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Piney Woods TrailFest 2013 Results – Kevin Pool and Vicky Cook Set the Pace in Piney Woods Ultra Wins

A 5 km, 10 mile, 20 mile, and 50 km awaited runners within the heavily green-filled forests of Lake Houston Wilderness Park just north of Houston, Texas up highway 59 at the Piney Woods TrailFest. And…beautiful conditions yet again!

Get your trail race on! (Photo: Courtesy Bill Gardner /

One, two, or three loop scampers.


Trail running...yeah baby! (Photo: Courtesy Bill Gardner /

50 km

Kevin Pool of Houston, Texas, led the male race from the start and dialed in very consistent 10 mile splits. With one loop (10 miles) to go, Kevin appeared to be all alone at the front, running his second fastest loop split of the day.

Kevin Pool (Photo: Courtesy Bill Gardner /

During this final loop, things got a bit interesting as Jeremy Koontz of San Antonio went into hyper-drive and ran the fastest loop split from anyone all day. This split was Jeremy’s fastest of the day by nearly six minutes. The dude was putting together some crazy negative split. Jeremy was closing on Kevin and closing fast!

The gap between the two runners closed down to 70 seconds before Kevin crossed the finish for the win with the only sub-4 time of 3:59:39!

Top 5 male

  1. Kevin Pool – 3:59:39
  2. Jeremy Koontz – 4:00:46
  3. Willem Van Dam – 4:28:31
  4. Chad Harvey – 4:51:15
  5. Ryan Williams – 4:54:58

3-hour road marathoner, Vicky Cook, was in the chase for the overall and put together some very even splits to finish 3rd overall in 4:16:34!

Vicky Cook (Photo: Courtesy Bill Gardner /

Melina Gandarilla earned second place honors.

Top 5 female

  1. Vicky Cook – 4:16:34
  2. Melina Gandarilla – 5:35:25
  3. Misty Barnett – 5:42:02
  4. Leslie Taylor – 5:47:06
  5. Lisa Keogh – 6:03:50

Complete 50 km results

20 mile

Gretchen Cheney and Shelly Burr passed through the first 10 mile loop stride for stride. Over the next 10 miles Gretchen would create a small 21 second gap (gun time) to win the female race in 3:16:48!

Top 5 female

  1. Gretchen Cheney – 3:16:48
  2. Shelly Burr –  3:17:04
  3. Sonia Lewis – 3:23:13
  4. Whitni Parker – 3:24:26
  5. Jaclyn Carrington – 3:43:54

A beautiful day of smiles in the park. (Photo: Courtesy Bill Gardner /

Steve Brammer and Robert Smith exchanged pole position a few times through the first 10 mile loop before Robert moved to the front and held it to the finish, running nearly a seven minute negative split.

This special education teacher and coach was grateful how the day played out.

“It was only my second trail race and the first one I twisted my ankle badly at mile 5 and had to drop out so I was excited how this one went!”

Phil Trumbly moved up during the final loop to earn runner-up honors.

Top 5 male

  1. Robert Smith – 2:23:22
  2. Phil Trumbly – 2:39:58
  3. Sean Dunbar – 2:40:41
  4. Steve Brammer – 2:50:48
  5. Deodath Mamase – 2:54:54

Casey Lewis keeping it steady in the 20 mile race. (Photo: Courtesy Bill Gardner /

Complete 20 mile results

10 mile

1:15 road half marathoner, Will Young, dashed off a 6:14 min/mile pace which created a mile gap from the next chaser after crossing the finish in 1:02:32.

Landon Fabela finished alone in second.

Landon Fabela flowing along the twisty trail. (Photo: Courtesy Bill Gardner /

Top 5 male

  1. Will Young – 1:02:32
  2. Landon Fabela – 1:10:18
  3. John Greenwood – 1:19:13
  4. James Walker – 1:19:34
  5. Jeffrey Donovan – 1:19:35

Similar to the front of the men’s race, Leighann Ganzar created separation from the female chase and placed herself in the front group of the overall. Leighann went on to win the female scamper in 1:13:54, which was spicy enough for third overall.

Caroline Chamness grabbed a top 10 overall and second female finish.

Top 5 female

  1. Leighann Ganzar – 1:13:54
  2. Caroline Chamness – 1:22:39
  3. Jess Scott – 1:23:11
  4. Breanna Sellers – 1:24:16
  5. Brianne Loya – 1:24:50

Ana Petrick feeling good in the 10 mile scamper. (Photo: Courtesy Bill Gardner /

Complete 10 mile results

5 km

Hawk Harris led all runners across the 5 km finish in 21:54.

Matthew Barczyk finished a couple minutes back for second.

Top 5 male

  1. Hawk Harris – 21:54
  2. Matthew Barczyk – 24:31
  3. Hugo Dammann – 24:59
  4. Sammy Torres – 26:41
  5. Randell Zerr – 26:46

Smilin' to a 5 km finish! (Photo: Courtesy Bill Gardner /

Alexander Thurman grooved through an 8:40 pace to win the female race in 26:57.

Cynthia Caldwell and Kristine Banks enjoyed a fun leg burning second place sprint to the finish with only a few seconds separating the two.

Top 5 female

  1. Alexandra Thurman 26:57
  2. Cynthia Caldwell – 28:10
  3. Kristine Banks – 28:15
  4. Virginia Sasser – 29:02
  5.  Fallon Laughlin – 30:29

Leslie Grillon and fellow runners cruising through the 5 km. (Photo: Courtesy Bill Gardner /

Complete 5 km results

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:

  • Jeremy Hanson finished the 50 km adventure in 8:09:22.

Race Reports and Pics

  • “As the countdown hits 0 I am ready to run. The game plan is suicide. I come out with the the first group of 10 and 2 of the first men lead out and within 300 yards I can tell whos who. I am sitting around 5-6 and I am deciding where I am going to sit. As we start through the first mile my watch is telling me that I am running 8s… Well I have never run 8s.. But it feels fast but fun.” – by Rob @ Seeking The Truth

Special thanks to Robert Smith and Bill Gardner for their gracious support with this article.

Check out the TALON Race Guide

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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.

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