See your breath (20F) and wet snow covered conditions welcomed runners to an adventure at the Sylamore Trail Run in Allison, Arkansas. An out-and-back singletrack trail that includes a nice water crossing you get to do twice. 50k or 25k – pick one and go!
Christophe Block and Joshua Snyder put together a dandy surge at the front as the two separated from the string of male chasers. Christophe was able to create a three minute gap at the finish to win in 4:28:58. Joshua finished alone in second.
Mary-Ellen Kelly persevered through the interesting conditions to win the female race in 6:10:45. Barbara Mariana earned runner-up honors.
Tina Ho turned up the leg speed to create a three minute gap from the female chase group of Candace Fletcher and Kelly Newberg. Tina won the female race in 3:16:31.
Ryan Garvin and Waring Porter may have been able to throw snow balls at each other for a while before Ryan separated for the male win in 2:22:45.
Chat with 50k female winner, Mary-Ellen Kelly
Mary-Ellen is part of the Breakaway Running Race Team.
Enjoy our chat!
EB – What is your running background and when did you start exploring the trail scene?
I ran cross country, winter and spring track all four years in high school and Division II college. After I graduated college, I moved on to road racing and participated in the ’96 Olympic Marathon Trials. In short, I’ve been running for over 30 years. I love running, always have, always will. I started running trail races only recently, couple of years ago I guess, Sylamore 50K 2012.
EB – You ran and won Ouachita 50 last year! Was that your first 50 miler? Did you have fun on the Pinnacle mountain scramble!?!
Ouachita was my first 50 miler. Pinnacle Mountain fun? You have to be joking! I am not that good of a trail runner since I am timid. I felt like an old granny going down the mountain. Additionally, I was nervous since I didn’t want to hold anybody up and didn’t want to loose the pack I wanted to keep up with!
EB – You have been out to Sylamore the last three years. What draws you back to this event?
The bonfire! Ha! Well, that’s certainly part of it. It’s reasonably close and it’s super fun that so many Memphis folk go there. It makes for a great weekend trip! I should probably say the trail is beautiful, which of course it is, but I am usually focusing so hard on what’s in front of me, it’s hard to notice the surrounding, properly anyway. 🙂
EB – There was a bit of white stuff on the trail this year. What were conditions like? How was navigating the bigger climbs and descents? How did that water crossing feel?
I thought this year’s trail conditions were terrible! So much frozen snow and slick ice! Not a good combo for my less than agile trail skills. I ended up walking a lot, not wanting to risk a fall and then trying to focus on running tough the parts I could run. The water crossing was fine this year. No big deal. The level was lower compared to years past. Truly, it’s not so much the water, as it is trying to safely climb in and out of it.
EB – What were a couple of your strongest memories on the day?
As I was making my way towards the turnaround, I began to see the leaders on the way back. I was sort of down on myself for not being where I wanted to be, time wise, but when I saw the bloody knees of the runners coming back, I realized the trade off I had chosen and felt a little better about myself! I think to be successful on the trails, you need to run with abandon and that requires being in really good shape. I wasn’t at that point this year, so taking it slower and risk free was my only option.
I also remember the tumbling mud stream on the last five miles. Muddy waters were pouring down the rock stairs on some part of the trail we had to climb up. I looked at that stuff and was like “Really? A mud stream …. you have to be kidding me”.
Special thanks to Mary-Ellen Kelly and Chrissy Ferguson for their gracious support of this article!
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Posted on 01 Apr 2014