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Athens Big Fork Trail Marathon – 2012 Results

Results just came out for this challenging low-key run from back in January, the Athens Big Fork Trail marathon in western Arkansas.

Photo: Courtesy Russell Bennett

As stated by the event organizers, this is not an event for trail newbies as they do not have the interest or personnel to go looking for your lost butt. No joke!

An IQ test is also included to deter folks – “If you cannot find the Big Fork Community Center without further instructions–please disregard this race.”

This scamper has both a marathon and 17 mile scamper that guides runners on a 100+ year old postal trail. The marathon runs the out-and-back course twice which includes some road before running up some gnarly trail that includes 4600 feet of climbing with an average grade of 12%. Now do it twice!

111 played and 111 were accounted for at the end of the day!


Photo: Courtesy Russell Bennett


Darin Schneidewind trailed the leader by a couple minutes at the halfway point before moving to the front at around the 18 mile mark. With a chase group pushing, Darin would not be caught and won the male race in 4:49:29.

Adam Dearing crossed the line second in 4:59.

Top 5 male

  1. Darin Schneidewind – 4:49:29
  2. Adam Dearing – 4:59
  3. Steve McBee – 5:04:28
  4. Mike Rush – 5:04:28
  5. Stephen O’Neal – 5:16:57

Photo: Courtesy Russell Bennett

Alison Jumper separated herself from the main pointy end group to finish ninth overall and win the female race in 5:23.

Julia Barbel and Natalie McBee were separated by a scant 10 seconds with Julia sneaking across the line first for second place honors in 5:49:40.

Top 5 female

  1. Alison Jumper – 5:23
  2. Julia Barbel – 5:49:40
  3. Natalie McBee – 5:49:50
  4. Katie Helms – 6:08:31
  5. Deb Baker – 6:16:40

Photo: Courtesy Russell Bennett

17 Mile

Kathy Wilson went sub-4 for the 17 mile scamper to win the female race in 3:52:37 and finish seventh overall.

Kristin Snyder was alone in second and crossed the line in 4:34.

Top 5 female

  1. Kathy Wilson – 3:52:37
  2. Kristin Snyder – 4:34
  3. Cecilia Maggard – 4:50
  4. Whitney Kirby – 4:50
  5. Becka Gartner – 5:26

Photo: Courtesy Russell Bennett

Blake Shaw averaged under an 11 min/mile pace to create a 26+ minute gap and win the male race in 3:03:46.

Brandon Gardner created a small gap from the chase group to finish second in 3:30:15.

Top 5 male

  1. Blake Shaw – 3:03:46
  2. Brandon Gardner – 3:30:15
  3. Tim Hall – 3:34:39
  4. Nico Hall – 3:44:45
  5. Jeremy Pate – 3:46

Photo: Courtesy Russell Bennett

Besides the above two distances, a group of 10 ran between 12 and 13.1 miles.

Complete results

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:

  • Tom Lane appeared to roll through as the final finisher but no time. Eric Steele and Polly Choate enjoyed the miles together and crossed the finish in 9:13:59.

Eric Steele and Polly Choate getting it done as a team! (Photo: Courtesy Russell Bennett)

Race Reports

  • “I looked at the results from previous years, and thought I can do that.  So I set out to run this race and see what I could do.  Most people would taper for a race like this, but not runnerfreak.” by Darin @ RUNNERFREAK
  • “This section of the trail was pretty overgrown so bushwhacking was in order. As was giving some distance to the runner in front of you or paying the price with a branch swinging back and hitting you where it counts.” by RunningFarmer

How to end a race - Thumbs way up! (Photo: Courtesy Russell Bennett)

Let’s talk Dirt

  • How was the trail adventure?
  • How long are some of the biggest climbs?
  • With all the climbing on the way out, how did the quads handle all the downhill grade on the way back?

Special thanks to Russell Bennett for all the great scamper photos you see above!

Check out the TALON Race Guide

There are 150+ 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.

4 Responses to “Athens Big Fork Trail Marathon – 2012 Results”

  1. on 22 Feb 2012 at 3:59 pm james @reddirtrunner

    David, you should come get some next year.

  2. on 22 Feb 2012 at 4:01 pm David Hanenburg

    Hopefully I could pass the IQ test! 😉

  3. on 22 Feb 2012 at 11:12 pm Jacob

    I’ve been wanting to do that race for years! Looks amazing! Will definitely make the trip in 2013.

  4. on 23 Feb 2012 at 10:58 am David Hanenburg

    Hey Jacob – This definitely looks like a fun scamper. I would be interested in checking out a profile of the route. An average of 12% grade sounds uncomfortably fun! 🙂