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Palo Duro Trail Run 2013 Results – Mild Temperatures Support Great Day in the Texas Mini Grand Canyon – Audio Interview with Anna Scheinzbach

Typical wear-a-beanie early morning temps along with mild mid-day temps provided a wonderful day of running for the tribe in one of the most unique and beautiful running venues in the state, Palo Duro Canyon, a short drive south of Amarillo, Texas. On October 19, the Palo Duro Trail Run offered a 20k, 50k, and 50 mile mini grand canyon experience as you scamper within the canyon along the main 12.5 mile loop. The course includes a few moderate Texas climbs but lots and lots of runnable – and views throughout may entice a digger or two.

Photo credit: David Hanenburg

Photo credit: David Hanenburg

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Ernesto Duran (13th OA at the competitive Miwok in 2013) of Panama put together some very consistent splits over the four loop 50 mile adventure to win the overall in 7:23:22! Aaron Ochoa of Oklahoma started  to struggle on the last loop but held on to runner-up honors as Chad Bailey of Texas was closing.

Chad shares a few special memories from the beautiful venue.

“I of course loved the sun rising during the first and second loops, but I also enjoyed running next to the creek toward the end of the loop. It was unexpected and provided some nice shade. I also really enjoyed seeing the canyon lit up by the full moon. You almost didn’t need a headlamp!”

50 Mile Men’s Results

  1. Ernesto Duran – 7:23:22
  2. Aaron Ochoa – 8:34:57
  3. Chad Bailey – 8:38:53
Photo credit: David Hanenburg

Photo credit: David Hanenburg

After working through some hamstring issues since the Leadville 100 this summer, Nicole Studer of Texas was back to defend her course record pace of 2012…with another win in 2013! Nicole finished second overall, dropping her course record time of 2012 by over seven minutes with a time of 7:48:59.

How did Nicole feel on the day?

 “I was lucky on the first four miles of the first loop because I was running with one of my good training partners, James Ayres before he took off on his 50km.  It always makes the time go fast to have a good friend to talk to on the trails.  I slowed down on laps two and three, as I was feeling the tightness in my legs coming off Chicago [marathon].  We were lucky to have beautiful weather this year, as temperatures remained fairly moderate.”

The ladies took home two of the top three podium spots of the overall with Gia Madole of Oklahoma taking home third overall!

50 Mile Women’s Results

  1. Nicole Studer – 7:48:59
  2. Gia Madole – 8:18:05
  3. Anabel Pearson – 9:21:52

Anna Scheinzbach of Texas played at the front of the overall 50 km race before settling into four position and winning the female scamper in 4:29:49! Anna Thibodo of Texas would finish alone in second.

Enjoy our chat with Anna Scheinzbach as we talk about her running background, Palo Duro, and a couple tips if you want to play at PD next year.

Podcast: Download (Duration: 9:13 – 4.22 MB)

50 km Women’s Results

  1. Anna Scheinzbach – 4:29:49
  2. Anna Thibodo – 4:55:00
  3. Celee Morris – 5:18:56
Photo credit: David Hanenburg

Photo credit: David Hanenburg

The men’s 50km race included the three-pack of Alejandro Venzor of Colorado, Seth Harney and James Ayres, both from Texas. The overall vibe was pretty relaxed through the first 18-ish miles as James shares.

“It was nice to run in a small group.  Nobody was trying to get ahead or pull out in front.  I think all three of us were just content staying together at a pretty good pace.  Once we reached mile 15 or so the lead guy stopped to use the restroom so the lead girl and I kept running.  We started talking about running and I was just enjoying the company.  We finished the first full loop pretty quickly and I still felt really good.” 

Alejandro would quickly move back to the pole position at the start of the last loop and go on to win the male race in 4:23:30!

James and Anna (lead female) pushed the effort till midway through the loop where James slowed the effort to take in calories and rest the legs a bit before the final push to the finish.

Over three minutes behind James at the start of the last loop, Seth would negative split the two big loops and catch James within the final mile and earn runner-up honors.

A close race between all three!

James shares his favorite part of the course.

 “My favorite part of the run is between the aid stations at mile 6 and 9.  This is the area where there are quite a few scenic areas up by the canyon walls.  There are a lot of short rocky inclines that are very steep, and this is the most technical part of the run.  You come around a corner and if you look up to your left you realize that you are right next to the formation called lighthouse rock.”

50 km Men’s Results

  1. Alejandro Venzor – 4:23:30
  2. Seith Harney – 4:25:44
  3. James Ayres – 4:27:52

The 20km mens race saw the fast-footed Texan, Quent Bearden, giving the 50 mile and 50 km races a break and screamed through the 20km for the win in 1:19:22! Lucas Shannon earned runner-up honors.

20 km Men’s Results

  1. Quent Bearden – 1:19:22
  2. Lucas Shannon – 1:27:32
  3. Mark Declouet – 1:39:18
Photo credit: David Hanenburg

Photo credit: David Hanenburg

Cami Sharp would gradually pull away from all chasers in the female race to cross the finish first in 1:39:48!

The race for second showcased triathlete/duathlete Glenda Adams and her patient and steady move through the field.

