Nueces Trail Run 2013 Results – Cody Moat and Michele Yates Set Course Records in USATF 50 Mile Championship
Burrowed in the rugged beauty of Texas Hill Country, Camp Eagle hosted the 4th annual Nueces Trail Run. A star-gazers paradise greeted nearly 400 runners to a crisp but calm 37F before the sun welcomed all with a warming hug that peaked at 66F for the day. This was also the third year in a row that Nueces hosted the USATF 50 Mile Trail Championship which brought additional fast tread from throughout the country to join the mostly Texas-based tribe for a day of hills, rocks, river crossings, and seemingly more cut up and bloody hands from any race I have witnessed. This race guarantees memories and maybe even a few scars for the unfortunate.
Four dirty adventures awaited – 10km, 25km, 50km, and 50 mile.
Pick one and go play!
An anxious and cold group of runners listened to final course instructions from race director, Joe Prusaitis, with one minute to go before the 50 mile scamper began. A bright yellow La Sportiva singlet dashed from the darkness just outside the lit pavilion and positioned himself at the front of the race. This is just another pre-race routine for the charismatic and fast-footed third place finisher of the 2011/2012 scamper, Jason Bryant.
“I am not a morning person. So I generally try to sleep all I can every morning including race mornings. Just standing around before the race doesn’t suite me. Alison [Jason's wife] tells me how she is often asked if I’m coming or do I know that the race is about to start.”
Positioned at the front were many of the top pre-race tread – David Brown (TX), Brian Rusiecki (MA), Dan Vega (CO), Cody Moat (UT), and Paul Terranova (TX). And the just-in-time, Jason Bryant (NC).
At the word “Go!”, the group quickly hopped onto the rugged single track on what was talked about as the toughest five miles of the 16.67 mile loop. Not necessarily by desire but more by default, the in-good-form Paul Terranova and Jason Bryant led the tribe during the pre-dawn trail miles as Paul explains.
“Since Dave James (2nd place in 2011 and 2012) was not racing, there was no one to “lead the charge” so Jason Bryant and I took to the front of the pack. It was an absolutely gorgeous crisp morning for running in the hill country.”
And then without intention, Paul created a one minute gap coming into Texas aid station (mile 5.35).
“I found a good groove and gradually slipped away from the field.”
Leading the main chase group was Jason and three other guys that included 50 mile race newbie, Cody Moat, who recently won the USATF marathon trail championship at Moab Trail and was the runner Jason was most concerned about.
“My main concern while leading the pack was Cody.(Cody was my pick to win pre-race after betting on myself.) I had kind of hoped that he’d go out hard and suffer later. I was concerned about how smart he was running.”
Cody came into the race thinking he could prepare himself for the distance but that this was just as much a crazy adventure.
“When I saw Nueces come up, I thought this would be an awesome opportunity to do something extreme. Something most people wouldn’t do on a bicycle.”
As the first runner up the fun little hill to the Texas aid station (this aid station is visited twice per loop) at mile 14.06, Paul looked strong and steady with wife, Meredith, waiting with fluid and cals. (Meredith put in 12 miles on the day running from aid station to aid station with Paul’s fueling and hydration goodies!)
“My wife Meredith was doing an amazing job of exchanging bottles and getting me in and out of aid stations quickly.”
The gap to the chase group had grown…to three minutes! Jason continued to lead the group with everyone looking steady and strong…and they better at this point in the race.
Onto loop two.
Jason now turned hunter.
“Coming through the Wall aid station [mile 25.92] the second time I was set to begin the hunt. I had been focused on being steady, but patient early. Cody asked if I thought we were closing on Paul. My response was, “Yes we are pulling Paul in.” That statement is more about me always believing in my race strategy than anything else.”
But then as if able to see the future…
“Paul came into sight.”
Cody was stoked to see the Texan up ahead.
“I was on cloud nine. I thought to myself, I can win this race.”
Paul then also became aware of the hunt taking place just behind…with him as the target.
“I looked back briefly and saw Jason’s bright yellow La Sportiva singlet charging up the hill with someone (Cody) right behind him! Whoa I said to myself, time to get back to business and as I crested the hill, pushed the downhill really hard to try and get and stay out of sight as quickly as possible.”
Just over 30 miles into the adventure, Paul arrived into Texas aid station with a they’re on my ass look in his eyes. I could sense a bit of anxiety.
One minute later, Jason and Cody arrived, looking like hungry Lions methodically moving in on their prey.
20 miles yet to go. That Lion can just as quickly become a house cat curled up on the living room sofa.
This race is just now beginning!
Paul pushed to the finish of loop two, not seeing either Jason or Cody, but did have a brief meet-up with the unforgiving terrain.
“I took a nasty digger in the switchbacks about one mile from start/finish. I have not fallen that hard in a long time! Luckily just a bloody left palm and right elbow, so nothing too bad.”
