Thursday, December 17, 2015

Texas' Fastest Marathon Courses

Late yesterday afternoon (originally December 10, 2015) at work, I was listening to a podcast and a certain race director self-rated his course second behind Houston and in front of Austin and Dallas as the fastest in Texas.

(UPDATE:  Before the marathons run on the weekend of December 12-13, 2015, the above statement was NOT true.  However, things changed and that statement is now true.)

I live my life trying to flush out hype.

Think of it as running's equivalent of  FactCheck.Org.

Actually, it is a debate - who has the fastest course - that you can never really settle. 

Because even if the same person ran two different courses, it is impossible for them to enter the race under the exact same conditions.

So I went to the place that has a lot of this data already calculated when they load up a race's results:

Granted, we've had races having to cancel because of weather conditions in the last year (think Cowtown and Frankenthon Monster Marathon) and some that are still yet to happen in 2015.

Therefore, these are the average times by races within the same groups of numbers of finishers using the data from their last completed race:

1,000 finishers and over
4:30:29 - Houston Marathon (2015; 7,132 finishers)
4:37:28 - Austin Marathon (2015; 3,137 finishers)
4:38:03 - Dallas Marathon (2015; 2,747 finishers)
4:52:37 - Cowtown Marathon (2014; 1,995 finishers)
5:01:43 - Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio Marathon (2015; 2,494 finishers)

500-999 finishers
4:26:01 - The Woodlands Marathon (2015; 894 finishers)
4:37:02 - Bryan-College Station BCS Marathon (2015; 639 finishers)
4:54:18 - Big-D Texas Marathon (2015; 663 finishers)

250-499 finishers
4:26:42 - El Paso Marathon (2015; 365 finishers)
4:31:43 - Fort Worth Marathon (2015; 284 finishers)
4:34:52 - Irving Marathon (2015; 415 finishers)
4:49:48 - The Army Marathon (2015; 419 finishers)

Under 250 finishers
4:13:57 - Marathon 2 Marathon (2015; 101 finishers)
4:29:13 - Galveston Mardi Gras Marathon (2015; 128 finishers)
4:38:24 - HITS Running Festival - Austin (2014; 33 finishers)
4:40:47 - Gusher Marathon - Beaumont (2015; 111 finishers)
4:43:30 - Tyler Rose Marathon (2015; 164 finishers)
4:51:45 - McAllen Marathon (2015; 183 finishers)
4:51:47 - Chosen Marathon for Adoption - New Braunfels (2015; 163 finishers)
4:58:52 - Hill Country Marathon - Marble Falls (2015; 57 finishers)
4:59:36 - New Year's Eve Marathon (2014; 140 finishers)
5:00:52 - Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon (2015; 176 finishers)
5:09:10 - Surfside Beach Marathon (2015; 92 finishers)
5:12:57 - Love. Run. Marathon. - Huntsville (2015; 51 finishers)
5:13:18 - Miracle Match Marathon - Waco (2015; 140 finishers)
5:13:33 - Davy Crockett Bear Chase - Groveton (2015; 64 finishers)
5:15:10 - Frankenthon Monster Marathon - Cedar Park (2014; 129 finishers)
5:22:46 - USA Fit Marathon - Sugar Land (2015; 220 finishers)
5:24:16 - New Year's Day Marathon - Allen (2015; 84 finishers)
5:47:16 - Grasslands Trail Run Marathon (2015; 65 finishers)
6:12:46 - Dust Bowl Series - Dalhart (2015; 43 finishers)

And then if you merged them altogether, this is what it would look like:


4:13:57 - Marathon 2 Marathon (2015; 101 finishers)
4:26:01 - The Woodlands Marathon (2015; 894 finishers)
4:26:42 - El Paso Marathon (2015; 365 finishers)
4:29:13 - Galveston Mardi Gras Marathon (2015; 128 finishers)
4:30:29 - Houston Marathon (2015; 7,132 finishers)
4:31:43 - Fort Worth Marathon (2015; 284 finishers)
4:34:52 - Irving Marathon (2015; 415 finishers)
4:37:02 - Bryan-College Station BCS Marathon (2015; 639 finishers)
4:37:28 - Austin Marathon (2015; 3,137 finishers)
4:38:24 - HITS Running Festival - Austin (2014; 33 finishers)
4:38:03 - Dallas Marathon (2015; 2,747 finishers)
4:40:47 - Gusher Marathon - Beaumont (2015; 111 finishers)
4:43:30 - Tyler Rose Marathon (2015; 164 finishers)
4:49:48 - The Army Marathon (2015; 419 finishers)
4:51:45 - McAllen Marathon (2015; 183 finishers)
4:51:47 - Chosen Marathon for Adoption - New Braunfels (2015; 163 finishers)
4:52:37 - Cowtown Marathon (2014; 1,995 finishers)
4:54:18 - Big-D Texas Marathon (2015; 663 finishers)
4:58:52 - Hill Country Marathon - Marble Falls (2015; 57 finishers)
4:59:36 - New Year's Eve Marathon (2014; 140 finishers)
5:00:52 - Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon (2015; 176 finishers)
5:01:43 - Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio Marathon (2015; 2,494 finishers)
5:09:10 - Surfside Beach Marathon (2015; 92 finishers)
5:12:57 - Love. Run. Marathon. - Huntsville (2015; 51 finishers)
5:13:18 - Miracle Match Marathon - Waco (2015; 140 finishers)
5:13:33 - Davy Crockett Bear Chase - Groveton (2015; 64 finishers)
5:15:10 - Frankenthon Monster Marathon - Cedar Park (2014; 129 finishers)
5:22:46 - USA Fit Marathon - Sugar Land (2015; 220 finishers)
5:24:16 - New Year's Day Marathon - Allen (2015; 84 finishers)
5:47:16 - Grasslands Trail Run Marathon (2015; 65 finishers)
6:12:46 - Dust Bowl Series - Dalhart (2015; 43 finishers)

Twist it how you wish because some already are.

Monday, December 14, 2015

2015 Race Announcing Year in Review

Wow.  What a year it has been ... but I'm looking forward to a little bit of a break.

After finish line announcing yesterday's 28th annual Fort Bend Kia 30K, produced by Andy Stewart and Finish Line Sports, I thought it was more but it was my 32nd race to announce in 2015.

This doesn't count the two track and three cross country meets or the "Some Like It Hot" run course water station at Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas in The Woodlands.

So call it 37 official events for the year.

There are other guys in the business - like San Antonio's Mark Purnell and Austin's Logan Delaware and perhaps others - who do more each year.

Whether I get to do one or 37, I'm always very, very thankful of the trust and respect that I have earned from the race directors that I've been fortunate enough to work with this year.

I had two 2-day events (Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon and the Sylvan Beach Duathlon and Triathlon) and four weekends where I announced two races.

I worked six races for Willie Fowlkes, five races for Robby Sabban, four races each for Andy Stewart and Bill Gardner, four events for Juris Green and The Woodlands HS track and field and cross country program and three races for Richard and Amie James.

I also had the opportunity to work with a few new race directors this year:

+  Danielle Jackson with Run For A Nurse 5K in Nassau Bay (on a referral from Chuck Bach).

+  Mana Vautier with Yuri's Night 5K, also in Nassau Bay.  Mana had heard me work Robby's races, but approached me at the Run For A Nurse 5K race.

+  Graham Schooley for Green 6.2 and Monster Mash.  Willie brought me in to work Green 6.2 as part of some other services he provided Graham, but RA Sports engaged me directly for Monster Mash.  I was invited to do the LinksRun Series, but was unable to be at three of the six first-year events.  (Therefore, I ran two of them and will probably do some of the ones this spring.)

+  Kelly Ramey and Azita Erfani with the Run One Series.

+  David Self with Sam Houston State University when I did the UIL Region III cross country meet (on a referral from Juris Green, but also as a result of Bearkat assistant cross country coach Tyler Sunwall hearing me at Nike South in the past).

I also want to thank Roxanne Davis, Lars Finanger, Angie Parker and Lauren Smith (the event producer, not the fast runner) for reaching out to me this past year to ask me to do a specific event or inquire about my availability.

My greatest joy out of doing what I get to do - besides the friendships that have developed as a result of it - is when things go well (i.e. an event starts on-time or flows smoothly as the result of excellent communication) and people are encouraged.

I had always gleaned my direction from the verse in Ephesians 4 that speaks about edification, but upon further study realized that this might have been in error.

What I do at a finish line - besides thanking sponsors and instructing athletes what they need to do or where they need to go - is more along the lines of exhortation or the "gift of encouragement".

Something I read stated the following:  "The Greek word for this gift is Parakaleo.  It means to beseech, exhort, call upon, to encourage and to strengthen."

Besides a lot of preparation for every event that I work (anywhere from three to six hours per race) and an incredible ability to recall a lot of information quickly, I believe making the finish line experience personally special - when possible (meaning sometimes I miss people) -- is a God-given ability that I'm very thankful to have.

