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Cactus Rose Trail Run – 2011 Results

Over the weekend, the Hill Country State Natural Area in Bandera, Texas showcased rugged beauty, magical October weather, and the inspiring determination and courage of 200+ trail runners at the Cactus Rose Trail Run.

Sunrise at Cactus Rose!

While most trail race aid-stations will have a selection of foods and hydration options, Cactus Rose takes a unique minimalist approach and guarantees water/ice and little else. The format requires you to bring your own nutrition needs (which can be left at the various aid-stations every five miles). It also provides a very tranquil and peaceful journey as you arrive at each aid-station, take care of your needs, and continue on with your journey.

The course consists of a main 25 mile loop that contains consistently varied terrain with the biggest climbs in the 200-350 feet range that offer some sweet views of the area. Rocks small, big, loose, and fixed are scattered throughout the course as you climb 1800 feet per loop.

Race distances include a 100 mile, 50 mile, and new this year – 100 mile 4-person relay. One other unique aspect is you run each subsequent loop in the opposite direction. So you continually alternate between a clockwise and counter clockwise loop until you reach your race distance.


5:00 AM start!

100 mile

From the start, 2010 winner Steven Moore heads to the front and pushes a spicy 9:40 pace over the first 25 mile loop and created a 15+ minute gap from youthful speedster Brian Hopton-Jones and Pompillo Romero.

How spicy was Steven’s effort? His 4:01:44 25 mile split was one of the fastest loop splits for the entire race including 50 mile and relay racers. Only a couple relay teams were able to out-scamper Steven’s split. The dude was ultra flying!

Steven Moore signing autographs after loop 1. (Each aid station required you to put your number and time to help keep track of you along the course.)

Steven continued a solid push through the counter-clockwise loop finishing 50 miles in 8:25:30 while increasing the gap. Brian led the chase 37 minutes back with Lorenzo Sanchez moving up through the field, 50 minutes back.

Steven reached mile 75 with a 5:08 loop split and overall time of 13:33:37. Lorenzo’s 5:12 split moved him just in front of Brian at mile 75. The gap to Steven – 55 minutes.

Brian Hopton-Jones (#35) during the middle miles. Enjoying the day with fellow runners.

Over the final 25 night-time miles, Steven runs a 5:55 split and wins the 100 mile scamper by nearly 43 minutes with a course record setting time of 19:28:32! Steven had set the previous course record last year (19:35:47).

Lorenzo continued to separate from Brian and finished second in 20:11:20, 46+ minutes faster than his previous best time on this course.

Brian was forced into a monster power-walk for most of the entire last loop due to knee issues. In good spirits, Brian finished third male in 22:20:23. This was a one hour 33 minute minute improvement from his 2010 Cactus Rose effort. Think about that!

Top 5 male

  1. Steven Moore – 19:28:32 (*course record*)
  2. Lorenzo Sanchez – 20:11:20
  3. Brian Hopton-Jones – 22:20:23
  4. Thomas Orf – 22:59:21
  5. Brad Quinn – 23:34:01

Three weeks after winning the Slickrock 100 (18:16:12), Colorado athlete Rhonda Claridge, quickly moved to the front of the Cactus Rose female race.  After a 4:36:11 loop 1 split, Rhonda cruised into mile 50 in 9:43:45, 71+ minutes in front of the next chaser, Rachel Ballard.

Through the remaining 50 miles, Rhonda continued to inspire as she maintained fairly consistent splits and moved through the top runners of the male race and crossed the finish line third overall, winning the female race in 21:49:28!

Rachel was firmly in second and earned seventh overall in 25:38:47.

Mariela Botella and Jeremy Day hiking some grade. (Photo: Courtesy Suann Lundsberg)

Top 5 female

  1. Rhonda Claridge – 21:49:28 (*3rd overall*)
  2. Rachel Ballard – 25:38:47 (*7th overall*)
  3. Julie Grant – 28:55:50
  4. Melissa Davis – 29:11:13
  5. Jean Cummings Perez  – 29:50:44

50 mile

Anabel Pearson (23:42 – 2011 Rocky Raccoon 100) ran a 4:36 split over the first 25 mile loop. Anabel slowed some during loop two but continued to lead the female inspiration train finishing 9th overall and top female in 10:03:00.