Heading out on the final loop, Paul’s plan remained the same as loop one and two.
“Stay out of sight, eat, drink, no mistakes, no gifts. The third loop here at Nueces is historically make or break time, so I buckled down and took it one step at a time.”
Jason was next to cross the loop two timing map, having created a small gap on Cody and sensed he was closing in on Paul.
“I simply thought I was going to win.”
Cody was running high just five miles ago, but now at the start of loop three the mental demons were chatting.
“All of those positive thoughts and feelings went right out the window at the start of the final lap. We lost sight of Paul (the leader) and Jason got a pretty good jump on me out of the aid station going into the 3rd lap. So I lost sight of him as well. I was a little down mentally and had to fight back the negative thoughts.”
The catch with all of this, 16.67 miles to go after having already ran over 33 miles. So much can happen and change…and it did!
On the way to Texas aid station (mile 38.69), Jason struggled with water retention issues and began to slow down. It was turning into survival mode for the tough competitor.
Cody bridged back up to Jason which re-lit the fire inside and lightened each stride.
“The excitement came right back. I thought I might never see either of those two runners again. I got a charge of adrenaline and what added more to my excitement was when I realized first place was only about one minute ahead of me. It was at this point that I thought maybe I can still win this race.”
Paul in-and-out of Texas aid station and looked steady with a bit of tension in his body language. One minute later, Cody pushed through and looked very much on the hunt with Jason doing his best to hold on.
Shortly out of Texas aid station (mile 38.69), Cody was on Paul’s hip. Paul quickly moved into intelligence gathering mode.
“I coyly asked if he had dragged Jason up with him to assess whether this was going to be a 2-person or 3-person gunfight!”
Cody moved to the front with Paul tucked in behind.
After a couple minutes, Paul purposely accelerated down the jeep road section of the course which created a nice little gap. This stuck for 10 or so minutes before Paul was shocked to see Cody had bridged the gap!
Cody moved back to the front and led the two into the Wall aid station (mile 42.59). While Cody stopped to refill, Paul grabbed a bottle hand-off from Meredith and quickly tried to create another gap.
The gap was short lived with the two together again before approaching the long and nasty climb up to the windmill.
This is where Cody made his move to win the race.
“I felt like this was my chance to take the lead and win the race. So that’s exactly how the race played out. I took off on the long uphill and was able to get a pretty good lead.”
Paul remained steady but was unable to respond.
“Cody darted up the climb, dropped me like a bag of contaminated rocks.”
This gap would not be bridged today.
Cody went on to win the male race in 6:26:03 and set a new course record!
Paul knocked off over 30 minutes from his time last year to earn second place honors.
“I’m amazingly thankful for the trail running “gift” that God has allowed me to explore, and there are few better places than Camp Eagle to enjoy it!”
What a battle!
Top 5 male
- Cody Moat (UT – Inov-8) – 6:26:03
- Paul Terranova (TX – Rogue Running – blog) – 6:32:10
- Jason Bryant (NC – La Sportiva – blog) – 6:46:09
- Brian Rusiecki (MA) – 6:55:22
- Brandon Ostrander (TX) – 7:08:46
Michele Yates won the Bandera 100 km championship in January and was back at Camp Eagle to defend her course record setting win from last year. While struggling with the crud in the lead-up to Bandera, Michele was able to put together a solid training block and remain healthy coming into Nueces.
Melanie Fryar was also back after earning runner-up honors last year but unfortunately it was her turn to deal with the crud here at Nueces.
In the early going Michele quickly established herself at the front of the female race and embraced the special day ahead.
“I loved dancing over the rocks under the star-lit sky knowing that the cool morning would soon turn into a beautiful sunrise, in which it did right about the time I made the climb up past the big wooden cross at the top of the hill. It was very empowering and I feel so blessed just to have the opportunity to compete and take part in something so awe-inspiring.”
By Texas aid station (mile 14.06), Michele looked strong and steady.
Five minute later, Melanie arrived trying to find the joy in the run that typically fuels her day. The chest cold did not allow the run to come easy today.
Then the competitive Pam Smith of Oregon came through holding a steady effort. While technical running is not her specialty (yet), Pam keeps coming back to the rugged goodness of Texas Hill Country.
“One nice thing about Texas is the winter time sun and dry trails. Also, I am drawn to how different the entire landscape is in Texas: dry scrubby flora, cacti, lots of rolling hills and more rocks than you can ever imagine. I really enjoy being able to run in a completely different environment than I am used to and it is good for me to step outside of my comfort zone once in a while.”
Through loop two Michele continued to run in the top 10 of the overall and slowly increased the gap to Melanie and Pam.
Melanie was doing her best to accept her health situation and keep moving, keep running, to simply Try.
