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USATF Age Group Trail Series and New Championship Coming to Texas

The first (I believe) USATF (USA Track & Field) age group trail series in the TALON region is coming to Texas in 2013. This age group series idea was spearheaded by Ben Phenix and Joe Prusaitis of Tejas Trails with a combined emphasis on participation and spicy tread across ultra and sub-ultra distances as Joe explains,

“He [Ben] did a fair amount of research looking at other organizations that had created a Series Championship. We did not want to have a winner who simply ran the most races and did not want a winner who ran only one or two races. The idea was to award the best runners who ran a fair amount of events. So a minimum of four to qualify and a maximum 7 to score points. We even split it into Ultra & Sub-Ultra categories so that the guys who just ran the longest races had an unfair advantage over those who never ran long.”

For 2013, the series will only be in the South Texas association region in a state divided up into five USATF regions. The series will also only consist of Tejas Trails races (currently 11 races with distances from 10 km to 100 mile). In reality, this is a USATF Tejas Trails series for 2013 and Joe digs the idea to open it up to more Texas races throughout the state in 2014 after he “work out all the kinks” in 2013.

“I’d love it if this could be a state-wide series and get all five associations involved. After all, within my trail races, people are coming in from all over the state anyway. In reality, the Point Series is not going to separate people out because of their association, but South Texas Association is the only one who pushed me to do this and provide the support.”

Basics to be a part of the series:

  1. Have a USATF individual membership by the time you run your first race of the series ($30 – yearly)
  2. Let Joe know you want to be part of the series and be included in the trail series database. Contact Joe (Joe mentioned this process will be eventually improved.)
  3. Run a minimum of four 2013 Tejas Trails races within one or both of the sub-ultra (below 50 km distance) or ultra divisions (50 km and greater distances).

There also is a bit of cash prize money in the mix – currently $10,000 to be spread across the ultra and sub-ultra categories going three-deep per age group.

The first race in the series starts in less than two weeks at the USATF 100 km championship – Bandera.

Scott Eppelman enjoying a Hill Country scamper Bandera-style. (Photo: David Hanenburg)

More details on the series can be checked out on the Tejas Trails page.

Share Your Thoughts on the Series

  • What do you think of the age-group series concept?
  • Are you excited, concerned, or indifferent about cash prizes coming into the sport?

Rocky Raccoon 100 2014 USATF 100 Mile Trail Running Championship

The now sold-out-long-before-race-day Rocky Raccoon 100 mile has been selected as the USATF 100 Mile Trail Championship for 2014!

Photo: David Hanenburg

This is not the first time the 100 mile championship has taken place on the groovin’ pine needled terrain of Huntsville State Park. Back in 2006, the championship was basically placed in Joe’s lap thanks to a bid and convincing by friend Eric Clifton.

“Eric called me and insisted that I accept the bid. I didn’t really know what he was talking about but agreed with him anyway. So he presented a bid in my place and then he told me we won it. And we ran it. That was the year Rocky took off.”

That year Jorge Pacheco ran a screaming 13:16:56, missing a world record by seconds. The following year Jenn Shelton set and still holds the 100 mile female course record of 14:57:18. And who can forget the sub-13 hour 2011 performance of Ian Sharman. If you followed the ultra trail scene that year and didn’t know of Ian before Rocky, you sure did afterwards.

The race has continued to grow to its now waiting-list status thanks to the growth of the sport along with quality event focus you get with Joe, Joyce and team.

With this growth there will be a few changes coming in 2014. With the huge demand for the event and limits to the number of tread allowed on the trail (750), the 100 mile and 50 mile event will be split across two weekends as Joe explains.

 “This far out, I don’t know what the park calendar looks like, but I’d like for the races to be two weekends in a row. Both race would have a 750 person limit. My biggest issue is all about the staff & volunteers.”

 There also will be a race director addition to the Tejas Trails team. Liza Howard will be directing the 50 mile race with support from Joe. Joe will maintain directing lead for the 100 mile scamper.

Share Your 2014 Rocky Raccoon Thoughts

  •  What do you think of the split in race distances across two different weekends?
  • Do you think it is kind of cool to have national trail championships in the TALON region?
  • Who’s in for the Rocky Raccoon double dip? (Snag a 50 mile and 100 mile finish.)

