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Palo Duro Trail Run 2012 Results – Nicole Studer Runs Sub-8 in the Canyon Cooker

It’s a dry heat!

Sunrise in Palo Duro Canyon! (Photo: Courtesy Corina Cervantes)

The Palo Duro Trail Run is one of those races you have to experience at least once in your trail running journey. It really is one of those special Texas trail races that has a laid back vibe, lots of hospitality, and scenic views…oh the views. For first time visitors you may question these so called “views” during the drive to north west Texas but once you reach Palo Duro Canyon all those questions are quickly answered!

Palo During Canyon is a mini Grand Canyon. The entire race takes place within the canyon on a main 12.5 mile loop that has a variety of little risers, rock bed and groomed running surfaces, and a good amount of exposure (little tree coverage) which allows you to soak up the surrounding scenery but also leaves no place to hide if it gets hot. This October 20th scamper did get toasty during the afternoon hours. Fried egg sandwiches were rumored to be served off the red rock at Dos Loco Senoritas aid station. [This rumor has not been verified. 😉 ]

Glistening temps didn’t stop spicy times and inspiring stick-it-out performances within the 50 mile, 50km, and 20km adventures.


(Photo: : Courtesy Corina Cervantes)

50 mile

Men’s Race

Quent Bearden is frequently seen lacing them up at Palo Duro and the dude loves to run fast. Quent was back to get after it after struggling a bit through the final 25 miles last year, yet able to hold onto second place (7:10).

This year the male race had a bit of company through the first loop with Quent, John Cobbs of Alabama, and Thomas Aten of Oklahoma. They passed through the first of four loops in 1:41 – 1:42.

Then Quent dropped the hammer, running a 1:33 loop two and creating a seven minute gap from John, the closest chaser.

Quent ran more consistent splits for the final two loops to drop his time from 2011 and win the male race in 7:05:01!

Somehow I have a feeling Quent is after a sub-7 on this course. Would be fun to watch him try!

John maintained second place honors.

Top 5 male

  1. Quent Bearden – 7:05:01
  2. John Cobbs – 8:14:12
  3. Thomas Aten – 8:17:26
  4. Ryan Holler – 8:44:49
  5. Bob Post – 9:16:01

Yeah baby! (Photo: Courtesy Corina Cervantes)

Women’s Race

Throughout the summer, Nicole Studer, was kickin’ up the night-time dirt during the Capt Karl 60 km series where she won two out of the three races she entered.  Nicole headed out to west Texas for her first 50 mile adventure and was ready to get after it.

“I felt great leading up to Palo Duro. My training has been going well and I was excited to run my first 50 miler.”

Being a dark start, Nicole shares one of the special moments of the day – The world awakes.

“I enjoyed running through the canyon and watching the sun rise. The trails were absolutely beautiful.’

 The watchless runner simply listened to her body and ran off 1:57, 1:54, 2:01, and 2:02 splits. How is that for body awareness?

This smooth effort led to a female win in 7:56:36…and second overall!

Always running and racing, Parvaneh Moayedi, crossed the finish for second place.

Top 5 female (looks like only three female finishers)

  1. Nicole Studer – 7:56:36
  2. Parvaneh Moayedi – 11:16:34
  3. Kimberly Pilcher – 11:46:31

Complete 50 mile results

One of the risers on the varied terrain. (Photo: Courtesy Corina Cervantes)

50 km

Women’s Race

Austin athlete, Rachel Blair, led the female race early on, running a sub one-hour 10km initial loop.

Trail running rookie-of-sorts, Noreen Henry, was in the mix at the front and giddy to be back on the trails.

“This was my first time to run the canyon and my first 50km. It was glorious. I did the Rough Creek Marathon, a few weeks earlier as a training run. It was my first trail race and was a great confidence builder.”

 Rachel went on to run two fairly consistent 20km splits to win the female race in a sub-5 effort of 4:58:48! A nice drop of over 15 minutes from her 2011 scamper.

Noreen kept ticking through the miles enjoying this special environment.

“Seeing yourself surrounded by the amazing canyons was just spectacular. I often reminded myself to look up and soak it all in.”

Starting around mile 20, Noreen struggled through a low patch with a focus to get to an oasis in the arid and toasty canyon – Dos Loco Senoritas Aid Station.

“The lovely ladies doused me with cool refreshing water and I was good as new!”

With renewed spunk, Noreen went on to runner-up honors.