The best moment of 2015?  Easy.  That was when I got to announce the finish at the Seabrook Lucky Trail Saturday Half Marathon of my daughter, Waverly.  What really got me emotional was while doing the awards and announcing her third place age group finish!

I also got to call her finish at the Baytown Bud Heat Wave this Fourth of July.

The most cool thing this year?  Definitely getting to interview Mary Cain before the Awards Ceremony at the Nike Cross South Regionals in The Woodlands.  A distant second was to call the pass in the water station as Matt Hanson took the lead on the second loop of the run course in going on to win this year's Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas.

Most flawless execution all year?  No doubt, the inaugural Run One Series race in downtown Houston in late August.  With wave starts, a different start and finish line and no timing mat at the start line, requesting for Jack McClintic to bring his digital clock for the start and ensuring that we started each wave exactly when the clock turned a precise time was probably my best execution in 2015.  Another distant second were Texas 10 Series races in Plano and Conroe when we started as the pre-race countdown clock hit zero.  (We might have done this at the Toughest 10K Kemah too.)

Runnerup to this might have been the plan that was put together as part of Running Alliance Sport to host the RRCA Southern Region 10K Championship in September at the Toughest 10K Kemah.  We were rewarded with being able to host the championship again in 2016.  (We're waiting on Texas state championship designations for 2016 currently.)

Most challenging race to work?  Pleasure Island Bridge Half Marathon in Port Arthur in November.  First, mosquitos that were of a different breed and then a torrential downpour with absolutely no cover.  (Working on acquiring a first-rate tent is an early season 2016 goal for me.)

I certainly wouldn't be able to do what I do well without the assistance of a number of different timers.

They've included this year (in alphabetical order):

Brad Davison, Lone Star Timing (Austin, TX)
Chuck Campbell and Rafael Iniguez, IAAP (San Antonio)
David O'Conor and Mike Takaha, Flash Results Texas (Houston) at UIL Region III XC Meet
Gary Mulvihill with Run Wild Sports Timing (Houston)
Jack McClintic, Greg Zarate and Patrick Zarate with Run Houston Timing (Houston)
Megan Cary, Cadence Sports (Austin) at CB&I Triathlon
Mike Hutcheson, Justin Smith and JJ Kick, No Limits Timing (Shreveport / Dallas)
Raul and Meghan Najera, RunFar Timing (Mansfield, TX)
Richard Campbell, Campbell Timing Systems (League City, TX)
Scott Wood, Athlete Guild (New Braunfels) at Muddy Trails

In a lot of places where I'm positioned at, I don't necessarily have access to power.  (Some places where we do, like Boerne for Texas10 Boerne, we aren't allowed to use it.)  I really appreciate Robby Sabban allowing me to use regularly - because I also use it for his five events - a Honda generator on a year-round basis.

The biggest change for me this past year was the acquisition of another sound setup in April, with some guidance from Steve Curry with SkyGod Productions in The Woodlands.

Basically, it is just two 1,500-watt JBL speakers and a Shure wireless microphone system.

I believe I've made some improvements in my delivery this past year simply because my microphone isn't tethered to a speaker any more.

I've tried to do more interviewing of people in and around the finish line - winners, sponsors, vendors, etc. - to mix up what you hear up a little bit.  (My next technical mission is to figure out how to incorporate two wireless microphones as I had a lot of fun working with Lars at Sylvan Beach Duathlon and Triathlon doing some "play by play" and "commentary" as racers were exiting transition from the swim to the bike.  I can only do that well with an expert like Lars.)

For the pros out there, all of this is routine stuff for them I guess.  For me, I learn and get better.

Some of these things will prepare me for some opportunities that may surface in 2017.

I think the one thing, though, if anything, that sets me apart is my preparation.

I can't recall everything, but I try to get everything that I think that I'm going to need to know down on "laminated cards" -- and do this as close to race time the night before to get any changes that the race director may throw at me.

So what are some of the reasons you might not hear your name called at the finish line?

1.)  If the race isn't using a reader or advance mat, I print the bib list and try to spot your bib number on there as you're running right at me.  (That is, if I don't know you already.)   If you're coming in with three or more, you're probably out of luck.  And when the race is more than about 500 registrants, then I'm trying to juggle three laminated cards.  My percentage goes down really, really fast.  And believe me, I'm disappointed that I miss recognizing you.

2.)  If you registered on race day.  Some timers are able to get them in the reader file.  Most can't.  And honestly, I understand all of the reasons why you might register on race day, but my only concern is making sure - with the timer - that you are in their timing file if you show up blank on the reader.  It is just one of the downsides of race day registration, you may not be audibly recognized.

There are some other minor reasons, but I've gone on long enough.

Thank you this past year if you raced a race that I announced.

I don't get a chance to hone my skills if you haven't put down your hard-earned discretionary income to race with the event producer that I'm working for.

If there's something you think I can do better, please approach me privately and let me know.  I would value your input.

If you're comfortable using me for a race that you produce and I'm available, please reach out to me.  Or if you're comfortable referring me, pass along my name and website --

Best wishes for a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year in 2016.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Spicewood Vineyards Half Marathon/10K - Finishers and Winners

Spicewood Vineyards Half Marathon
2009 - 93 (59 women, 34 men)
2010 - 141 (90 women, 51 men)
2011 - 209 (139 women, 70 men)
2012 - 212 (126 women, 86 men)
2013 - 193 (113 women, 80 men)
2014 - 240 (158 women, 82 men)

2009 - 1:19:51, Alan Crane
2010 - 1:20:01, Zerihun Ayele, Austin
2011 - 1:16:51, Richard J Powell, Sugar Land
2012 - 1:15:17, Richard Powell, San Marcos
2013 - 1:13:16, Richard Powell, San Marcos
2014 - 1:28:11, Troy Hibbitts, Brackettville

Overall - Female
2009 - 1:38:08, Mandy Olivares, Austin
2010 - 1:28:36, Desiree Ficker
2011 - 1:24:22, Asia Shah, Austin
2012 - 1:42:05, Shellie Oroshiba, Austin
2013 - 1:45:53, Shellie Oroshiba, Austin
2014 - 1:31:28, Grace Howley, Austin

2009 - 1:27:15, Hank Cantu, Spicewood
2010 - 1:34:37, Charles Cannon, Austin
2011 - 1:26:30, Rick Rischman, Plano
2012 - 1:34:35, Ned Tobey, Austin
2013 - 1:36:37, Michael Harnisch, San Antonio
2014 - 1:33:55, Dave Saltmarch, Austin

Masters - Female
2009 - 1:46:19, Laura Landes, Austin
2010 - 1:45:50, Sonya Manson, Austin
2011 - 1:35:49, Jamie Patterson, Austin
2012 - 1:44:45, Lisa Ansin, Austin
2013 - 1:53:56, Karen Lemens, Austin
2014 - 1:41:56, Sally Hall, Sugar Land

Spicewood Vineyards 10K
2009 - 150 (104 women, 46 men)
2010 - 132 (103 women, 29 men)
2011 - 160 (113 women, 47 men)
2012 - 147 (101 women, 46 men)
2013 - 120 (88 women, 32 men)
2014 - 138 (106 women, 32 men)

2009 - 39:25, Cody Carnett, Fredericksburg
2010 - 41:58, Dylan Minnick, Austin
2011 - 41:16, Tyler Reed, College Station
2012 - 41:53, David Zucker, Memphis, TN
2013 - 42:30, David Zucker, Memphis, TN
2014 - 42:19, Jeffery Underhill, Watauga

Overall - Female
2009 - 46:12, Christina Wolfe, Austin
2010 - 45:57, Christina Wolfe, Austin
2011 - 41:53, Joleen Kinzer, Austin
2012 - 47:17, Phyllis King
2013 - 50:38, Patricia Rojas, Cedar Park
2014 - 47:28, Lanae Hall, Cedar Park

2009 - 42:33, Barry Ortner, Copperas Cove
2010 - 47:17, Stephen Smith, Boerne
2011 - 42:37, Stephen Smith, Boerne
2012 - 51:01, Earl North, Johnson City
2013 - 46:56, Rafael Iniguez, San Antonio
2014 - 53:29, Larry Torres, Austin

Masters - Female
2009 - 53:04, Phyllis Harrington, San Antonio
2010 - 52:22, Ayon Wen-Waldron, San Antonio
2011 - 43:33, Karen Smith, Austin
2012 - 54:44, Emily Callman, Spicewood
2013 - 55:45, Lynda Gonzales, Austin
2014 - 48:51, Wendy Gaertner, Austin

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Lake Jackson Turkey Trot 10K/5K - Finishers, Winners and Legacy Runners

5K - Finishers
2013 - 244 overall (134 women, 110 men)
2014 - 279 overall (154 women, 135 men)
2015 - 283 overall (156 women, 137 men)

