria Clemente getting it done...with a smile and some fashion flare! Photo: Courtesy of Josh Baker @

The 100 mile race wasn’t the only course record broken this day. Todd Braje blazed off a 6:52 pace for 50 miles and set a new course record by 18 minutes! Todd’s 5:43:08 finish time replaced Patrick Russell’s 6:01:07, dating back to 2007. Yassine Brown finished firmly in second with a time of 6:17:29.

Top 5 male

  1. Todd Braje (CA) – 5:43:08 (*course record*)
  2. Yassine Diboun (OR) – 6:17:29
  3. David Brown (TX) – 6:37:43
  4. Bill Sutherland (TX) – 7:04:02
  5. Wade Barrett (TX)  – 7:06:12

Top 3 TALON males also noted above.

I want to be this guy when I grow up! Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Ballard.

Complete Results for both races.

Inspiration Point

Check out some of the wisest finishers. I hope this stuff fires you up as much as it does me.

  • 50 mile: Holley Lange (age 65), Grant Holdaway (age 79), Abdel K Fustok (age 70)!
  • 100 mile: Jean-Jacques d’Aquin (age 71), Robert Calabria (age 69), Rolly Portelance (age 68)!

Life is play. Play is life.

...or this guy! Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Ballard.

The Tough-as-Nails Award

nails1The final finishers of an ultra distance event are some of the toughest athletes that are willing to stick with it to the best of their current ability and cross that darn finish line.

The Tough-as-Nails award recipients:

  • 50 mile: Nith Sananikone (TX) finished shortly after midnight to complete his 50 mile journey in 18:28:39.
  • 100 mile: Greg Bargo (TX) celebrated the morning hours – twice, and finished with less than five minutes before the cutoff in a time of 29:55:32!

Race Reports and Pics

  • “The final straight towards the finish lights was gradual acceleration up to virtually a sprint. This was either flashy and a perfect finish to a day that went flawlessly or the chance to fall head-over-heels at full speed with everyone watching.” by Ian Sharman @ Ian Sharman’s Racing Blog
  • “As the sun was dropping below the horizon, I reached DamNation for the final time (mile 92.4 or so) and just as I filled my bottle Hal came chugging into the aid station right behind me. No way. Almost unbelievable. The man just does not give up.” by Anton Krupicka @ Running Times
  • “The Walgreen’s modesty disappeared I had no problem hollering out “Immodium NOW!!” at Eliot as I ran into the aid stations.  (Eliot is a prince.)” by Liza Howard @ Liza Howard’s Blog
  • “So, I got a chance to see all the front runners, and other running friends along the way too. Wish I would have had a penny for every time I uttered “good job!” or heard that coming back at me. It’s one thing to have a volunteer saying that but even better with other runners—the camaraderie is always a great boon to the spirit during races.” by ultra tortoise @ A Trail Runner’s Running Blog
  • “At the damnation aid station at about the 100k distance the sun was going down and it’s amazing how fast the temps drop out there when it does. Just moments earlier I’m running in short sleeves shirts, running hat and feeling good, 10 minutes later I have gloves, arm sleeves, beanie and starting to get real cold, real fast. The only way to stay warm is to keep moving and moving for me has become a real struggle.” by Derek @ Journey through the Ultra World
  • “Second loop I was still running for about 10 miles, but my hips and quads continued to stiffen up to the point where it became a real effort to raise my legs to run.  That reduced me to a walk, and although I finished out the loop in 4 hours I knew I was done.” by Mark @ On the Trail of a Welshrunner
  • “But in my haste, I stubbed my toe on a root and was on the ground in a split second. I bent my middle finger back (it’s still swollen a little) and bumped my head on the ground. It was my worst fall in a long time. I lay there for a second to make sure I was ok, and being the ham I am, I took the self portrait.” by TZ @ …miles to go before I sleep…
  • “I am 100 yards from the start line and I get out of the car.  I hear people yelling and screaming.  I think, “they must have just made some pre-race announcement”.  As I jog up leisurely the closer I get I notice there are now no people.  I missed the start!” by Yassine Diboun @ Life on the Run
  • “Two thoughts prevail:  1. I did not come here to walk all night.  I came here to run.  2.  I do not want to wreck the next 2 months of training due to another extended illness.  I have about 2 miles into the next aid station.  If I can generate and maintain enough effort to run a reasonable pace all the way in to Nature Center I will continue.” by Dave @ WordsMyThing

If you have a report or experience to share, please include it in the comment link below.

RD Joe Prusaitis. Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Ballard.


Enduro Photo – Huge number of sweet professional pics. Be sure to check them out.

Special thanks to Lynn Ballard, Josh Baker and Craig Mitchell of, and Deborah Sexton for all the amazing pics!

Check out the TALON Race Guide

There are 119 regional trail/ultra races in the TALON Race Guide. Be sure to check it out if you are looking for a fairly large list of events in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. New events are always being added.

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David –

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

One Response to “Rocky Raccoon 100 / 50 Trail Run – 2011 Results”

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