Top 5 female

  1. Rachel Blair – 4:58:48
  2. Noreen Henry – 5:47:58
  3. Suann Lundsberg – 6:25:11
  4. Emily Tippett – 6:34:39
  5. Stephanie Jagoda – 6:34:39

(Photo: Courtesy Corina Cervantes)

Men’s Race

Robert Parker went out hard the first 10km, leading all 50k runners through the canyon. Over the next 20 km, Shane Petrey of Amarillo, reeled in Robert and moved to the front of the race with Paul Smith close behind in chase.

Shane put together a final 20km loop to win the male race in 4:29:34!

Paul held onto second place finishing sub-5.

Top 5 male

  1. Shane Petrey – 4:29:34
  2. Paul Smith – 4:44:34
  3. Nathan Duvall – 4:49:01
  4. Steve Mall – 4:54:58
  5. Chris Finley – 5:09:22
Complete 50km results

Mark Olateju looking strong. (Photo: Courtesy Corina Cervantes)

20 km

Men’s Race

Nathan Jenkins ran a sub-7 minute pace to win the male race by 11+ minutes in 1:25:42.

Kevin Donnelly earned second place honors.

Top 5 male

  1. Nathan Jenkins – 1:25:42
  2. Kevin Donnelly – 1:37:23
  3. Chris Juneau – 1:39:07
  4. Michael Knapp – 1:42:24
  5. Brent Katz – 1:42:45

Photo: Courtesy Corina Cervantes

Women’s Race

Anna Thibodo knocked off nearly two minutes from her 2011 effort to win the female scamper in 1:37:33. Included with that is third overall.

Kimberly Drechsel led the chase group for a second place finish.

Top 5 female

  1. Anna Thibodo – 1:37:33
  2. Kimberly Drechsel – 1:43:54
  3. Leana Sloan – 1:47:43
  4. Sarah Bell – 1:51:22
  5. Nicole Shannon – 1:57:23

Complete 20km results

Corina and Julie living one of the top trail running rules - Have Fun! (Photo: Courtesy Corina Cervantes)

Inspiration Point

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

  • Jeanne Greathouse (age 65), Craig Woods (age 70), Robert Anderson (age 71), Robert Thurman (age 66), Frank Mays (age 66), Ron Daniel (age 74), Alan Engisch (age 73), Joe Lucionni (age 73), and David Daniel (age 66).
Pure awesomeness!! (That’s a word right?)

Life is play. Play is life.

Race Reports and Groovy Vid

  • “Last 12.5 mile loop time. I get about 2 miles into it, and the heat suddenly hits me hard. I knew it was getting hot, but all of a sudden, it’s like the heat is radiating off of every rock, grain of sand, and bush.” by Libby @ The Active Joe
  • “Before we started Susan and I started to notice one big difference from the folks I usually race with to this group. No one really gets in a hurry. They are all just laid back and chill with just a few minutes before the race starts.” by Keebler @ Run Keebler Run

Here is a cool video by 50 mile finisher Barrett Langton. Big congrats to him!

If you can’t see the video, click here.)

Talk some Dirt

  • How was your Palo Duro experience? Tell me about that sunrise.

Special thanks to Nicole Studer, Noreen Henry and Corina Cervantes for their gracious support with this article.

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 “Palo Duro Trail Run 2012 Results – Nicole Studer Runs Sub-8 in the Canyon Cooker”

  1. on 17 Dec 2012 at 5:45 pm James @RedDirtRunner

    Proud of my local boy and fellow NWA Goat, Ryan Holler, who cranked out a solid 4th place finish in the 50 miler.

  2. on 18 Dec 2012 at 9:32 am Steven

    I’ve been meaning to fit this one in for a few years now. 2013? Hmmm.

  3. on 18 Dec 2012 at 1:18 pm Jonathan

    This was certainly not the day to be running the 50 miler. Temp in the canyon got to 108. Last year it was 105. 50 milers who finish in 12 (cutoff) have cajones in my book. I ran the 50K and was glad I wasn’t out there as the day got warmer. Temp at the start was in the 40s but anyone who has run the Canyon knows that doesn’t last. Too bad that Deadman Peaks was the same weekend as a lot of NM runners stayed in NM. Ran the 50K and at the time was my 50K PR. On target to finish under 6 but the wheels fell off on the back half and had to manage the damage. Boring drive from Houston but the run is worth it when you get on the course. The Senioritas are Legen-wait for it-dary, including their date bars! Great hospitality.

  4. on 20 Dec 2012 at 4:39 pm David Hanenburg

    @James – Arkansas getting it done in West Texas – Nice!
    @Steven – Definitely worth at least one visit to the canyon. It would be a spicy course for you…assuming the heat doesn’t set you on fire.

    @Jonathan – It is always interesting…that cold start and boiling temps by mid afternoon. It is always worth it once you get to the canyon.