“I planned to go out easy the first few miles, and settle into a groove then pick it up the last 4-5 miles. I started fairly far up in the pack because I didn’t want to be behind too many people, and guess I was about the 5th woman after the first two miles. Once the sun was fully up, I passed a few people and came up on the fourth place woman, who was running really close to my steady pace. I just fell in behind her and decided to wait til past 6-7 miles to move up.”

Then Brenda dials up the effort those last three miles.

“When we hit that nice clear trail after the aid station around mile nine I really pushed, since I had no idea what place I was in (someone told me 3rd woman, someone else said 2nd). It was kind of wild running 7:20-7:30 pace the next couple miles, and with just a mile to go I caught up to Olivia and passed her. I didn’t know if I was in 1st or 2nd, but I was afraid someone would catch me, so I really killed the last mile, at a 6:56 pace.”

How is that for a pacing and finish-strong strategy!?!

20 km Women’s Results

  1. Cami Sharp – 1:39:48
  2. Glenda Adams – 1:41:27
  3. Olivia Martinez – 1:42:12

Complete Results for all races.


Our final ultra finishers and Tough-As-Nails winners were Kimberley Pilcher who finished the 50 miler in 11:42:03, and Scott Patterson who finished the 50 km in 12:04:01!

Photo credit: David Hanenburg

Photo credit: David Hanenburg

Palo Duro Reflections from 75 Year Old 50 km Finisher Jay Norman

I probably would not have run the 50km at Palo Duro this year had it not been for the request of a good friend from England, Lou Myers, that I run it with him. If you don’t know 86 year old Lou, well that’ll be a subject for another day.

As far as my memories of the day, I had driven to Canyon with my training partner, Chuck Chandonia. We arrived at the park gate at about 5:45am to line up behind other runners waiting for the park gate to open. The car thermometer read 28 degrees, but the sky was clear and it would quickly warm up.

the race started at 7:00am sharp, in the dark and Lou, Chuck, Lou’s daughter Chrissy, another friend, Frank Ives and I started our trek jockeying for positions on a narrow trail. Lou was a little unsteady in the dark even with a flashlight, so Chrissy stayed in front of him to grab him if he started to fall forward and Frank and I took turns steadying him from the rear. At about mile three we arrived at “Red’s Rock” named after Big Red Spicer. one of the founders of the race 28 years ago. Big Red was a special friend to all of us, and we stopped at his rock to pay homage. It took our group 2:32 to finish the first loop of six miles. Lou decided to call it a day, and after refilling my water bottle and shedding my windbreaker, I took off on the first of the last two 12.5 mile loops. By now the sun was up, lighting the canyon walls warming my cold body. The longest training run I had done in a year was 21 miles, so I knew I had my work cut out for me. But I didn’t go out there to DNF, so come hell or high water, I was going to finish.

Lou, Chrissy, and Jay at Red's Rock (Photo: Courtesy Chrissy Ferguson)

Lou, Chrissy, and Jay at Red’s Rock (Photo: Courtesy Chrissy Ferguson)

I had finished 20+ races at Palo Duro (most of them 50 milers), the first in 1987 when it was still on the road. But at age 75 now, the 50km was a challenge. My thoughts shifted from concentrating on my pace (more walking than running), reminiscing about the good times I had shared with Big Red and the races I had run there before and the beautiful scenery the canyon offered. With more than 300 runners in the race it was surprising that I encountered few other runners on the trail – only an occasional faster runner passing me. I spent most of the next seven hours alone with my thoughts. I was okay with this as my plan was for this to be my last ultra and possibly my last run in Palo Duro Canyon. It’s one of the most serene places I know. I even have two painting of it on the walls in my home.

I had my fun moments, like when a family of hikers asked how far the race was and to see their expressions when I told them I’m running 50km, but some of the other runners were running 50 miles. I’m not sure they believed me. Then when I caught an exhausted 50 miler who wanted to know the shortest way back to the start/finish line, and I said just walk it in with me. I felt a little bad for him as he couldn’t keep up with me. I hope he finally made it back. And, to add a little excitement I came across a snake stretched all the way across the trail. I threw a clod of dirt at him and he coiled up like he was going to strike. I detoured way around him. I have no idea what kind he was, but he didn’t have rattles.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the volunteers. They were so encouraging and helpful, and I thank them all.


Special thanks to Chad Bailey, Nicole Studer, Anna Scheinzbach, James Ayres, Glenda Adams, and Jay Norman for their support with this article.

Check out the TALON Race Guide

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David – EnduranceBuzz.com

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.

2 Responses to “Palo Duro Trail Run 2013 Results – Mild Temperatures Support Great Day in the Texas Mini Grand Canyon – Audio Interview with Anna Scheinzbach”

  1. on 07 Nov 2013 at 8:44 am Lori Hawkins

    Thanks, David, great article. It’s been on my bucket list since my gal pals here in CO have raved about it for years. I hope 2014 will be the year I get to run it.

  2. on 07 Nov 2013 at 10:46 am David Hanenburg

    Hey Lori – Thanks for the super kind words! It is a fun and unique west Texas adventure for sure.

    Happy Running!