Shaheen Sattar (2011 El Scorcho 50 km female winner – 4:15:47) ran an impressive negative split (5:29, 5:14) and earning second place honors in 10:43:25.

Runners getting it done at Boyles Bump.

Top 5 female

  1. Anabel Pearson – 10:03:00 (*9th overall*)
  2. Shaheen Sattar – 10:43:25
  3. Amanda Alvarado – 11:55:05
  4. Mary Ellen Klassen – 12:05:19
  5. Mariela Botella – 12:09:24

Eric Herzog dashed off a 4:02:25 loop 1 that created a five minute gap from the next chaser, Greg Foreman. The gap stuck! Eric held on to the male win, crossing the finish line in 8:44:29.

Eric Herzog heading out for loop 2!

Greg cruised through the finish six-ish minutes later for second place in 8:50:37.

Top 5 male

  1. Eric Herzog – 8:44:29
  2. Greg Foreman – 8:50:37
  3. Gregory Brant – 9:10:56
  4. Stefan Grater – 9:33:01
  5. Andres Sanchez – 9:43:38

100 mile Relay

Team Right Stuff average sub-10 minute miles across the 100 miles to win the 4-person team relay in 16:23:20.

Beauty & The Beasts averaged a 10:26 pace over the 528,000 foot journey to earn runner-up honors in 17:23:54.

Top 5 relay teams

  1. Right Stuff – 16:23:20
  2. Beauty & the Beasts – 17:23:54
  3. Four Musketeers – 21:20:33
  4. Bandera Bandits – 21:41:38
  5. C3&D – 22:47:17

Complete results

Multiple unidentified species of Cactus observed throughout the course. Here is one of the speedy one's that surprisingly wasn't moving.

Inspiration Point

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

  • Paul Jensen (age 68) finished the 100 mile adventure!

Life is play. Play is life.

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:

  • Barb Hrubesh would not stop until she finished the 100 mile adventure in 35:07:34.

Race Reports, Interviews, and Pics

  • “Going up Cairns, I took a moment to look off to the right for a fantastic view of the park.  Another woman going the opposite direction also looked and lamented that we weren’t using all the flat trails we could see down below, but where’s the fun in that?” by ultra.tortoise @ A Trail Runner’s Running Blog
  • “It doesn’t matter the distance. I go out too fast (relative to me, of course). It’s what I do. I don’t even fight it any more. I figure I’ll have to recover 10 miles up the trail anyways, whether I ran slow or not.” by David @ David’s Confusing Blog
  • EB Interview with Steven Moore
  • EB Interview with Rhonda Claridge

If you have any thoughts or experiences to share from the event, feel free to comment below!

Special thanks to Suann Lundsberg for sharing a photo with us!

BTW – Live Cactus Rose Coverage was a bust and I apologize for the lack of coverage. I just couldn’t hold a data signal and struggled all day with it. Surprisingly enough, I haven’t given up on this location. New strategy may be tried at Bandera 100km. 🙂

Check out the TALON Race Guide

There are 157 regional trail/ultra races in the TALON Race Guide. Be sure to check it out if you are looking for the most complete 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.

2 Responses to “Cactus Rose Trail Run – 2011 Results”

  1. on 01 Nov 2011 at 5:38 pm Chris R

    David, it was great seeing you out there and nice recap. One correction, Jean Cummings Perez was 5th female in 100. Look forward to having you join us for the 100 next year!

  2. on 01 Nov 2011 at 6:17 pm David Hanenburg

    Chris – Dude, so great to see you during the day and chat after your finish. A huge congratulations to you!

    Great results catch! I really appreciate it! I have updated the article.

    Next year? Who knows. Anything is possible. 🙂