From February 8-10th, an intimate group of runners went on a solo Louisiana adventure, starting in Baton Rouge and finishing in Audubon park in New Orleans. A 126.2 mile point-to-point journey on the levee along the Mississippi river. If 126.2 miles is a bit more than you are looking for, a team relay scamper ranging from two to six members provided another way to tour the state. Run friendly conditions supported runners for a good portion of the third annual Rouge Orleans before a storm front moved through which added a new challenge for the back half of the race – headwinds and light rain.
Did I mention Mardi Gras weekend?
Louisiana local, Jason Matherne, an experienced endurance athlete but new to ultra distance running, having just ran his first ultra race (Tallahassee Ultradistance Classic 50 mile – 8:08) two months prior to the RO start.
What did Jason think of his first ultra adventure?
“The Tallahassee 50 was very intimating at first, meeting ultra runners for the first time and hearing all of their stories of others races. I also wasn’t looking forward to the eight looped course at first. Thinking it would get old quick, but at 6.2 miles each, it worked out really well to be able to reload my hydration belt and grab calories at the start/finish line. I also learned the hard way that starting out too fast in an ultra race is not a great idea, because once I hit the wall it took a while to recover before I could finish.”
After gaining a bit of ultra wisdom, Jason was ready to dial it up to 126.2 miles at RO!
“I wanted a new challenge, but this time something that was well beyond the ordinary and fortunately for me the Rouge Orleans was just what I was looking for.”
Jason went on to win the solo division averaging a 12:33 pace and finish time of 26:24:21! Close behind was A.D. Marshall of Baton Rouge who finished an ultra small 36 minutes behind Jason, for second place honors.
What were Jason’s strongest memories from the 126.2 mile run?
“One of the best experience of running the Rouge Orleans is of running along side the Mighty Mississippi and the strength of it, which actually gives you strength and at the same time a relaxing feeling. Heck, the whole race was more relaxing then running a regular marathon. But even with the extra strength of the river, the high and lows of a long run like that still linger in my head. Good course and easy access for your sag support to be there for you which was awesome to be able to share with a great family and friends along the course. The pre and post race food was good and being from south Louisiana I know what I’m talking about. And finally, the biggest high was when my wife told me that I finished first. Because of the staggered start, I wasn’t sure and not going into the race to win ( only to finish), I wasn’t questioning it much during the run. And this was my first ever race win in 8+ years of racing and what a race to win, the Rouge Orleans 126 Ultra Marathon!”
Top 5 male
- Jason Matherne – 26:24:21
- A.D. Marshall – 27:00:42
- Dan Smith – 28:49:20
- Dan Brenden – 31:42:17
- Chris Benjamin – 31:51:31
It appears Alissa Draper of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, won the female race in 35:26:55, although she didn’t have the fastest female time. Cheryl Zwarkowski finished about nine minutes sooner by chip time but due to her staggered start time, Cheryl didn’t finish by the 2:00pm awards cut-off time.
Top 5 female
- Cheryl Zwarkowski – 35:18:03 (*finished after awards cut-off time*)
- Alissa Draper – 35:26:55
- Meredith Dolhare – 37:49:54
- Eva Casale – 38:48:19
- Ginger Kobliska – 39:38:44
Top Team Per Division
- 2 Person Male: The Muppet Show – Andrew Cook and Dougal Grant – 21:37:15
- 2 Person Female: The Dreamcrushers – Jamie Scott and Vicki Eshpeter – 21:35:41
- 3 Person Female Masters: Hot Legs – Susan Hunter, Shelley Christy, and Erin Soleto – 23:09:15
- 3 Person Coed: Tri-Running – Shawn McMillan, Almee McMillan, Gene Zimmermann – 24:10:14
- 3 Person Female: Shoreline Naughty Gulls – Julie Applewhite, Joyelle Clak, Erin Keefer – 20:07:31
- 6 Person Coed: Krewe de Glowing Van – Nadine Lippa, Shelley Sheppard, Brian Greenhoe, and Lauren Kucera – 18:05:21
- 6 Person Female: Krewe du Foxes – Skylar Giardina, Mellissa Herrera, Michelle Kramer, Julie Standing, Erin Zeringue, Cara Tassin – 17:15:21
- 6 Person Male: The Donner Party – Daniel Dumas, Heath Bittel, Steve Berniard, Austin Martinez, Kyle Paulk, Adam McPherson – 17:02:33
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 recipient:
- 65 years young, Frederick F. Davis III, crossed the 126.2 mile journey in 41:35:58!
Special thanks to Jason Matherne for his gracious support with this article.
Check out the TALON Race Guide
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Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com
Posted on 19 Feb 2013