Summer in Texas often means lacing them up in temperatures approaching and rollin’ into triple digits. It also marks the start of the Capt’n Karl Trail Series where dirt lovers run into the moon-lit hours. The series has changed a bit this year, adding another scamper to the calendar plus two new venues – Colorado Bend State Park and Reveille Ranch. All dirty…and fun!
The first race of this year’s series, Pedernales Falls Trail Run, saw over 300 runners enjoy the rolling, runable, all-trail terrain (gotta have some rocks!) that included a little environmental bonus – low-er humidity.
As is typical with the entire Capt’n Karl series, adventure distances include 60 km (two loop), 30 km (one loop), and 10 km.
Get after it!
After an impressive seven hour finish and top 10 placing in the highly competitive Leona Divide 50 mile (Steven’s race report) in April, Steven Moore was ready for a nocturnal scamper although not his preferred time to run.
“It’s hard for me to set up for an evening start; my body likes getting up early and beginning the run.”
Last year’s race winner and course record holder (5:12:05), Neal Lucas, sat this one out but that didn’t reduce the buzz at the front. Steven took to the front in the early going before finishing the first loop in a course record split of 2:29:05 and feeling good.
Too hot of a first loop? Steven didn’t think so.
“I got through the start/finish with my new supplies and noticed the 2:30 split but wasn’t too concerned that it was too fast. Actually, my main concern at that point was the dust in my eyes from 30k-ers departures and the fact I put my headlamp on upside down!”
Ouch and Oops!
While Steven was pushing a spicy effort, Stephen Baumgartner and female leader, Melanie Fryar, weren’t going to make it easy for him as they passed through the first loop three and four minutes off Steven’s pace but lookin’ to try and catch the two time Cactus Rose 100 winner.
Early into the second loop during a short out-and-back section to the first aid station, Steven received an adrenaline pumping wake-up call – crossing paths with Melanie and Stephen!
“At the time it kinda surprised me and bummed me out that they were on my tail so close; being the hunted has disadvantages! In retrospect, that was a real gut-check and made me hunker down and get moving faster.”
Steven dug in, focused, and didn’t even take a glance at his watch before crossing the finish in a course record time of 5:05:40!
Stephen Baumgartner began to drop off the chase during the middle miles of the second loop but kept it together for a solid second place finish in 5:26:05.
Did Steven think he had a chance at the course record?
“I was thinking pre-race that 5:25-5:30ish would be really good and never even considered taking Neil’s CR away.”
Will we see more watches left at home for race two of the series?
Post-race you will always see Steven hanging with the tribe and sharing his recovery protocol.
“I shared a few Lone Stars (of course!) and then knocked back a few Austin Beer Works Pearsnap Pilsners. The quality canned beer selections are really improving my ‘recovery’ time these days! Always fun to run Tejas Trails events and see my friends on trail and ‘under the tent’ at the finish!”
Top 5 male
- Steven Moore (Ink N Burn) – 5:05:40 (*Course record*)
- Stephen Baumgartner – 5:26:05
- Jeremy Schlachter – 5:47:21
- John Peck – 6:20:33
- Jay Takach – 6:24:58
Melanie Fryar (2nd at Nueces 50 mile in March) wasn’t interested in just the female win, she was interested in the overall!
Melanie leap-frogged with second place male, Stephen Baumgartner, throughout the first 27 miles before accelerating and challenging herself to chase down “Stevette” using her Tractor Supply handheld light purchased on her drive to the event.
With hands full carrying a handheld bottle, light, and food, “eating on the run was hard!”
“I couldn’t figure out how to get the food into my mouth with hands full. So I decided to just dump part of my bag of jelly beans into my mouth. Only I forgot that I had dropped a liquid cap Alive [Alive is a multi-vitamin] into my jelly bean bag. Chomping into liquid Alive is GROSS! My mouth was numb for like three hours.”
A race is rarely perfect, even for those that wear the jalapeno tread. A little comfort for the rest of us.
While not able to quite catch Mr. Moore, Melanie did finish second overall and earn a female win in 5:14:42! And how about a new course record!?!
Low three hour road marathoner, Nicole Studer, finished in a solid fifth overall and second female in 6:05:34.
