David: Enjoy as race director, Jeff Lisson, recounts the west Texas off road scamper at the Crazy Desert Trail Run.
The second running of the Crazy Desert Trail Race – 50km, marathon, and half – was full of surprises.
The biggest surprise, as is often the case in this part of the country, was the weather. Last year’s runners suffered through temps just above freezing at the start, made worse by the ever-present West Texas wind. This year, the wind still blew. But instead of frigid weather, this year’s runners had 61 degrees at the start, and faced a high of 80 degrees by the 50km finish. That made the 2013 Crazy Desert a war of attrition.
The marathon and 50km started together at 8 a.m. Runners took a 13.1-mile loop over mostly single-track trails. Though not difficult, there were a few technical areas, and some short but steep hills. The trail showed our runners the best the San Angelo (Texas) State Park has to offer.
Troy Pruett of Grapevine, Texas, and Brian Tillman, of San Angelo, blistered through the first loop well ahead of the pack. They both went to their drop bags at the start/finish area, and took off nearly together for the 4.9-mile out-and-back, run on a fire road along the Park fence line. After returning to their drop bags, they tore out to begin their second loop, set to challenge the 50km record of 4:24:40, set in 2012 on an easier and less-scenic course.
Alas, it was not to be, as both dropped at mile 24. Pruett developed an IT-band issue, and Tillman – who qualified for Boston this year and talked about winning the 50km – found his stomach didn’t agree with the hard pace and early spring heat.
Instead, Neal Saxe of Williston, VT, won the 50km in a time of 5:01:33. Saxe had detoured to San Angelo specifically to run the Crazy Desert. Gary van Kulken of the Woodlands, Texas, took second, in 5:18:22.
The women’s crown went to Nicole Bruce, a San Angelo resident running her first competitive 50km, in a time of 6:19:52. Last year’s female winner, Kathryn Morgan, finished second with what was feared to be a broken wrist (actually a bad sprain).
Of the 23 who set out to run the 50km, six DNF’d, a 26% drop rate. The rest of the runners slowed considerably as the day warmed and the weather took its toll.
A total of 165 runners participated in all three events. The race is put on by the San Angelo Road Lizards running club, and again raised more than $3,500.00 for the Concho Valley Community Action Agency.
One of the highlights of the race, along with the course, was the service of our volunteers. San Angelo is home to Goodfellow Air Force Base, which hosts training in multiple disciplines for all branches of the military. About 50 young men and women from the Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy, gave part or all of their day to assist the runners and race organizers.
Another highlight of the event was its low-impact ethos. Because it’s held in a State Park, we decided to forego the use of cups. Instead, each participant received with their race swag a handheld water-bottle holder, along with a bottle of water at the start. Additional bottles were available at the two water stops on the course, and again at the start/finish. This allowed us to reduce trash, and we were able to collect and recycle the empty bottles.
– Jeff Lisson
David: Bonus Trail Talk
Matthew Lambdin surprised himself with a third place finish in the 50km and described the course as “flat and fast.”
Matthew shares his move into third place and why this race had extra meaning for this 30 year old.
“The last four miles I saw the two guys that were at the front of the pack in the beginning–they were both sitting down! So I barreled through, didn’t stop, except for water.”
“I was totally astonished that I was placing at all! It was awesome to place in this race particularly because my father had come to a race for the first time, so it made it really special.”
Top 5 overall Marathon
- Robin Hurt – 4:57:09
- Amanda Guthrie – 5:05:32
- Fumiko Hedlund – 5:12:44
- Andrew Haus – 5:12:45
- Tiffany McClintock – 5:20:49
Top 5 overall Half Marathon
- Shawn Hailey – 1:36:26
- Carlos Santos – 1:37:05
- Phaelen French – 1:41:33
- Marc Bergeron – 1:43:35
- Don Nelson – 1:44:03
More Pics – Here are a bunch more pics by Chad Hirt. Enjoy!
Special thanks to Jeff Lisson, Matthew Lambdin, and Chad Hirt 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.
Posted on 25 Mar 2013