For fun…Currently identified USATF Trail/Ultra Championships for 2013-2015

2013

  • 100km Trail – Bandera 01/12/13 Bandera TX
  • 50mi Trail – Nueces 03/02/13 Rocksprings TX
  • 50km Road – Caumsett 03/03/13 Long Island NY
  • 100km Road – Mad City 04/20/13 Madison WI
  • 10km Trail – Beech Mountain 06/29/13 Beech Mountain NC
  • Mountain – Cranmore Hill Climb 07/21/13 North Conway NH
  • 100mi Trail – Burning River 07/27/13 Cleveland OH
  • Trail Marathon – Pikes Peak 08/18/13 Manitou Springs CO
  • 50mi Road – Tussey Mountainback 10/20/13 Boalsburg PA
  • 24 Hour – 24 The Hard Way 10/26/13 Oklahoma City OK
  • Trail Half Marathon – Moab 11/02/13 Moab UT
  • 50km Trail – Bootlegger 11/09/13 Boulder City NV

2014

  • 100km Trail – Bandera 1/11/14 Bandera TX
  • 100mi Trail – Rocky Raccoon 2/1/14 Huntsville TX
  • 50km Road – Caumsett 03/02/14 Long Island NY
  • 100km Road – Mad City 04/19/14 Madison WI
  • 24 Hours – North Coast 04/19/14 Cleveland OH
  • 50mi Trail – Cayuga 06/07/14 Ithaca NY
  • 10km Trail – Beech Mountain 7/x/2014 Beech Mountain NC

2015

  • 50km Road – Caumsett 03/01/15 Long Island NY
  • 24 Hours – North Coast 04/18/15 Cleveland OH

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.

4 Responses to “USATF Age Group Trail Series and New Championship Coming to Texas”

  1. on 02 Jan 2013 at 2:52 pm Jonathan

    It is cool to have championship races in Texas. Just look at the names on the entrants list for Bandera. With the likes of Meltzer, Canaday, and Arbogast mixing it up with some fast regional runners like Howard, Fryer, and Moore. More names it should be fun to be a part of next weekend.

    I signed up for the championship series and it sounds fun. Hopefully the series spreads to the rest of the state as Texas has some cool races of all distances throughout the year.

    Excited that Rocky will be split but my concern is that both days will still be how Rocky is now. Imagine 750 runners both days. More doesn’t always mean better. If runner demand has motivated this, what will be next, lottery? As big as Rocky is it has been a well run event where everyone has been taken care of and I don’t want that to go away. That’s the reason why I run most of Joe’s events.

  2. on 02 Jan 2013 at 6:00 pm Joe Prusaitis

    Ya know, I dont think either one will fill up, at least not for awhile. A lot of people signed up for 2013 just because they thought it was going to fill. If you check again, you will see that the entire 400 person wait list is now empty. Many of those people dropped off once they had time to think about it. I asked them all to pay up if they really wanted in. Few did. So, with a race dedicated to just 100mi or 50mi and 750 slots, I think there will be less stress to register early. And I just cant imagine RR with 750 runners. Years ago, Sunmart used to get 1000, but that was split between 50mi/50km and it was a bit too much. Also, if I get enough feedback that the race is too crowded, I will cut the max limit back. I want it to be right for those who are running the race. Still wont know for sure what will really happen til it does.

    The point Series should be fun. I look forward to seeing how this goes. The more that get involved, the better it will be.

  3. on 03 Jan 2013 at 7:36 am Steve

    As someone fairly new to the sport, I wish I would have been there for some of the more low key times. I like those smaller races. Also, it would be nice to be able to register for a race without worrying if I can get in or not. There are still plenty of races to go around with that vibe too though.

    At the same time, I’m glad the sport is growing. It’s exciting that so many people are getting interested in trail and ultrarunning. I’m glad people want to have this as their past time, passion, etc…

    And personally, I’m cheering for Drew Meyer.

  4. on 03 Jan 2013 at 1:03 pm Jonathan

    Thank you Joe for your input and for everything you do for us crazy people. Look forward to next weekend and battling with Bandera. Glad to see your races attract great people from all over.

    How about that Rocky Raccoon double in 2014? I’d be up for it if the 50 was first up.