Top 5 female
- Melanie Fryar (Champion) – 5:14:42 (*course record, 2nd overall*)
- Nicole Studer – 6:05:34 (*5th overall*)
- Teddi Schneider – 6:40:17
- Sydney Pitt – 6:43:50
- Rachel Ballard – 6:45:28
Hells Hills 50 km winner, Anabel Pearson led at the front of the female race and was never seen by road runner and triathlon focused, Carrie Barrett, who was leading the chase.
Anabel went on to win the female race in 2:50:50!
Carrie, the night trail running newbie took a good darkness digger but would not be deterred. She even held onto second place honors, unbeknownst to her.
“ Unfortunately, I did take a spill at mile 15 which jarred me a bit. After a quick inventory, I dusted myself off to finish strong.Truly, I had no idea that I finished 2nd female until they gave me the award. I figured I had to be close because I only passed men in the last three miles.”
Carrie also shared a couple of her strongest memories from this experience.
“How awesome and low key these races are. I participate in a lot of road races and triathlons. So opposite!! The laid-back nature of these events puts you in such a great state of peace.”
“I loved watching the moon and stars come out. I enjoyed the silence and stillness of everything around me. I remember hearing birds and thinking, “This must be what heaven sounds like.” (and then I fell)”
How many of us can relate? Many!
Top 5 female
- Anabel Pearson – 2:50:50
- Carrie Barrett (FOMO Training) – 2:59:42
- Laura Dugan – 3:06:12
- Barbara Hitzfeld – 3:15:30
- Michelle Ottmers – 3:17:11
Brandon Ostrander was back to defend his 2011 win but unlike 2011, the dude in chase, Stefan Grater, was close enough at the finish to read the brand name of his tread.
Brandon earned the painful finish and male win in 2:22:26, just over two minutes faster than last year. This two minutes earned him a new course record as well!
Top 5 male
- Brandon Ostrander – 2:22:26 (*course record*)
- Stefan Grater – 2:22:30
- Scott Rabb – 2:26:28
- Zach Sokoloski – 2:34:18
- Jonathan Moody – 2:36:28
While it was his first Pedernales scamper, male winner, Collin Bond said it was another typical Joe Prusaitis race – “Hot, rocky and technical, but extremely fun!! ”
Collin’s biggest challenge came from female winner, Rachel St. Martin, who hung on his heels until mile four before he dialed up the effort to create separation.
Collin reflects on his strongest memories from his adventure. And…he will be back!
“Just the beauty of the course and all the wonderful people who help organize it. It was my first time to Pedernales Falls, but without a doubt will not be my last. And the best part is this gem is just 35 minutes outside of ATX.”
Eric Pearson earned runner-up honors.
Top 5 male
- Collin Bond (Core Runnning Company) – 45:22
- Eric Pearson – 50:38
- John Shaw – 51:49
- Jimmy Angeles – 52:58
- Brian McDonald – 53:27
The females earned four of the top 10 positions with Rachel St. Martin finishing second overall and the female win in 47:33. Yep it happened. Rachel set another course record!
Stacy Bruce finished fourth overall and second female.
Top 5 female
- Rachel St. Martin – 47:33 (*course record, 2nd overall*)
- Stacy Bruce – 51:21 (*4th overall*)
- Katie Muladore – 51:44 (*5th overall*)
- Jeanmarie Lord – 53:14 (*8th overall*)
- Kaytlynn Welsch – 55:32 (*age 11*)
The Tough-as-Nails Award
The 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:
- Richard Mihalik got across that 60 km finish line in 10:29:47!
Race Reports and Pics
- “Mile 20 was the beginning of some of the worst physical suffering I have ever been through. I thought about quitting for virtually every step for the next 10 miles. Immediately after descending again into the river bed my left quad began cramping so bad I could barely walk. I looked down at it with my headlamp and it was quivering and spasming like one of those alien movies where some nefarious life form has invaded your body and is about to erupt out of your skin.” by Jason @ souljourning
- “Somewhere around the one hour mark, I started feeling really good and picked up the pace. Uphill or downhill, it didn’t matter. After the first aid station, I looked to my left and saw an amazing sunset.” by Scott @ Your Body is Your Engine
- Race Pics – Be sure to check out all the great Enduro Photo images.
Talk some Dirt
- New to night trail running? What did you think of the unique running experience?
- How did you 60 km, 30 km, or 10 km adventure go?
Special thanks to Steven Moore, Melanie Fryar, Carrie Barrett, and Collin Bond for sharing a glimpse into their experience with us. Also a big thanks to Rick at Enduro Photo for all the great pics 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 – EnduranceBuzz.com