Running Warehouse banner

Trail Running Course

Ouachita Switchbacks 2013 Results – A 33-Switchbacks Leg-Burning Adventure in the Ouachita National Forest

Nearly 30 runners celebrated run-happy conditions at the challenging outdoor adventure with mountain top views called the Ouachita Switchbacks in eastern Oklahoma. This first year race put on by local speedster, Tom Brennan, was turned into a fat-ass adventure due to the National Park Service permit process. That snafu didn’t hamper the small group of runners from enjoying a 50 km or 25 km adventure in the Ouachita National Forest, the South’s oldest and largest national forest.

Beautiful! (Photo: Courtesy Stuart Johnson)

The course started at primitive Pashubee trailhead before runners head west 9-ish miles on a variety of singletrack terrain – groomed, technical, small water crossing, while surrounded within the beautiful national forest. The big-bang is the 33 switchback grunt up Winding Stair Mountain right before the turnaround.

Retrace your route back to the start area to finish the 25km-30km run. 50km runners continue east for one moderate and one extra healthy climb before descending down to the Kiamichi River where you will eventually turn around for the return trip to the finish.

Fun? I think so!


Runners getting ready to play. (Photo: Courtesy Stuart Johnson)

50 km

Men’s Race

After a spicy, second place, 4:31 finish at the challenging Athens Big Fork Trail marathon earlier in the month, Josh Snyder was back for another adventure but this time Tom Brennan wasn’t the guy to chase, it was himself.

Early on, Josh was off the front running with some of the top 25 km runners and a close four-legged friend, Jesse, Josh’s trail loving Toy Fox Terrier.

Josh maintained a steady effort throughout and dashed across the finish with Jesse in 5:48. This adventure was extra special for Josh.

“Strongest memories from the day was running with my dog and seeing my cousin at the first turnaround. My cousin had never ran on a trail before and the furthest he had ever ran was 13.1 miles.”

John Nobles of Cleveland, Oklahoma finished second.

Top 5 male

  1. Josh Synder (Brooks Running) – 5:48
  2. John Nobles – 6:17
  3. Matt Clay – 6:35
  4. Mark DenHarder – 6:57
  5. Paul Rejda – 7:33

Photo: Courtesy Stuart Johnson

Women’s Race

Deb Johnson and Colleen Voeks of Kansas appeared to run the adventure together and were the only women going ultra.

They finished in 8:49!

Photo: Courtesy Julie Dolph /

25 km

Women’s Race

After a new women’s course record at the Isle du Bois 50 km last December, Lori Enlow was ready to use the 25 km as a good kick-off to the 2013 season. Lori is quite familiar with this trail as it was a often visited training ground for her Leadville 100 training last year.

“I always say I have a love-hate, bitter-sweet relationship with that particular section of Ouachita trail.  It is technical, rocky and rooty.  In the Spring it is also spidery and snakey and mid summer it is just plain hell. But, it is beautiful and has taught me more about trail running than I ever dreamed imaginable.”

Lori cruised along in the top 10 of the overall, simply enjoying the day that included sitting on a rock eating a peanut butter sandwich on top of Winding Stair Mountain at the midway turn-around.

Lori went on to lead the female inspiration train in 4:08 and shared the common between-the-ears progression many of us experience after a hearty challenge.

“I was chuckling at myself after the race about how I always get sooooo excited to come out there and run those rugged trails and before long I’m cursing those same trails swearing I’ll never come back. Then chuckling that once I’m done and eating brownies I’m thinking about how soon I can come back!”

When does registration open up? 🙂

Lori’s husband was out playing on the trails again as well. Watch out Todd, you are about to be labeled a trail runner. 🙂

A three-pack of Susan McCourt, Danielle Martin, and Cindy Luttrell all crossed together before having to thumby-wrestle for second place honors.

Top 5 female

  1. Lori Enlow – 4:08
  2. Susan McCourt, Danielle Martin, Cindy Lutrell – 5:42
  3. Julie Dolph – 5:54

Julie touching the top of Winding Stair Mountain (Photo: Courtesy Julie Dolph /

Men’s Race

Jedd Kirby separated from the small chase group to win the male scamper in 3:07.

David Joseph and Sean Nichols kept it within two minutes of each other to the finish with David leading across for second place honors.

Top 5 male

  1. Jedd Kirby – 3:07
  2. David Joseph – 3:20
  3. Sean Nichols – 3:22
  4. Aaron Ochoa – 3:27
  5. Jared Wakeha – 3:35
Complete results for 50 km and 25 km adventures.

Follow those blue markers - straight ahead! (Photo: Courtesy Stuart Johnson)


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:

  • Travis Owens, Deb Johnson, and Colleen Voeks traveled the challenging 50km adventure and finished together in 8:49.

A day that brought many smiles! (Photo: Courtesy Stuart Johnson)

Race Reports

  • “Yes, Oklahoma has mountains!  Big, beautiful mountains.” by Julie @ Trailing Along
  • “After the first mile I was cussing Tommy. This trail was even more treacherous than the first and I don’t think it was just because I was already a little fatigued.” by Paul @ Run to Uganda
  • “Jesse was super pumped to turn around, and she was now pulling the pace. It was great for me to have someone to chase, even if it was a dog.” by Josh @ Ouchita Trail Runner

Special thanks to Josh Snyder, Lori Enlow, Julie Dolph, and Stuart Johnson 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.

5 Responses to “Ouachita Switchbacks 2013 Results – A 33-Switchbacks Leg-Burning Adventure in the Ouachita National Forest”

  1. on 31 Jan 2013 at 10:44 am olga

    Such an awesome new race I want to attend balance!!!

  2. on 31 Jan 2013 at 3:23 pm David Hanenburg

    Absolutely! I WILL get up there. Tom Brennan is a great guy as well. Lodge with him up at Leadville last year. Good times!

  3. on 31 Jan 2013 at 5:03 pm Travis Owens

    Great write up. Looking forward to returning next year!

  4. on 01 Feb 2013 at 8:08 am David Hanenburg

    Thanks Travis! Looked like a great adventure. You may see me right next to ya. 🙂

  5. on 01 Feb 2013 at 11:41 am Jason Dallmann

    I wish I would have known about this race before! (Guess I need to read my EB e-mails more regularly) I actually ran the Pashubee trailhead east a few years back and it was sublime. I will definitely be there next year.