10K - Finishers
2013 - 72 overall (38 women, 34 men)
2014 - 89 overall (58 women, 31 men)
2015 - 94 overall (48 women, 46 men)

5K - Overall
2013 - 18:44, Aaron Wieczorek, 30, Houston
2014 - 18:26, Aaron Wieczorek, 31, Arlington, VA
2015 - 17:17, Kevin Duong, 16, Angleton

5K - Female Overall
2013 - 24:08, Sarah Heaner
2014 - 20:05, Heather Welsch, 12, Alvin
2015 - 22:20, Grecia Merritt, 27, Lake Jackson

5K - Masters
2013 - 22:38, Devin Theriot
2014 - 20:26, Tracy Herrington, 40, League City
2015 - 19:20, Jorge Mercado, 40, Pearland

5K - Masters Female
2013 - 24:32, Rene Miles
2014 - 26:56, Autrey Brown, 56
2015 - 23:23, Maria Carmichael, 41, Galveston

10K - Overall
2013 - 35:19, Chris Landin
2014 - 38:40, Kevin Duong, 15, Angleton
2015 - 36:19, Pablo Ponce, 16, Clute

10K - Female Overall
2013 - 42:18, Kelly Ramos
2014 - 43:04, Kaytlynn Welsch, 14, Alvin
2015 - 44:22, Amanda Price, 15, Lake Jackson

10K - Masters
2013 - 41:43, Jeff Vandaveer
2014 - 39:42, Hugh Leidlein, 54
2015 - 45:18, Kirk Anderson, 50, Lake Jackson

10K - Masters Female
2013 - 52:44, Cyndi Rickey
2014 - 48:40, Kim Knapp, 43
2015 - 52:34, Dana Angel, 45, Freeport

Three-Time Finishers (38)
Aaron Wieczorek, 32, M, Houston
Alexa Madenjian, 11, F, Lake Jackson
Billie Brannan, 45, F, Lake Jackson
Bobby Wright, 27, M, Houston
Bryan Agan, 49, M, Lake Jackson
Carol O'Connell, 48, F, Lake Jackson
Caroline Lowe, 18, F, Lake Jackson
Cecelia Carroll, 45, F, Angleton
Chris Lopez, 50, M, Angleton
Ed Madenjian, 53, M, Lake Jackson
Gina Strebeck, 47, F, Danbury
Jacqui Sikes, 34, F, Lake Jackson
Janey Orr, 31, F, Lake Jackson
Jesse Martinez, 48, M, Freeport
Kara Weber, 45, F, Lake Jackson
Kevin Merritt, 32, M, Lake Jackson
Kirk Anderson, 50, M, Lake Jackson
Kristi Piper, 41, F, Danbury
Laurie Fisher, 50, F, Lake Jackson
Lisa Madenjian, 51, F, Lake Jackson
Margot Yung, 13, F, Lake Jackson
Mark Faulkner, 40, M, Lake Jackson
Mark Wales, 58, M, Bay City
Max Royalty, 80, M, Lake Jackson
Melanie Christian, 45, F, Angleton
Michael Land, 27, M, Lake Jackson
Michele Lowe, 47, F, Lake Jackson
Nancy Yung, 49, F, Lake Jackson
Priscilla Gonzales, 38, F, Lake Jackson
Riley Kuhlman, 11, M, Lake Jackson
Samantha Madenjian, 15, F, Lake Jackson
Sarah Heaner, 31, F, Lake Jackson
Savannah Cornelius, 31, F, Wadsworth
Suzanne Dellinger, 48, F, Angleton
Tom Munson, 55, M, Brownwood
Trevor Kuhlman, 9, M, Lake Jackson
Will Heaner, 32, M, Lake Jackson
Xavier Navarro, 33, M, Freeport

Friday, November 27, 2015

Bay Area Turkey Trot 5K/10K - Legacy Runners (2009-2015)

Seven-Time Finishers (6)
Bitterly, Michelle
Boyd, Bruce
Boyle, Sandra
Jackson, Dan
Lancer, Karen
Rivas, Maria

Six-Time Finishers (22)
Bass, Eric
Bitterly, Charlie
Bitterly, Jessica
Bontz, Blake
Bontz, Martin
Cayton, Jeri
Clemens, Paula
Cooper, Maureen
Crawford, Ron
Danielson, Lisa
Davenport, Tami
Garcia, Anita
Hilbrich, Jake
Hilbrich, Lee Ann
Hunter, Anh
Johnston, Ruth
Lang, Kevin
Lee, Dale
Lee, Kerry
Martingano, Trina
Montoya, Monica
Stefanov, William

Five-Time Finishers (42)
Alvarez, Jim
Boodell, Kristie
Brewer, Heidi
Bue, Grant
Chapman, David
Chapman, Rylan
Conklin, Dave
Cotropia, Keith
Crawford, Angela
Crawford, Keri
Fierro, Priscilla
Frank, Terry
Garvin, Mark
Greivenkamp, Laura
Hashier, Megan
Hillman, Nicole
Jantowski, Cindy
Jordan, Carol
Kohn, Dale
Kuhl, Jennifer
Latimore, Emma
Latimore, Robin
Lucero, Javier
Maghames, Ghassan
McKinney, Sandy
Melgar, Mario
Nicodemus, Bailey
Nicodemus, Pauline
Niess, Geri
Ochel, Tina
Owen, Erin
Owen, Paul
Pearsall, Theresa
Praytor, Keith
Rios, Leno
Shaver, Matthew
Spruce, Mark
Vautier, Mana
Wheeler, Kathy
Winton, Paul
Womack, David
Yager, Carla

Four-Time Finishers (100)
Aceituno, Marjorie
Aguilar-Ramirez, Laura
Anderson, Heather
Barickman, Patricia (Pat)
Barta, Daniel
Bontz, Taylor
Carr, Bill
Christofferson, Sue
Clifford, Deb
Clifford, Erika
Clifford, Jared
Cole, Ross
Cooper, Steve
Crotwell, Garret
Decker, Kara
Decker, Kelly
Decker, Rebecca
Delafuente, Jenny
Delcampo, Adam
Delcampo, Linda
Delcampo, Nichole
Denison, Marlys
Eason, Kathy
Elgin, Page
Finkel, Timothy
Ford, Carissa
Ford, Susan
Frankum, Bonnie
Fudge, Andrew
Gannon, Kelly
Halloran, Allison
Halloran, Kate
Halloran, Sean
Hansen, Alexandra
Hansen, Ralph
Hansen, Sami
Hanson, Laura
Hardcastle, Lisa
Harper, Brittany
Harper, Tracey
Herrin, Nikki
Herrin, Tim
Huff, Ed
Johnson, Sophie
Johnson, Tom
Jones, Janet
Kessel, Andrea
Kimbrell, Raymond
Konvicka, Kristin
Latimore, Todd
Le Cara, Tony
Long, Emma
Loverdi, Mary
Lyon, Ed
Mallet, Kay
May-Sexton, Alice
Michela, Lisa
Morris, Josh
Morris, Kristi
Morris, Marla
Muldowney, Nancy
Neumann, David
Nicholas, Ashley
Nicodemus, John
Ochoa, Jose
Oliveri, Stephen
Owen, Rachel
Penders, Jennifer
Petty, Laurie
Piotrowski, Thomas
Propst, Tom
Rabel, Emily
Reeves, Michelle
Robbins, Chrs
Roberds, Taylor
Salazar, Esmerelda
Saxton, Andrea
Shaver, Bernice
Shurtz, Teresa
Snapka, Gerald
Stegemann, Anna
Sustala, Chris
Sustala, Shelby
Tate, Connie
Tate, David
Teichman, Kevin
Toler, Donna
Truscott, Brian
Ugartechea, Diane
Vassiliev, Nikolai
Velasco, Penelope
Waring, Jacquelyn
Watkins, Wendy
Wheeler, Scott
Williams, Daniel
Williams, Keith
Winton, Preston
Wittman, Judy
Yarzy, James
Yost, Marty

Bay Area Turkey Trot 10K/5K - Finishers and Winners

5K - Finishers
2009 - 256 (143 women, 113 men)
2010 - 389 (234 women, 155 men)
2011 - 467 (260 women, 207 men)
2012 - 681 (422 women, 259 men)
2013 - 516 (303 women, 213 men)
2014 - 504 (304 women, 200 men)
2015 - 469 (296 women, 173 men)

10K - Finishers
2009 - 323 (164 women, 159 men)
2010 - 251 (128 women, 123 men)
2011 - 365 (211 women, 154 men)
2012 - 382 (206 women, 176 men)
2013 - 323 (177 women, 146 men)
2014 - 345 (195 women, 150 men)
2015 - 305 (174 women, 131 men)

5K - Overall
2009 - 18:34, Larry Tidwell
2010 - 17:27, George Alvarado
2011 - 17:26, Zach Dwyer
2012 - 18:48, Forrest Bell
2013 - 17:13, Zach Dwyer
2014 - 16:56, Andrew Boone
2015 - 17:11, Andrew Boone

