On the wring-out-your-shirt morning of October 5th, an international field of 120 runners began a 100 mile journey through the Ouachita national forest for the 23rd running of the Arkansas Traveller 100. Humidity and periodic drops (or a deluge) from the sky created additional challenges for many and supported the lowest finish rate (64%) since 2007 (47%).
We don’t sign up for these adventures because they are easy. The Arkansas Traveller delivered on its promise. But the experiences and memories need no finish line and were acquired in abundance.
By midway into the adventure, the men’s scamper was forming into a two-man race between 100 mile newbie and Arkansas local Brock Hime (age 22), and Wesley Hunt (age 30). Brock has wheels but hadn’t ran more than one ultra – a 50km. How does a 50km relate to a 100 miler – it doesn’t. But don’t let that fool ya, he had prepared with many tough local ultra dudes and was ready to play.
What was Brock’s goal for this race? To win.
Hot on his tread was Wesley.
This is going to be interesting!
Over the next 30 miles, Brock would create a gap only to be caught by Wesley 5-10 miles later. Then Wesley would try to create a gap and would hammer many of the climbs as Brock watched in amazement and let him go.
The final 20 miles had the two guys shadowing each other. It was time to find out what’s inside and neither had any interest to give it away. This win would be earned!
There was very little communication between the two. Focus. Effort. Run.
At mile 87-ish, Brock’s pacer drops off the pace due to cramping. Brock is holding a small gap and must grind the final miles solo to the finish and chooses a maintain-the-gap strategy.
“I knew I had the foot speed so I would drop his headlamp [meaning increase separation to Wesley] until I couldn’t see his light anymore and then I would relax. And then I would see his headlamp and kill the hills as fast as I could until I dropped the headlamp. So it basically became this cat and mouse game.”
The last quarter mile on the pavement Brock looked back and there was Wesley. Both gave yelps of congrats to each other as Brock became the youngest winner and set an age group record in 18:05:34!
What a race!
- Brock Hime (Rock City Running) – 18:05:34
- Wesley Hunt – 18:06:42
- Chas Kabanuck – 20:18:41
The women’s race saw Shelley Egli of Oklahoma, an experienced trail runner without a 100 mile finish in her ultra toolbox, being told she was in the lead at mile 16.4.
“It was not planned. I was very nervous.”
And then Shelley turned on a bit of ultra wisdom as the day was just getting started.
“I ran my own race and controlled what I could control. I just kept moving.”
Not an easy thing to do at the front.
Behind her defending champ, Sara Miller, was gradually chipping away at Shelley’s lead over the next 50 miles to where she was only six minutes back at Powerline aid station (mile 67.7).
Would we have a 20 mile sprint finish for the women as well?
Shelley maintained her steady, keep moving forward effort while struggling with sleepiness during those nighttime hours but the gap to Sara began to increase.
As the remaining miles continued to count down, Shelley began to sense the end of the race.
“I kind of have a barn door effect at the end of my races. The barn door is open and I want to get to the finish as fast as I can.”
Shelley ran across the finish line with husband and crew excitedly waiting in a winning time of 18:05:34!
After hugs from her team, what did Shelley most want?
A cup of warm coffee and a nap. Ahhh, the little things.
Over the last 15 miles Tammy Walther would catch and pass Sara to earn runner-up honors.
- Shelley Egli (Feyettechill) – 22:37:59
- Tammy Walther – 23:55:00
- Sara Miller – 25:02:25
Ian Maddieson of New Mexico was our wisest finisher at age 71! Ian was chasing cut-offs most of the day but would not give up making every cut-off and finishing in 30:26:00 for his seventh Arkansas Traveller finish!
Our final and Tough-as-Nails finisher was Katsuyuki Hatta of Japan! Katsuyuki closed the door on the event in 31:09:59!
- Interview with top male Brock Hime
- Interview with top female Shelley Egli
- Interview with 71 year old finisher Ian Maddieson
- Crewing, Pacing, and Volunteering Reflection – by Lori Enlow
- What were some of your favorite memories from the weekend?
More pics of our tribe.
Special thanks to Brock Hime, Shelley Egli, and Marvin Fisher for their support with the 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
Posted on 11 Oct 2013