“I was motivated to just try. Simple, really. Feel like blah, Try. Annoyed at my body, Try. Tired, Try Harder…basically, I did my best to stay engaged. To not “give up” or pack it in.”
Melanie and Pam were within a minute of each other at mile 30.73.
Through the final loop, Michele moved up in the overall and focused on her goal of a sub-7 hour finish.
“The great thing about this course is that it has rolling hills, the climbs aren’t that long so if you just push through that pain you will get a bit of a break and use a different muscle group when you hit the down.”
Michele went on to break her course record set last year and finish in 6:53:25 and fourth overall!
“I am spiritual and there is something about being on the trail, running free with nature and the talents that God has blessed me with that is unbeatable.”
Melanie gradually separated from Pam to earn runner-up honors with a 7:31:58 finish time.
Pam crossed the line for third and shared a couple of her strongest memories from the adventure.
“My favorite part of the course at Nueces was the river crossings and the short section of trail along the river. I loved feeling the sun shining down on me while staring into a pool of perfectly clear turquoise water.”
Top 5 female
- Michele Yates (CO – GU Energy – site) – 6:53:25
- Melanie Fryar (TX – blog) – 7:31:58
- Pam Smith (OR – La Sportiva – blog) – 7:39:19
- Sydney Pitt (TX) – 7:53:16
- Amanda Boston (TX) – 9:09:55
Anna Thibodo and Martha Brown shared an exciting 50 km scamper with the two separated by less than two minutes at the finish. Anna dashed across the finish first to earn the win in 5:32:39!
Top 5 female
- Anna Thibodo – 5:32:39
- Martha Brown – 5:34:13
- Lorena Devlyn – 5:46:46
- Pam Harght – 5:52:25
- Kimberly McQuire – 5:56:31
The men’s race was equally as exciting, as Pete Mehok held off Toby Vicknair to win in 4:09:19! Toby knocked off over 20 minutes from last year’s effort.
Top 5 male
- Pete Mehok – 4:09:19
- Toby Vicknair – 4:11:37
- Scott Rabb – 4:27:32
- Miguel Montealvo – 4:39:20
- Gergo Perlaky – 4:43:30
Jamie Cleveland out-ran Jason Brooks by just over a minute for the male win!
Top 5 male
- Jamie Cleveland – 1:49:36
- Jason Brooks – 1:50:44
- Todd Euston – 2:02:01
- David Zuniga – 2:03:19
- Aaron Miller – 2:06:25
Andrea Fisher (wife of Jamie Cleveland, male 25km winner) crossed the finish ninth overall and first female in 2:18:39!
Mallory Brooks earned runer-up honors.
Top 5 female
- Andrea fisher – 2:18:39
- Mallory Brooks – 2:28:15
- Rebecca Sondrup – 2:31:52
- Cindy Salazar – 2:38:02
- Arica Ramirez – 2:40:37
A fun 10 km scamper as six women finished within a couple minutes of each other. 15 year old, Regan Wilson, led the group and won the female scamper in 1:02:01!
16 seconds later, Anne Chapman crossed the line in second.
Top 5 female
- Regan Wilson – 1:02:01
- Anne Chapman – 1:02:17
- Elizabeth Ochoa – 1:02:27
- Amanda Kupchell – 1:04:18
- Sarah Harris – 1:04:25
Joe Rosas created a healthy gap and won the male race in 49:28!
Carter Reed held off Dale Dierz in the dash for second.
Top 5 male
- Joe Rosas – 49:28
- Carter Reed – 56:16
- Dale Dierz – 56:56
- Jason Turk – 57:38
- Nick Compton – 58:38
Check out some of the wisest finishers. I hope this stuff fires you up as much as it does me.
- Paul Jensen (age 69), Robert Melendez (age 65), Lee Roy Loeffler (age 73), and Tom Reed (age 73) played on the rocky and hilly goodness.
I love this stuff!
Life is play. Play is life.
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:
- Derek Moore finished the 50 mile in 14:20:03!
- Jackie Dove finished the 50 km in 12:19:12!
What were some of Jackie’s strongest memories on the day?
“I think my strongest positive memories are just of community and support from my trail running family. And, when I think of the course, I think fondly of some grand old trees snuggled in the single track and wooded areas. They are the reason I would do this course again.
My strongest negative memory is probably just the relentless sun during the climbs, especially, “Satan’s StairMaster” which is what I named that last monster hill! And, as a rookie, my strongest learning memory is just trying to figure out my nutrition and dealing with excessive sodium losses at this distance.”
- Be sure to check out all the groovy photos by Enduro Photo. Always great images!
Special thanks to Cody Moat, Paul Terranova, Jason Bryant, Michele Yates, Melanie Fryar, Pam Smith, and Jackie Dove 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 – EnduranceBuzz.com