5K - Female Overall
2009 - 21:17, Jessica Bitterly
2010 - 19:49, Angela Vizzeri
2011 - 20:10, Savannah Alaniz
2012 - 18:51, Angela Vizzeri
2013 - 17:39, Emily Daum
2014 - 19:12, Virginia Ney
2015 - 20:46, Kelly Decker

5K - Masters
2009 - 18:43, Raymond Cruz
2010 - 17:56, Rudy Rocha
2011 - 18:54, Buddy Brown
2012 - 20:14, Dale Lee
2013 - 19;15, Christopher Marcelo
2014 - 18:56, Leno Rios
2015 - 18:37, Leno Rios

5K - Female Masters
2009 - 26:51, Silvia Valdez
2010 - 24:46, Michelle Bitterly
2011 - 26:07, Kim Kusanasi
2012 - 24:51, Tina Saldivar (24:45, Katie Raterink)
2013 - 24:40, Ashlee Dupont
2014 - 23:09, Maria Jaimes
2015 - 22:56, Venus Turner

10K - Overall
2009 - 32:58, John Hedengren
2010 - 36:46, Brian Alvarado
2011 - 34:47, Rudy Rocha
2012 - 32:00, Maximo Mendoza
2013 - 31:28, Jeremy Daum
2014 - 32:08, Matt McCurdy
2015 - 36:27, Kerry Lee

10K - Female Overall
2009 - 44:40, Ann Wacker
2010 - 47:26, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger
2011 - 38:35, Virginia Jones
2012 - 38:26, Virginia Jones
2013 - 37:31, Virginia Jones
2014 - 38:57, Stacy Holden
2015 - 41:11, Angela Vizzeri

10K - Masters
2009 - 40:59, Steve Dollinger
2010 - 40:32, Dale Lee
2011 - 37:51, Dale Lee
2012 - 38:55, Leno Rios
2013 - 37:53, David Wittman
2014 - 35:33, Chris Robbins
2015 - 36:55, Chris Robbins

10K - Female Masters
2009 - 47:12, Kimberly Zainfield
2010 - 48:14, Monica Montes
2011 - 48:23, Elizabeth Horton
2012 - 43:55, Dori Boyle
2013 - 41:35, Lori Johnson
2014 - 45:21, Ahn Hunter
2015 - 45:42, Ann Wacker

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Bayou City Half Marathon Series - Legacy Runners

These 302 runners have completed both half marathons - Katy Half Marathon and Cypress Half Marathon - so far of the Bayou City Half Marathon Series, produced by Onurmark Productions and Negative Split Productions:

- A -
Ahmed, Matt, 38, M, Houston
Aldridge, Kathy, 55, F, Houston
Alford, Andrea, 36, F, Houston
Artzner, Erin, 34, F, Houston
Arvizu-Puga, Jaime, 39, M, Houston
Austin, Linda, 53, F, Houston
Avendano, Dennis, 42, M, Katy

- B -
Ballew, Kimberly, 46, F, Cypress
Banks, Tanya, 40, F, Houston
Barrett, Karen, 36, F, Katy
Barrett, Peyton, 38, M, Katy
Barron, Donald, 44, M, Sugar Land
Bates, Jack, 47, M, Spring
Berglund, Nicole, 40, F, Houston
Bernard, Jennifer, 53, F, Katy
Biernacki, Andrea, 31, F, Houston
Bodkin, Michael, 55, M, Katy
Bolin, Aaron, 42, M, Katy
Borrero, Griselda, 45, F, Cypress
Bowman, Lantz, 39, M, Cypress
Brown, Kristen, 28, F, Cypress
Bruton, William, 51, M, Cypress
Buescher, Krishtian, 25, F, Fulshear
Burke, Laurie, 36, F, Katy

- C -
Calvillo, Raymond, 53, M, Freeport
Canales, Charles, 35, M, Friendswood
Capito, Oliver, 41, M, Katy
Carlson, Anessa, 37, F, Houston
Carroll, Amy, 46, F, Cypress
Carter, Cynthia, 45, F, Prairie View
Cashman, Dana, 38, F, Katy
Castillo, Jorge, 35, M, Houston
Castor, Raul, 51, M, Katy
Chase, Brandi, 36, F, Katy
Cheshier, Melissa, 43, F, Cypress
Clark, Joshua, 41, M, Houston
Colley, Tracy, 46, F, Magnolia
Collier, Tim, 45, M, Houston
Comeau, Joy, 56, F, Katy
Conde, Aldo, 49, M, The Woodlands
Cooper, Clint, 34, M, Houston
Cooper, Saira, 39, F, Katy
Craven, Moya, 41, F, Houston
Crompton, Joshua, 31, M, Katy
Crutcher, Matthew, 31, M, Katy

- D -
Dartez, Candace, 49, F, Katy
Demik, Stephen, 34, M, Cypress
Dennis, Christy, 37, F, Tomball
Deslauriers, Sheena, 31, F, Katy
Deweese, Angie, 44, F, Cypress
Dlabaj, Mary, 33, F, Katy
Dobbins, Angela, 32, F, Houston
Donovan, Gregory, 47, M, Cypress
Douglas, Kevin, 53, M, Woodway
Duong, Amy, 38, F, Houston

- E -
Eckermann, Ashley, 34, F, Cypress
Edmond, Erika, 46, F, Humble
Edwards, Abigail, 25, F, Houston
Eiler, Adam, 45, M, Houston
Enockson, Carolina, 45, F, Houston
Erck, Jenny, 43, F, Richmond
Evans, George, 49, M, Cypress

- F -
Fernandez, Cristina, 42, F, Houston
Finn, Nancy, 47, F, Katy
Fisher, Tira, 39, F, Richmond
Foerster, Courtney, 37, F, Houston
Foerster, Galen, 34, M, Houston
Ford, Clint, 35, M, Tomball
Furman, Lynn, 68, F, Katy
Furman, Robert, 69, M, Katy

- G -
Garcia, Victor, 33, M, Katy
Garner, Kelly, 31, F, Houston
Garr, Jeneen, 45, F, Cypress
Gibson, Kyle, 40, M, Katy
Gil, Estela, 44, F, Cypress
Gillis, Angela, 34, F, Beaumont
Goble, Mary, 51, F, Cypress
Gomez, Brandi, 38, F, Houston
Gonzalez, Daniel, 31, M, Cypress
Gonzalez, Faridy, 38, F, Houston
Gonzalez, Hector, 51, M, Katy
Gonzalez-Prescott, Carissa, 33, F, Houston
Gooden, Remi, 41, F, Houston
Goodman, Phylicia, 30, F, Houston
Gose, Neil, 27, M, Tomball
Graves, Lindy, 34, F, Houston
Greely, Anne Marie, 33, F, Fulshear
Greely, Matheau, 33, M, Fulshear
Greer, Lyndsey, 25, F, Houston
Grimal, Tiffany, 35, F, Cypress
Grivich, Theresa, 66, F, Huntsville
Grobleben, Sabrina, 47, F, Houston
Groseth, Melissa, 42, F, Katy
Gross, Joshua, 39, M, College Station
Gutierrez, Jaime, 59, M, Cypress

- H -
Haddox, Melissa, 54, F, Cypress
Hall, Chad, 37, M, Montgomery
Hall, Mary, 50, F, Houston
Harris, Cathy, 66, F, Katy
Harris, Kassie, 29, F, Seabrook
Harris, Miranda, 54, F, Houston
Harris, Miriam, 25, F, Houston
Haskett, Brian, 44, M, Tomball
Hawryluk, Myron, 39, M, Tomball
Heflin, Yvette, 46, F, Houston
Hernandez, Jessica, 41, F, Katy
Hill, Alyssa, 41, F, Cypress
Hinojosa, Hermes, 44, M, Houston
Hirt, Mace, 61, M, Katy
Hixon, David, 36, M, Cypress
Holcomb, Nancy, 70, F, Houston
Holcombe, Deborah, 56, F, Katy
Hollis, Carol, 51, F, Katy
Horvath, Michelle, 40, F, Houston
Huff, Fallon, 34, F, Richmond
Huffman, Angela, 44, F, Cypress
Hull, Shannon, 34, F, Cypress
Huynh, Henry, 26, M, Houston
Hymel, Alan, 30, M, Rosenberg
Hymel, Catherine, 27, F, Rosenberg

- I -
Ibarra, Lisa, 36, F, Katy
Irvine, Keith, 46, M, Houston

- J -
Jamandre, Ceasar, 42, M, Houston
Johse, Jill, 51, F, Katy
Jolley, Grant, 46, M, Houston
Jones, Andrea, 36, F, Spring
Jones, Brett, 34, M, Spring
Jones, Colleen, 54, F, Houston
Jones, Mary, 30, F, Houston
Jonsson, Karl, 46, M, Katy
Joyce, Letty, 48, F, Cypress

