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The First and Only Finisher of the Habanero 100 – Our Chat with Julie Koepke


Julie Koepke of Texas recently won the inaugural Habanero 100 in 28:43:20. Not only was Julie the first to finish, she was the only person to finish all 100 miles during this sultry August weekend at Buescher State Park in Texas.

Enjoy our chat that includes the following musings and other useful goodies for you:

  • Julie’s journey from marching band to first 5k
  • how running helped Julie as a high school teacher
  • creating family and friendships with “the wrong group of folks” in San Antonio
  • memories from that first Rockhoppers run that lasted for the next week
  • what surprised Julie about the trails and its community
  • memories from that first trail race at Prickly Pear 50k
  • Julie shares one of the life gifts this sport has provided her
  • enjoying the varied aspects of running ultra distances
  • a typical training week including strength/core examples
  • what has been the toughest part of a 100 miler to dial in
  • building life-confidence through trail running
  • the leaf wearing and rock talking adventure at Habanero Hundred


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2015 Badwater 135: Race Moments from the Road


Among the nearly 100 runners representing 24 countries at this year’s Badwater 135, seven were TALON (TX, AR, LA, OK, NM) athletes. Texas and Oklahoma represented.

A 135 mile point-to-point blacktop scamper with big heat (temperatures reached into the 120s) and hearty climbs. As much of a team race as individual due to the required crew teams that leap-frog runners and provide a laundry list of support throughout the 48-hour time limit.

An evening start to this year’s race added a new twist to the Badwater 135 experience.

26 year old Jared Fetterolf led our TALON athletes with an 11th place finish in 30:58:17.

55 year old Kimberlie Budzik was our sole female lacing them up this year and earned her 5th finish in 41:29:09.

Nathan Ferraro of Oklahoma became our final TALON finisher in his race debut with a time of 42:42:23.

Badwater 135 Moments

I asked our runners…

Could you share the detailed story of one moment from your Badwater 135 race that made a special imprint on you?

Their responses are below. (from those I was able to get in contact with)

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2015 Hardrock 100: Race Moments From the Trail


It was gold that brought folks to the mountain town of Silverton, Colorado starting back in 1860.

Today, ultrarunners arrive each July to dig deep within themselves, collect mental snapshots through the San Juan mountains, and kiss a big rock in town. This investment has generated significant returns since 1992. We are talking about the Hardrock 100.

11 TALON (TX, AR, LA, OK, NM) athletes between the ages of 37 and 59, arrived at the start line race morning for the 6:00am start. We had a mix of first timers and Hardrock veterans ready to play from New Mexico, Texas, and Arkansas.

52 year old David Coblentz of New Mexico, led our TALON tribe through the 100 mile loop course in 35:45:30. This was David’s eighth finish.

39 year old Margaret Gordon of New Mexico completed her first Hardrock and was our sole female finisher in 44:48:19.

58 year old Randy Isler of New Mexico was our final athlete to Kiss the Hardrock. Randy arrived back in Silverton in 49:08:53.

Hardrock 100 Moments

Similar to our Western States 100 results article, I asked our athletes…

Could you share the detailed story of one moment from your Hardrock 100 race that made a special imprint on you.

For those I was able to get in contact with, enjoy their responses below.

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Beer and Donuts, Managing Negative Thoughts, and Overcoming the Fear of Running at Night – Our Chat with Dina Caballero


“I thought I was going to die.”

It was Fall of 2012 and those words circled in the mind of Dina Caballero during the early weeks of her couch-to-5km run training program.

Running hadn’t been Dina’s thing. She hadn’t ran through the first 45 years of her life. Inspired by some friends, she laced them up and gave it a try.

A couple months later, Dina would celebrate a 5km finish and run up to the 1/2 marathon distance over the next year.

An introduction to the trails would soon follow and it “awakened something” inside. Playing in nature would become an enjoyable and important part of Dina’s life.

Dina’s story shows how the courage to try something new can bring life enriching experiences and new possibilities. And buying lots of headlamps.

Enjoy our chat after Dina completed 10.76 miles at the Fossil Valley Trail Run 3 hour in north Texas.

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Bee Stings and Twisted Ankles, 500 Miles of Cactus Rose, and the Art of Stealth Running – Our Chat with Chris Russell


If you have played at Texas trail races, you have likely seen, heard, and even chatted with Chris Russell.

Standing at six foot big inches tall with a size 15 tread, Chris’s booming voice and welcoming smile has been know to share a story or two across the trail miles.

Chris played competitive hoops through his college years for the United States Air Force Academy as one of the big men of the team.

After school, exercise faded from his life until a humbling encounter while climbing Piestewa Peak in Phoenix, Arizona relit the movement fire. Chris began running 3.5 mile loops around the corn fields surrounding his home in Illinois and started exploring the trails to feed that growing internal hunger for adventure.

Besides the simple enjoyment of running in nature, being involved with its community provides a deep sense of happiness and belonging.

Enjoy our chat from this Spring after running 26 miles at Pandora’s Box of Rox Trail Run in central Texas.

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The Quest for Great Views, Reducing Injuries, and Playing Chicken with Falling Mountain Cantaloupes – Our Chat with Phil Uecker




The scale doesn’t tell the whole story, but one morning it told Phil Uecker of Texas enough to inspire a change.

“I’m not supposed to be 200 pounds. I need to get active.”

With no running background from his youth, the simplicity of heading out his front door and running the local dirt roads was an easy win. A 5km out and back run would be repeated throughout the week and a new-found joy in running progressively grew inside.

Then inspiration came from some of Phil’s favorite reads of adventure, exploration, and overcoming hardship. Phil started extending the miles, heading deeper into nature looking through the lens of adventure, as an explorer looking in the distance for the highest point and wondering, “What’s the view like up there?”

The next adventure began…

Enjoy our chat from this Spring after the Durty Spur 30k in north Texas.

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Becoming a Better Version of Self – Our Chat with David Infante


“Everything shook. The whole world shook.”

David Infante’s first run out his door in New Mexico wasn’t pretty.

Do you remember your first run or your first anything where you hadn’t developed many (or any) of the skills for the activity?

It can be awkward, uncomfortable, and even painful. Yet, sometimes there is something inside that says keep going, keep doing it anyways, there is something here for you.

David kept running. The world began to shake less. Running would become a sacred home to reflect and process life.

In 2012 after a weekend at the Team RWB Trail Running Camp, David brought home a new found appreciation for nature, for trails, for the real connection through shared experience, and the positive spirit of this running community.

“I found my place, where I need to be.”

Enjoy our chat after David’s Spring adventure at the inaugural Cactus to Cloud 50k in southern New Mexico.

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