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The Duel Trail Race

Nueces 50 Mile – 2012 USATF 50 Mile Trail Championship Preview

This weekend is the USATF 50 Mile Trail Championship with the tread flying once again in the state of Texas at the Nueces 50 mile Trail Run in Rocksprings, Texas. Joe Prusaitis and Tejas Trails will deliver the second USATF championship of the year (Bandera hosted the 100 km championship in January).

Currently there are 17 men and 9 women excited to scamper on this beautiful and challenging course while going after the win and part of the $3000 cash purse. The cash awards will run top 3 and top masters for both the men and women. In terms of a championship, you have pretty good odds of paying for dinner for you and a few friends.

A total of six states are represented with the majority from the home turf state of Texas. Looks like the numbers lacing them up are still low, but growing from last year…more so for the women then the men.

Unfortunately, both champs from last year, Liza Howard and Jason Schlarb will not be racing this year.

So who are some of the speedsters lacing them up?

The Fast Footed Females

The female scamper is represented by women from Colorado, Georgia, and Texas. Here are a few that will likely be going after the win or a top placing.

  • Michele Suszek (CO) – Michele ran a spicy 2:40:33 at the Olympics trial in January. This effort was after acquiring a foot injury four weeks before the Trials that significantly limited any training…and even put a damper on walking. Michele was also a member of the 2011 US Mountain Running Team. I couldn’t find much for results above the marathon distance. Michele definitely has the top end speed, will she have the endurance and race management experience for the 50 mile distance?
  • Lorena Devlyn (TX) – This Austin local won the female race at Rocky Raccoon 50 mile in February with a 8:41:38 time. Lorena also has run an impressive sub-9 hour finish at the Comrades 89 km scamper.
  • Melanie Fryar (CO) – Melanie has won or placed high in ultra distances from the 50 km to 100 km distances. As a former Texas Hill Country resident, Melanie knows the terrain and local race environment. Recently Melanie set a new 50 km course record at the Bandera 50 km with a time of 4:24:47 and breaking her own record by over 26 minutes!

Malanie Fryar cruising along the 3 Sisters on her course record run at Bandera 50km in January. (Photo: David Hanenburg)

The Speedy Men

The men’s race will have tread from Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas.

  • Paul Terranova (TX) – Paul is a top placer in nearly ever race he enters. This dude is extremely consistent. Sub 3 hour road marathoner and was the top TALON runner at the 2012 USATF 100 km championship at Bandera, finishing 6th overall in a time of 9:08:58.

Paul Terranova at Bandera 100 km. (Photo: David Hanenburg)

  • Jason Bryant (NC) – This dude goes after the shorter distance La Sportiva Mountain Cup Series but he is ready to get after it at Nueces. Jason knows the terrain and course as he finished third last year in 6:51!

Jason Bryant finishing third at Bandera 100 km in 2011. (Photo: David Hanenburg)

  •  Steven Moore (TX) – Steven brings the fast tread and the post race beer! He finished fourth overall last year in 7:00:07. Last October Steven broke his course record at the Cactus Rose 100 and set the new target of 19:28:32.

Steven gets a dream cover after Cactus Rose 100 win last October. (Credit: David Hanenburg)

  •  Eric Loffland (GA) – Last weekend Eric ran the Cowtown Ultra (50 km – road) in a spicy 3:28:08, placing second in the event. How will the legs feel racing Nueces one week later?
  • Dan Vega (CO) – Has a range of 50km to 100 mile experience. He just went over 19 hours at Rocky Raccoon 100 this February.
  • Kevin Pool (TX) – Kevin ran a fast 2:49 at the Houston marathon last month. Haven’t found any trail or ultra experience for him though.
  • Dave James (AZ) – Expect Dave to run off the front early on. Dave was leading the 100 km championship at Bandera in January before dropping midway into the race. The dude likes to go out hard! Dave finished second at Nueces last year with a 6:43:24 finish time.

Dave James made it look easy at Bandera 100 km in 2011. This isn't a photo at the start...but the finish. He looks like he is just warming up. (Photo: David Hanenburg)

  • Brent Bellm (TX) – Brent is a 3:09-ish road marathoner and lowered his 50 km time at Bandera by 10 minutes in January (4:36). It looks like he focuses more on the 50 km trail distances. It will be interesting to see how he handles the 50 mile distance.
Complete list of entrants.

A look at the Sky

Weather looks to be amazing for the event as a nice cool front appears to move in and drop the temps to run-happy high of 59F on Saturday.

Talk some Dirt

  • Will there be a course record this year? (men – 6:28:26 (Jason Schlarb), women – 8:09:59 (Liza Howard))
  • Any predictions for the win?
  • Do you have any insight on any of the runners in the championship?
  • How about a surprise performance?
  • Are you running? How are you feelin’?

Good luck to everyone. Enjoy a wonderful day on some sweet Texas Hill Country trails!

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David – EnduranceBuzz.com

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.

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