- K -
Kampschmidt, Ann, 52, F, Houston
Kelley, Colleen, 29, F, Katy
Kennedy, Miranda, 27, F, Fulshear
Khoobiar, Susan, 53, F, Tomball
Kimbrell, Karen, 54, F, Fulshear
Knippers, Miranda, 25, F, Katy
Kolkhorst, Charissa, 43, F, Tomball
Konduri, Pradhith, 19, M, Houston
Konduri, Ramesh, 48, M, Houston
Kosel, Happy, 55, F, Fulshear
Kosub, Kelly, 30, F, Katy
Kowalczyk, Mallory, 27, F, Katy
Kramer, Torrey, 41, M, Katy

- L -
Lamendola, Silvia, 48, F, Cypress
Lancaster, Michelle, 49, F, Cypress
Lane, Erin, 33, F, Houston
Lansang, Albert, 26, M, Houston
Laughlin, Jennifer, 38, F, Houston
Lawson, Kim, 44, F, Katy
Le, Van, 40, F, Houston
Lebig, Andrew, 32, M, Katy
Lee, Jenny, 32, F, Cypress
Lee, Nathan, 34, M, Cypress
Leigh, Robert, 17, M, Katy
Lemoine, Crystal, 43, F, Katy ,
Levy, Dora, 52, F, Cypress
Lewis, Emma, 38, F, Houston
Lockwood, Ryan, 29, M, Cypress
Loginov, Arthur, 55, M, Houston
Lopez, Phill, 44, M, Katy
Lowrey, Kimberly, 40, F, Houston

- M -
Mann, Mark, 55, M, Friendswood
Manuel, Roland, 49, M, Katy
Marcum, Sadie, 36, F, Houston
Marshall, Katherine, 34, F
Martin, Angeline, 35, F, Cypress
Martin, Rian, 35, M, Katy
Martinez, Carmen, 34, F, Houston
Martinez, Chuck, 46, M, Houston
Martinez, Maybelline, 41, F, Humble
Masraff, Lauren, 45, F, Cypress
Mathew, Molly, 63, F, Houston
Mayorga, Jesus, 32, M, Houston
McAfoose, Melody, 39, F, Cypress
McCraw, John, 45, M, Houston
McGriff, Christopher, 30, M, Katy
McInnis, Courtney, 33, F, Cypress
McKenna, Trent, 42, M, Houston
McKenzie, Rita, 49, F, Houston
McKernan, Diane, 48, F, Houston
McMurtrey, Samantha, 48, F, Houston
McPherson, Melissa, 43, F, Houston
Meier, Laurie, 43, F, Houston
Melloy, Kathy, 44, F, Cypress
Mentillo, Kelly, 47, F, Katy
Mickelson, Edward, 45, M, Pearland
Miller, Matthew, 38, M, Houston
Miller, Rachel, 28, F, Houston
Milner, Nicole, 38, F, Katy
Mitchell, Tonette, 48, F, Houston
Monarch, Stephanie, 43, F, Katy
Monroe, Christine, 40, F, Cypress
Morales, Frank, 47, M, Humble
Moran, Donna, 59, F, Willis
Moran, Mark, 60, M, Willis
Mosley, Lamegra, 41, F, Houston
Munger, Tiffany, 34, F, Cypress
Mwandia, Robert, 30, M, Richmond

- N -
Nathan, Shelly, 48, F, Houston
Neff, Calum, 31, M, Katy
Newsom, Kevin, 36, M, Katy
Nguyen, John, 36, M, Seabrook
Nguyen, Thi, 58, F, Cypress
Nguyen, Tuffli, 36, M, Cypress
Nicklen, Keri, 38, F, Katy

- O -
Ogle, Marcus, 33, M, Katy
Olleri, Winston, 39, M, Houston
Orzech, Charles, 52, M, Houston
Osborne, Jennifer, 41, F, Cypress

- P -
Pangilinan, Stella, 52, F, Houston
Paz, Elizabeth, 33, F, Katy
Perez-Abreu, Norma, 40, F, Houston
Pierce, Myca, 49, F, Katy
Pipes, James, 32, M, Katy
Pipes, Naomi, 33, F, Katy
Poduska, Daryl, 41, M, Houston
Polasek, Shana, 31, F, Katy
Ponder Jr., William, 35, M, Cypress
Probstfeld, Matt, 56, M, Katy

- R -
Ragsdale, David, 49, M, Brookshire
Ramirez, Rosa, 30, F, Cypress
Ramsey, Gary, 49, M, Houston
Raybon, Charmaine, 49, F, Katy
Reeves, Bradley, 29, M, Houston
Rey, Julia, 45, F, Tomball
Rhone, Lafrance, 48, F, Richmond
Riede, Meredith, 42, F, Cypress
Roach, Ann, 48, F, Pearland
Roach, John, 47, M, Pearland
Rock, David, 45, M, Cypress
Romero, Edgar, 46, M, Houston
Romero, Sandra, 42, F, The Woodlands
Russell, Katherine, 25, F, Houston

- S -
Sadberry, Denise, 48, F, Katy
Saikowski, Natalie, 37, F, The Woodlands
Salazar, Amy, 33, F, Houston
Salinas, Tencha, 53, F, Eagle Lake
Saqr, Sam, 42, M, Cypress
Scroggins, Karla, 52, F, Richmond
Shah, Shetu, 34, M, Katy
Shaner, Kim, 64, F, Katy
Shelander, Steve, 43, M, Sugar Land
Short, Brenda, 51, F, Cypress
Siebe, Angela, 46, F, Katy
Sinsabaugh, David, 54, M, Katy
Smith, Addison, 38, M, Sugar Land
Smith, Elizabeth, 39, F, Houston
Smith, Mike, 43, M, The Woodlands
Smith, Mike, 66, M, Cypress
Smith, Richard, 58, M, Cypress
Souders, Roger, 57, M, Houston
Spraberry, Jessie, 38, F, Tomball
Stafford-Cole, Stephanie, 46, F, Houston
Stein, Kari, 30, F, Richmond
Stephen, Brittany, 25, F, Houston
Stephenson-Lake, C., 41, F, Houston
Stewart, Jason, 32, M, Cypress
Stitt, Ron, 50, M, Houston
Stone, Wayne, 65, M, Houston
Stoneham, Kate, 40, F, Houston
Study, Rosemarie, 42, F, Katy

- T -
Terrell, A.j., 48, M, Katy
Thompson, Cherish, 38, F, Houston
Thompson, Eric, 44, M, Spring
Tielke, Andrea, 33, F, Houston
Tijerina, Manuel, 45, M, Cypress
Tomes, David, 53, M, San Antonio
Tomes, Nicole, 24, F, San Antonio
Tran, Giang, 45, M, Houston
Trnka, Kymberlee, 28, F, Katy

- U -
Urdaneta, Ivonne, 47, F, Cypress

- V -
Valle, Ruby, 27, F, Houston
Van Wie, Tory, 45, F, Cypress
Vasquez, Hector, 34, M, Katy
Vazquez, Violeta, 40, F, Cypress
Vitelli, Sean, 41, M, Cypress
Vu, Trang, 36, F, Katy

- W -
Walker, Billy, 60, M, Sachse
Watt, Mark, 43, M, Katy
Watts, Gail, 35, F, Fulshear
West, Margaret, 45, F, Fulshear
West, Mark, 44, M, Fulshear
Williams, Jeni, 39, F, Houston
Willmon, Bryan, 39, M, Katy
Willmon, Sharon, 35, F, Houston
Wilson, Sonya, 44, F, Tomball
Wise, Amy, 27, F, Houston
Wise, Patrick, 31, M, Houston
Witschonke, Shawna, 40, F, Cypress
Witte, Andrea, 46, F, Katy
Witte, Scott, 51, M, Katy
Woest, Debbie, 44, F, Katy
Wood, Kevin, 36, M, Cypress
Woodley, Janey, 61, F, Richmond

- Y -
Yamaguchi, Yoshiaki, 65, M, Houston

- Z -
Zapatka, Julie, 35, F, Humble
Zietsman, Kirsteen, 48, F, Cypress
Zimmerman, Jim, 57, M, Sugar Land
Zimmerman, Ron, 68, M, Tomball
Zorbas, James, 30, M, Cypress
Zwygart, Tiffany, 34, F, Katy

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Chevron Houston Marathon Legacy Runner Notes

So I'm using borrowed data here, but it is very well put-together data.

Data that started as an effort to take all of Jack Lippincott's results books of the early years of the Chevron Houston Marathon and put it into a very usable form.

The individual that spearheaded the gathering, OCR scanning and programming of the databases and subsequent website was done by a good friend of mine, ultramarathoner and Chevron Houston Marathon veteran himself, Dalton Pulsipher.

It resides on the Internet as

I discovered yesterday that there are four links to be able to download the current lists of marathoners and half marathons who have run 10 or more of each event as well as those who have run 5-to-9 of one or the other.

