2014 Rocky Raccoon 100 Results Part II: Texans Bookend the Women’s Podium: Texas Granite Heading Home with Tejas 300 Finishers
A race that comes down to less than five minutes between first and second.
Two TALON (Texas) runners getting after podium spots in a race with a moderately deep women’s field.
Yeah, there was a bit of excitement in the damp south Texas air!
Michele Yates (CO), 2013 Ultrarunner of the Year, has had a bit of a second home in Texas, having won every race (Bandera 100k, Nueces 50M) she has entered in the last couple of years. She was back to play along with a field of strong women from throughout the country.
From the start, Michele set the pace for the women’s race, guiding the lead pack that also included, Pam Smith (OR – Won 2013 Western States 100) and defending champ Nicole Studer of Texas. The three scampered through mile 6.2 in 49 minutes.
The chasers included 27 year old Kaci Lickteig (NE), running in fourth, four minutes back, and Shaheen Sattar (TX), who finished second at Rocky last year, was running in eighth, 11 minutes back.
At mile 12.2 Michele started her gradual but continuous separation from Pam, Nicole, and the rest of the chasers.
Michele showcased her powerful, yet fluid looking running form. A familiar sight to those that have seen her race.
Michele hits the trail marathon mark in 3:25!
(EB video with Michele Yates at mile 26.2.)
Pam and Nicole are still together and have drifted back 12 minutes.
Kaci remained in fourth, 10 minutes behind Pam and Nicole. Shaheen moved up a couple positions and was now in sixth, 19 minutes behind Kaci.
All were still looking pretty fresh. This would change within 6 miles.
At just over the 50k mark, Michele continued her steady push at the front, but Pam and Nicole looked to be struggling as tension was seen in their face and body. They both stopped at the aid station consuming an abundance of fluids and calories.
(EB video with Pam Smith and Nicole Studer at mile 32.2)
Pam would soon drop. Nicole was now alone in second, leading the chase.
Michele passes through the 50 mile mark in a sub-7 hour split with Nicole, Kaci, and now up in fourth, Shaheen, all equally spaced apart and running solo.
Positions for the lead women hold until mile 72.2. Michele is way beyond our 55 minute split projection for the DamNation loop (6 miles).
And then in the distance, we see her…walking. Then slowly jogging. Walking again.
Michele arrives to the DamNation aid station and soon receives medical attention and would eventually drop.
Nicole now moved into the lead!
(EB video with Kaci Lickteig as she moves into second place at mile 72.2)
With less than 14 miles to the finish, Nicole had a 11 minute gap on Kaci.
And then Nicole struggles a bit through the six mile DamNation loop while Kaci holds close to a consistent split as earlier loops.
The 11 minute gap between Nicole and Kaci is now 5 minutes with less than 8 miles to go!
Kaci would continue to chip away at the gap over the remaining miles but Nicole dug deep and would not be caught as she crossed the finish line for the win in 15:42:04, and 6th overall!
Less than three and a half minutes later Kaci earned runner-up honors and seventh overall.
Shaheen Sattar would bookend the Texas podium for third!
Women’s Overall Results
- Nicole Studer (TX) – 15:42:04 (*usatf)
- Kaci Lickteig (NE – Pearl Izumi) – 15:45:32 (*usatf)
- Shaheen Sattar (TX) – 16:45:26
- Larisa Dannis (NH) – 17:10:30 (*usatf)
- Riva Johnson (PA) – 17:27:06 (*usatf)
- Tracy Dimino (CA) – 19:51:13 (*usatf)
- Starshine Blackford (OH) – 20:14:43
- Amanda Boston (TX) – 20:16:35 (*usatf)
- Lise Plantier (TX) – 20:47:47
- Cindy Stonesmith (CO) – 21:42:23 (*usatf)
Taking Home the Tejas 300 Granite
Fourteen runners took home the 2013-2014 Texas shaped granite for consecutively completing the Cactus Rose 100 in October (2013), Bandera 100 km in January (2014), and finishing up with Rocky Raccoon 100.
Matt Zmolek completed the three in the fastest combined time of 51:26:28. This was also his second completion of the Tejas 300.
59 year old, Les Ellsworth completed his fifth Tejas 300! Nobody else has done it more than twice.
Enjoy a few thoughts from some of the Tejas 300 granite holders.
I guess the funniest moment, according to my son, Matt, who was pacing me, was when I laid down on one of the park benches at about mile 77. I was so tired that I leaned up against him with my head on his shoulder and my legs sprawled over the side of the bench. My head kept falling down so he had me in some sort of a headlock. Of course our headlights were off at the time.
One runner and her pacer ran by us and the runner says to her pacer “that just seems strange.” Of course I never knew anything because I was out like a light.
The favorite memory of course is getting the granite from Joe, and the wonderful help from Ms. Olga King and Becky Spaulding, as well as having my son pace me to the finish.
Jason Espalin and I are both Rockhoppers, and we’ve kind of had a mock competition going on between us for these events. That’s been fun. Before this race, he told me, “It’s on.” I’m so glad we were both able to complete the series.
I guess another fun memory was when my friend Emmett and I were playing the “Categories” game while running. We chose the category “people we both know in common.” We named Liza Howard, Eliot Howard, and then Fumi Ishimatsu. When we said “Fumi,” we heard a voice in the darkness ahead say, “Yeah?” It was Fumi, right ahead of us. What are the odds?
Go compete in a 100 mile trail ultra, the things that happen…people competing but also helping each other out. People clearly in pain but smiling and offering words of encouragement to fellow competitors.
I saw an elderly lady speed hiking leaning over crooked because she fell, but still steadily moving forward, smiling trying to reach her goal.
Runners sharing rain coats when the 39 degree rain hit. It was awesome to see Gumaro Rodriguez and Jason Holloway faces when we passed each other and they knew that it was just a matter of time before they had that first 100 trail ultra in the bag. Wow!
I promised myself that I wouldn’t stop to sit during Rocky Raccoon after how many times I sat and struggled to get up at Cactus Rose. Finally 93 miles into the race I gave in to temptation and had a seat on a log.
I wasn’t even sitting for a minute when I realized my legs were covered in ticks. I brushed them off, got moving again, and I had to laugh that even the Huntsville wildlife was going to make sure I finished that race.
My dad is a badass.
He’s a tough rock and roll drumming, racecar driving, used to take me to ballet on his Harley kind of guy. But Sunday morning, I was sitting by the heater after the 100 finish and looked over at the aid station table to see my dad wiping his eyes while clutching my piece of granite to his chest.
Turns out, he’s also a softy.
The Tejas 300 finishers
- Matt Zmolek
- Matt Smith
- Donald Zoch
- Devon Kiernan
- Julie Koepke
- Bill Pomykal
- Joe Harris
- Les Ellsworth
- Fred Thompson
- Matthew Florence
- Jason Espalin
- Steve Ton
- Erik Hanley
- Lindsey Waddell
Tough As Nails
Melissa Martin of Arkansas was our women’s Tough As Nails runner finishing the 100 mile adventure in 29:46:39!
Check out the great race photos from Endurophoto.
Special thanks to Joe Harris, Julie Koepke, Bill Pomykal, Matt Florence, Matt Smith, Devon Kiernan, Shama Sattar, and Rick Kent of Endurophoto for their support with this article.
Check out the TALON Race Guide
There are 170+ 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 05 Feb 2014