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Big Rock Mystery Run – 2012 Results

On March 17, over 70 adventure seekers played at the 10th race of the Run Arkansas Ultra Trail Series, the Big Rock Mystery Run.

So what’s the course? Sorry, it’s a surprise.

How far? 12-13 miles…or 10-ish. Something like that.

Photo: Copyright Joe Jacobs /

Anything else you can tell me? Nope. Well, one thing…maybe two. Some trail, some road. And you need to pick up one of 13 cards at each checkpoint to make sure you got to enjoy the entire course.

Where’s it at? That we can tell you. Meet at Riverview Skateboard park in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The only guarantee – This will be fun!

Now you know where the “Mystery” in the name comes from. 🙂


Photo: Copyright Joe Jacobs /

Thomas Chapin and Mark DenHerder were able to grab all 13 cards along the route that led runners along a bounty of water crossings, tunnels, rocks, and scenic views of the area. Thomas was able to create just over a minute gap to win the male scamper in 1:24:25.

Mark DenHerder with the focused stride. (Photo: Copyright Joe Jacobs /

Mark held onto second.

Top 5 male

  1. Thomas Chapin – 1:24:25
  2. Mark DenHerder – 1:25:33
  3. Scott Sander – 1:28:00 (missed one card – 2:00 minute penalty)
  4. David Joseph – 1:33:23
  5. Cliff Ferren – 1:45:28 (missed one card – 2:00 penalty)

Katie Helms led the early miles before Deb Baker moved up and joined Katie at the front of the female adventure. They remained attached at the hip for the remaining miles. Katie reflected on the effort, “Deb and I were pushing to stay as far ahead as we could. It sort of turned into a game towards the end to see how far and fast we could crank up our pace.”

While an extremely enjoyable run together, it didn’t quite all go as planned as Katie shares.

“Our biggest problem was that we both missed not one, but two checkpoints. We knew we missed #3, but then somehow we both missed #11 as well… one of the perils of group-think. That was embarrassing, and still a mystery.”

Katie Helms and Deb Baker leading the front of this trail running train. (Photo: Copyright Joe Jacobs /

Would they have an elbow flying sprint to the finish, winner takes all. Nah…Deb shares.

“Maybe she could have passed me at the end, maybe I could have passed her. It just felt good to finish together because it seemed like a team effort.”

Even with the four minute penalties Deb and Katie scooted across the finish together in a penalty adjusted time of 1:45:41, tied for sixth overall.

Can running a trail scamper eliminate some running tweaks? Sometimes…and it did for Deb.

“I had not been running prior to the race because of tendinitis in my lower leg. I guess running a lot of ultras teaches you to push away the pain and keep going, so that’s what I did. I am good to go now though!”

Jenny Wilkes was able to grab all the cards and finish second.

Top 5 female

  1.  Deb Baker / Katie Helms – 1:45:41 (missed two cards)
  2. Jenny Wilkes – 1:47:52
  3. Becky Humes – 1:57:00
  4. Melanie Baden – 1:57:57
  5. Chrissy Ferguson – 2:00:14
Complete results

Race Reports and Pics

  • “I posted my race recap from the Big Rock Mystery Run on the RW Forum and got a curious reply.” by Khourtniey @ Life as a convert…
  • “Racers did make a couple more runs to the top of Fort Roots with some very steep trail sections, getting all the way back into the quarry area and a tunnel with wet rocks that had to be negotiated with tired legs.” – Great general vibe of the event by Joe Jacobs of Arkansas Outside.

Photo: Copyright Joe Jacobs /

Talk some Dirt

  • What was your favorite part of the course?

I love our tribe! 🙂 I think this one needs a caption. Anyone? (Photo: Copyright Joe Jacobs /

A huge thanks to Joe Jacobs of Arkansas Outside for all the great photos you see above.

Also, special thanks to Katie Helms and Deb Baker for sharing thoughts on the day with the Endurance Buzz tribe.

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.

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