I took those clicks on the Information Superhighway!

These are the following numbers in each category:

+  1,572 marathoners have run 10 or more Chevron Houston Marathons  (1,225 men, 347 women)

+  4,213 marathoners have run between 5 and 9 Chevron Houston Marathons (3,154 men, 1,059 women)

+  97 half marathoners have run 10 or more Aramco Houston Half Marathons (48 men, 49 women)

+  1,740 half marathoners have run between 5 and 9 Aramco Houston Half Marathons (805 men, 935 women)

That's 7,622 entries for a total of 59,582 official finishes.

1,832 of those 7,622 -- 24% -- finished one of the two races last year.  1,482 did the marathon while 350 ran the half marathon.

73 of those 97 half marathoners that are now Aramco Houston Half Marathon veterans ran the race in 2015.

There are three runners who are veterans at both distances:

Nathaniel Collins (24 total finishers - 14 half marathons and 10 marathons)
Joann Luco (22 total finishes - 12 half marathons and 10 marathons)
Sammy Balch (20 total finishes - 10 half marathons and 10 marathons)

Another 178 have five or more finishes in both events.

Jay Murry, who last finished the half marathon in 2013, is the next one that is eligible to enter this group of "double veterans" as he recorded 16 marathon finishes through 2014 and crossed nine half marathon finish lines through 2013.

The five most number of combined finishes - where the runner has five or more in both events - are as follows:

Gerald Meyers (31 total finishes - 25 marathons and 6 half marathons)
Phillip Smith (30 total finishes - 25 marathons and 5 half marathons)
Margaret Montgomery (29 total finishes - 24 marathons and 5 half marathons)
Robert Thompson (28 total finishes - 23 marathons and 5 half marathons)
Stephen Sawchak (27 total finishes - 20 marathons and 7 half marathons)

Speaking of "Who wants to become a Chevron Houston Marathon or Aramco Houston Half Marathon veteran?", there's 348 - 286 marathoners and 62 half marathoners - that have nine (9) official finishes in that respective distance.

Almost 40% of those runners (including me) finished that same distance last year.  134, to be exact - or 38.5%.

Youngest in the Marathon 5-to-9?  Jenna Loredo, who finished her 5th Houston Marathon last year at the age of 17.  Twenty-year-old Auston Douglas is the youngest male with 6 marathon finishes.

The youngest half marathoners in the 5-to-9 pool are Connor Hannigan and Carrie McIntyre, who both finished their fifth Aramco Houston Half Marathon in 2014 at the age of 16.

So who are the youngest marathon veterans?

Raymond Tam and Elaine Ver Halen.

They were 25 and 31 when they finished their last Houston Marathon, respectively, in 2015 and 2014.  Raymond has 10 marathon finishes while Elaine has 11.

Brett Davis ran this year's marathon (2015) at the age of 31 for his 16th finish while Chris St. Jean ran his 12th Chevron Houston Marathon - also this year - at 32.

There are also 24 runners age 70 and over who are veterans at either distance -- and all of them finished last year's race.

The oldest of the marathoners are Boris Balic and The Woodlands' Jim Braden.  Both were 79 when they finished this January.  Boris has 33 finishes to his credit while Jim has 19.

Two females - Sally Sims and Ute Eisele - are also in that category.  They are both 71 and Ute last year ran her 10th Chevron Houston Marathon to become a veteran.

Four half marathoners - the oldest being Hans Meyer at 79.  He has finished 11 half marathons while Collins has 14 (at the age of 78) followed by Michael Chicka's 13 and Sesh Bala's 12.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Findlay Township Semi-Great Race 5K Event Report

Those of you who know me well and/or have for a long time know that I'll jump into race just about anywhere I can.  Solely for the fun of it and the experience of running some place new.

In the midwest, there's a lot of races on weekday evenings, especially in small towns.

So I looked just this past week to see if there were any such events between the Pitsburgh International Airport and Parkersburg, West Virginia, where I would run in the News and Sentinel Half Marathon for the fifth time.

Sure enough, there was.

And it was within five miles of the airport.

And within an hour and a half of when my plane was scheduled to land.

That part was fairly easy as we landed early, but bags coming to the carousel from United took longer than it normally does.

Getting my rental car from Enterprise and out of the garage, I was in Findlay Township and Clinton, Pennsylvania no later than 6:15 p.m.

By 6:45 p.m., I had signed up -- just $10 (Wow!), changed clothes, cleared my times from my last race (after writing them down) and headed to the start line with plenty of time.

The race was the Findlay Township Semi-Great Race 5K and it is part of the 40th annual Findlay Township Fair in The Woodlands, held in "woodsy Clinton Park".

And woodsy is a good thing.  It was really nice.

While there seemed like a few more at the start, there were 165 official timed finishers.

This race had a "hometown, old school" feel to it, which was great.

No need for a lot of announcements.  The gun was fired and we were off.

The first half mile ran through where they were holding the Fair on a paved trail.  Then the first couple of hills came.

It was basically an out and back with rollers.  You ran across State Highway 30, which was backed up with traffic in both directions, out to about the 1.8-mile mark and then haded back to the Park (just off a place that you passed on the way out).

Regarding the traffic:  Sure there had to be some mad people in those lines.  I probably would have been, especially if I had somewhere to go.

The time wasn't great (33:21.78), but work has been kicking my butt the last few weeks.  The last time I had run was last Saturday when Waverly and I completed the Lynchburg Half Marathon in Virginia together.

The miles went by in 10:44.21, 10:54.74 and 11:42.83 in the last 1.1.  I mapped it back here at the hotel in Marietta, Ohio a little while ago and it turned up 3.12 miles.  Perfect.

Totally worth doing and I would encourage it for anybody that happened to be in the greater Pittsburgh area whenever they hold it in the future.

It was my 39th race of 2015 and the 128th North American town or city outside of Texas that I've run in since 2003.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

37th annual Honeywell Lunar Rendezvous Run 5K Race Report

In a way, at times, I really don't have anything better to do than to go out and run a race - or be involved with one.

The day is doubly better when you can do both, right?

Seriously, I don't have a ton of hobbies.  Plus, this one - running - is a little cheaper than many and is a lot better for me.

At the same time, I got the media bug from my grandfather and father growing up and even at 48, which I don't feel AT ALL, I still enjoy recognizing people for their accomplishments.

I don't remember how the conversation went last year, but basically I've just assumed the role of helping out race director - and friend - Jay Lee get everyone to the start line on-time for the 37th annual Honeywell Lunar Rendezvous Run 5K as well as handling the post-race awards ceremony for him.  (I will miss Outrigger's in three weeks this year as I'll be running the Lynchburg (Va.) Half Marathon with Waverly as we leave her there for her junior year of college at Liberty University.)

I think both would be considered a success today.

On to the running.  Hot and humid.  What would a Lunar Rendezvous Run be without being so?

I have to give my daughter credit for something -- after racing with her last week on vacation three times -- and that is to go out slower than I normally do.  She does it incredibly well.

Have I heard this before?  Of course I have.

Have I heeded the call?  Ah, no.

The recent 5Ks that I have run by myself and not following this method have been slower - from 15 seconds to close to two minutes.  Put down a sub-10 minute mile and crash and burn the rest of the way.

Offset - 17.71
Mile 1 - 10:11.41
Mile 2 - 10:10.05
Mile 3 - 10:36.61
Last .1 - 37.18

Total - 31:35.24

And Lunar, given the open setting as you run onto the grounds of NASA's Johnson Space Center, is prone to a LOT of fast starts.  It is something that I warned Waverly about before we started.

I watched a few people that I run close to their time take off ahead of me, but for the first time in a long, long time, I watched as I was able to slowly and surely reel them in as I was enjoying the new approach - for me.

Waverly ran 3.4 miles before the start of the race to get a semi-long run in today.  We have about 8-9 to do next Sunday night.

Jay had astronaut Suni Williams out today to run the race and help out during the awards ceremony.  Most people, especially runners, remember that she ran the Boston Marathon on a treadmill on the Space Shuttle in space.

I remember one year when she was signing pictures and making a personal appearance at the Chevron Houston Marathon Expo many years ago, but found her to be a very outgoing, positive individual when I had a chance to visit with her before and after the race.  Astronauts, of course, have to have great fitness to do what they do, but Suni was genuine in her encouragement of other's quests for fitness when she spoke before the race.

And she was totally unconcerned about her time because after we recognized the overall winners this morning and then brought up two-time masters winner Peter Lawrence, she didn't even realize that she won the masters division like she had

Spearheaded by former HARRA president Joe Carey, Bay Area Running Club put together an out-of-season HARRA competition - to celebrate its 40th anniversary as a club -- and welcomed four other HARRA teams that put together teams.  They included the Al Lawrence Running Club, the Bayou City Road Runners, the Terlingua Track Club (with Roger Boak, Ben Harvie and Rich "Buzz Lightyear" Vega) and the Tornados Running Club.

Really made for a great and fun atmosphere this morning.

But what made it great for me, as it always does, is the number of people that I get to see and interact with.  And truly too many to name without inadvertently offending someone, but I have to say that I'm very, very fortunate.

I think the one thing that I enjoy about working races with Jay and Robby (Sabban) is that they both have teams - with many of the same players - that just know how to get things done, make things happen and do them very, very well to produce a quality, well-run event.

No drama.  Just (put on the) run.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Race in 120 Cities or Towns Outside of Texas ... And Counting!

1.  Williamsport, PA - Race For Your Heart 5K
2.  Shreveport, LA - Sportspectrum Autumn Breeze 10K
3.  Lafayette, LA - Cingular Wireless Cajun Cup 10K

4.  Little Rock, AR - Little Rock Half Marathon
5.  Columbus, OH - Capital City Half Marathon
6.  Lakewood, OH - 3rd annual Lakewood Hospital Foundation Ambulance Chase 5K
7.  Sharon, PA - 2nd annual 5K Sunset Shuffle
8.  Indianapolis, IN - Indianapolis Life 500 Festival Mini-Marathon
9.  Kennett, PA - Kennett Square Run
10.  Oklahoma City, OK - Panera Bread Super Summer Eight
11.  Joliet, IL - Joliet Park District Sundowner 5K
12.  Hammond, IN - 24th annual Friendship Race 5K
13.  Chicago, IL - 28th annual Chicago Distance Classic
14.  Manchester, NH - 12th annual Cigna Healthcare Corporate 5K Road Race
15.  Hopewell, NJ - 25th annual Hopewell Challenge 10K
16.  Cuyahoga Falls, OH - Buckeye Half Marathon
17.  Washington, DC - Marine Corps Marathon
18.  Lake Charles, LA - Swamp Stomp Half Marathon

19.  Des Moines, IA - Drake Relays On The Roads Half Marathon
20.  Lincoln, NE - Lincoln Half Marathon
21.  Parkersburg, WV - News and Sentinel Half Marathon
22.  Albuquerque, NM - Sandia Peak Keith Howard Challenge 7. 2 Miles
23.  Flagstaff, AZ - Big Brothers Big Sisters Half Marathon
24.  New York City, NY - ING New York City Marathon

25.  New Orleans, LA - Mardi Gras Marathon
26.  The Dalles, OR - Wheatfield Half Marathon
27.  Vancouver, BC - Spring Forward 5K (Stanley Park)
28.  Prince George, BC - Prince George Roadrunners Hart Half Marathon
29.  White Rock, BC - Sandcastle City Classic 10K
30.  Tacoma, WA - Sound to Narrows 12K
31.  Port Angeles, WA - North Olympic Discovery Half Marathon
32.  Bellingham, WA - Berry Dairy Days 10K
33.  Battle Ground, WA - Harvest Days Milk Run 10 Miler
34.  Anacortes, WA - Tesoro March Point 10K
35.  Squamish, BC - Squamish Days 10K
36.  Fairhaven, WA - Fairhaven Runners Waterfront 15K
37.  Seattle, WA - Elephant Stampede 5K
38.  Boise, ID - City of Trees Marathon
39.  Mount Vernon, WA - FootwoRX Fowl Fun Run 10K
40.  Surrey, BC - Bear Creek Classic 10K
41.  Jacksonville, FL - Jacksonville Marathon

42.  Alpharetta, GA - Alpharetta Marathon
43.  Mercer Island, WA - Mercer Island Rotary Run Day Half Marathon
44.  Wenatchee, WA - Apple Blossom 10K
45.  Spokane, WA - Bloomsday 12K
46.  Fargo, ND - Fargo Half Marathon
47.  Hastings, MN - Apple Blossom Half Marathon
48.  Lander, WY - Lander Half Marathon
49.  Leadville, CO - Leadville Heavy Half Marathon
50.  Roaring Springs, PA - Liberty Days 5K
51.  Erie, PA - Presque Isle Half Marathon
52.  Ridgefield, CT - Ridgefield Half Marathon
53.  Tucson (Oracle), AZ - Tucson Marathon

54.  Abilene, KS - Eisenhower Half Marathon
55.  St. Louis, MO - Go! St.   Louis Half Marathon
56.  Rochester, MN - Med-City Marathon
57.  Sioux Falls, SD - Sioux Falls Half Marathon

58.  Mobile, AL - First Light Half Marathon
59.  Wilmington, DE - Delaware Half Marathon
60.  South Bend, IN - Sunburst Races Half Marathon
61.  Ridgeland, MS - Renaissance at Colony Park Half Marathon
62.  Smithsburg, MD - Bill Beckwith 5K
63.  Arkadelphia, AR - Running to be Cancer FrEEE Breast Cancer 5K
64.  Greenville, SC - Spinx Fest Half Marathon
65.  Augusta, GA - 2nd annual Augusta Half Marathon
66.  Clarksville, TN - Clarksville Half Marathon
67.  Roanoke, VA - Star City Half Marathon
68.  Concord, NC - Hendrick Marrow Program Half Marathon

69.  Jackson, MS - Mississippi Blues Half Marathon
70.  Ipswich, MA - Chase The Gorilla Down Argilla 5K
71.  Scituate, MA - Shawn Patterson Memorial Road Race 10K
72.  Bozeman, MT - Lewis and Clark Half Marathon
73.  Garden City, UT - Bear Lake Half Marathon
74.  Altoona, PA - Altoona Summer Biathlon
75.  Louisville, KY - Walk Away From Colon Cancer 5K
76.  Elroy, WI - Elroy Tunnel-Trails Half Marathon
77.  Philadelphia, PA - Philadelphia Marathon

78.  Brewton, AL - Blueberry Chase 5K
79.  Kailua-Kona, HI - UCC Coffee Kona Marathon
80.  San Francisco, CA - San Francisco Marathon
81.  Park City, UT - Park City Marathon
82.  West Bend, IL - Eisenbahn Marathon
83.  Sioux Falls, SD - Sioux Falls Marathon
84.  Moline, IL - Quad Cities Marathon
85.  Bristol, NH - New Hampshire Half Marathon
86.  Portland, ME - Maine Half Marathon
87.  Mandeville, LA - Gulf Coast Half Marathon
88.  Huntsville, AL - Rocket City Marathon
89.  Springfield, MO - Run For The Ranch Marathon

90.  Olathe, KS - Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz
91.  Reno, NV - Reno 5000
92.  Anchorage, AK - Alaska's Men's Run 5-Miler
93.  Fairbanks (Fox), AK - 47th annual Gold Discovery Run
94.  Cordova, AK - King Salmon Marathon
95.  Rachel, NV - Extraterrestrial Full Moon Midnight Marathon
96.  Baton Rouge, LA - Reindeer Run 5K
97.  Franklinton, LA - Q50 Seven-Mile Trail Run

98.  Cape May, NJ - Ocean Drive Marathon
99.  Holidaysburg, PA - Bud Shuster Run For Your Life 5K
100.  State College, PA - 4th annual Beaver Stadium Run 5K
101.  Champaign, IL - Presence Covenant Medical Center Illinois 5K
102.  Cleveland, OH - Inside The Park Home Run Races 4M
103.  Forest, VA - Poplar Forest 5K
104.  Salem, MA - Devil's Chase 6.66-Miler
105.  Falmouth, MA - Cape Cod Marathon
106.  Raleigh, NC - City of Oaks Marathon

107.  Irvington, AL - Bryant High School Hurricane 5K
108.  Tyrone, PA - Faith Day 10K
109.  Clearfield, PA - Royal 5K
110.  Pembroke, NC - Lumbee Homecoming 5K
111.  Gastonia, NC - Hot Top Trail Race 10K
112.  Lynchburg, VA - Lynchburg Half Marathon
113.  Burnham, PA - Grace Race 5K
114.  Tipton, PA - 6th annual Labor Day 5K
115.  Broomfield, CO - Aspen Creek PTA K-8 Howl at the Moon 5K
116.  Denver, CO - Blue Shoe Run For Prostate Cancer 5K
117.  Peetz, CO - Peetz Glow For It Run 5K

118.  Minden, LA - Minden Run For St. Jude Half Marathon
119.  Fort Smith, AR - Fort Smith Half Marathon
120.  Bay St. Louis, MS - Bring It To The Bay Half Marathon
121.  Grand Caverns Signature 5K, Grottoes, VA
122.  Montalto Challenge 5K, Charlottesville, VA
123.  Camp Creek 5K, Waverly, NE
124.  Sturgis Falls Half Marathon, Cedar Falls, IA

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Another Look Behind The Curtain

I have some time to reflect this morning, which I don't take enough time to do.

I think a lot of times people think I race announce for me.  I don't.  I do it for everybody else.

I have a God-given and family-directed (my grandfather) talent for it, which I'm thankful for, but it really is a way for me to express love - in a friendly sense, obviously - towards other people and what they're doing in their lives.

What's a challenge, though, is the side of event production that people don't see.

There are times that I want to walk away for various reasons - some of which I won't go into because they're truly internal.

Externally, the market for races has gotten a little cut-throat, which is discouraging, and there are producers that I work for who are the target of that negative competition.

How do you respond to that on behalf of the people that you work with?  Well, you work harder, smarter and build alliances that are mutually beneficial.

Even what I do has a little competition.

For the first time this year, I've had somebody else who does what I do "sniff around" about some of the events that I work.

It has put a little pressure on me, even though I've been blessed already with a great professional career.  (Translated:  I don't need to announce to pay the bills.)

And, yesterday, as a result, I stepped up my game - and energy (remembering an RD that i work for now saying that "he liked the energy" that somebody he used to use in a prior position) - working the sixth annual Green 6.2 for RA Sports Management through WinWin Events.

When you work with a new race producer, it is human nature that while you want to do your best for yourself you also want to be pleasing to others with your performance.

Especially when those around may be able to use your talents at other events.

Although, one of the co-owners of RA Sports Management, who I hadn't met before yesterday, commented after the race to me about my professionalism in my work.

That, actually, meant the world to me.

And the other was when I was introduced by a professional peer (and friend) to somebody else on their team as being "a great father".

And that, honestly, is why I keep pushing through the rough spots.  I get to provide for my daughter - and others - through what I do.

In the last two years, I've been asked:  What do you charge?

Initially, it was a tough question to answer because I did what I did as a labor of love.

However, because of the quality of my work, it became just that -- work.

Work that I had to invest the right amount of time to earn that label of being "professional".

I certainly don't want to go into the detail of all of my arrangements with various event producers (because it is different for those that I started working with before I charged for my time and efforts), but from what I earned in 2013-2014, $3,900 was used on various ministry efforts or charitable giving in 2014.

And already I've put down $2,000 towards Waverly making another trip with New Hope Initiative to Kenya and Tanzania in early June -- and return to the slums of Kibera and see a young woman whose education that she sponsored in 2013-2014 and we did jointly (because she wasn't working while going to college) in 2014-2015.

I'm thankful - and fortunate - I'm able to do that.

Yet I still have to perform and I will.  And I also couldn't do what I do without the great support that I receive from others - individually and from the many event production teams that I work with.

The sport(s) of running - and triathlon - have opened many doors and created many friendships and opportunities for me and my daughter.

It is just a daily challenge to figure out what things - in the future - that I want to do in the free time that I have available to me.

Believe me, it changes constantly.

Have a great Sunday and the week to come, especially those that will be participating in next weekend's BP MS150 and the Boston Marathon.

Friday, March 27, 2015

St. Paddy's Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Half Marathon - 4- and 5-Time Finishers

5-Time Finishers
Amberlyn Keller, 35, Houston
Florie Bici, 50, Houston
Gerry Kavanagh, 54, Houston
Gina Buti, 54, Richmond
Guy Lowe, 54, Sugar Land
Joe Lance, 55, Weston Lakes
Kay Duplichan, 78, Rockport
Kelva Kelly, 52, Sugar Land
Kevin Smith, 49, Houston
Krish Ravishankar, 58, Sugar Land
Kristin Thomas, 33, Sugar Land
Mary Sorgenfrei, 55, Sugar Land
Theresa Bueno, 47, Missouri City

4-Time Finishers
Allison Botard, 45, Sugar Land
Amy Villasenor, 50 (2014)
Becky Nesbitt, 44, Hempstead
Bill Sheets, 55, Houston
Brett Cole, 48, Sugar Land
Brian Kleczkowski, 39, Houston
Catherine Svoboda, 41 (2014)
Diana Ibarra (2014)
Dwayne Gassmann, 48, Missouri City
Eric Chi, 28 (2014)
Francisco Arriola Jr, 58, Houston
Fu-Sheng Lee, 53, Sugar Land
Graham Khan, 46, Sugar Land
Jacobo Behar, 46, Sugar Land
Janet Beaver, 54
Jennifer Pao, 43, Sugar Land
Jetola Anderson-Blair, 53, Houston
Joe Downing, 59, Houston
John Mannion, 43, Sugar Land
Jonathan Blankenheim, 38, Sugar Land
Julio Salazar, 48 (2014)
Justin Johns, 32, Houston
Karen Robbins, 55, Sugar Land
Kelly Heintz, 41, Pearland
Kingsley Nzeadibe, 58, Houston
Kumaran Pandourangan, 41, Cypress
Larry Lindeen, 74, Houston
Lisa Royce, 55, Sugar Land
Maria Ibarra, 49 (2014)
Michelle Howard, 50, Sugar Land
Paula Hernandez, 33, Cypress
Peter Lombardi, 44 (2014)
Quynh Wong, 41, Houston
Rachel Sabol, 41 (2014)
Robert Sawchuk, 50, Sugar Land
Rosicela Lara, 33, Houston
Ryan Smith, 29, Houston
Shannon Hutchinson, 44, Stafford
Stacie Ringleb-Krutilek, 41, El Campo
Steve Hurysz, 47, Houston
Steve Wong, 42, Houston
William Botard, 13 (2014)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Doubles at the Gusher and Zydeco!

This past weekend, March 7-8, 2015, the 6th annual Exygon and Baptist Hospitals Gusher Marathon and the 2nd annual Zydeco Marathon were held on consecutive days in Beaumont, Texas and Lafayette, Louisiana, respectively.

Twenty-seven (27) runners completed a half marathon or marathon at both events.

Gusher Marathon / Zydeco Marathon (15)

08:34:06 - Rene Kim, 50, Lafayette, CA (4:13:20/4;20:46)
08:34:08 - Miriam Schuman, 50, New York, NY (4:13:20/4:20:48)
08:45:52 - Susan Craig, 46, Soldotna, AK (3:54:58/4:52:24)
09:25:36 - Natalie Dale, 37, Portage, MI (4:28:56/4:56:40)
09:28:58 - Ken Fattman, 59, Walnut Shade, MO (4:44:10/4:44:48)
09:42:17 - Tim Mullican, 54, Mitchell, SD (4:55:17/4:47:00)
09:56:23 - Karen Austin, 36, St. Louis, MO (4:32:56/5:23:27)
09:56:23 - Martin Cronin, 42, St. Louis, MO (4:32:56/5:23:27)
10:07:17 - Steven Holehan, 49, Schenectady, NY (4:44:18/5:22:59)
10:39:58 - Calix Fattman, 12, Walnut Shade, MO (5:13:08/5:26:50)
10:44:37 - Julia O'Carroll, 37, Sulphur, LA (5:06:39/5:37:58)
10:46:59 - Christelle Douillet, 46, Chapel Hill, NC (5:04:04/5:42:55)
11:28:25 - Vern Patterson, 56, Solon, OH (5:42:15/5:46:10)
11:43:34 - Yen Nguyen, 52, Houston, TX (5:42:33/6:01:01)
11:47:48 - Peter Bennett, 40, Houston, TX (5:46:47/6:01:01)

Gusher Marathon / Zydeco Half Marathon (3)

7:32:01 - Cherry Woodsmall, 43, Beaumont, TX (4:50:08/2:41:53)
7:51:59 - Damon McCarty, 34, Clayton, WI (4:57:13/2:54:26)
8:00:33 - Dawn Burris, 51, Beaumont, TX (5:28:40/2:41:53)

Gusher Half Marathon / Zydeco Marathon (2)

7:04:04 - Woody Barton, 47, Silsbee, TX (2:53:27/4:10:37)
8:23:05 - Donna Dullys, 39, New York, NY (2:28:22/5:54:43)

Gusher Half Marathon / Zydeco Half Marathon (7)

3:54:37 - David Pultz, 49, Baton Rouge, LA (1:58:14/1:56:23)
3:59:38 - William Ostheimer, 37, Carencro, LA (2:04:32/1:55:06)
5:00:41 - Sylvia Gilmore, 61, Beaumont, TX (2:18:47/2:41:54)
5:21:32 - John Danigole, 42, Sulphur, LA (2:35:07/2:46:25)
5:57:15 - Vicki Villarreal, 52, Webster, TX (2:52:09/3:05:06)
7:10:33 - Karen Gilman, 53, Beaumont, TX (3:14:17/3:56:16)
7:10:33 - Lauren Rogers, 34, Beaumont, TX (3:14:17/3:56:16)

Additionally, the voice of the Gusher Marathon, Jon Walk, 48, of Spring, Texas, announced the festivities outside of the Montagne Center on the campus of Lamar University before running the half marathon on Sunday - and with the driving force behind the 50 States Marathon Club, Steve Boone, on his first of two loops in his 600th-plus marathon.

2015 Race Announcing Schedule

Jan. 1 (Thu.) - Texas Marathon, Kingwood, TX

Feb. 1 (Sun.) - Galveston Marathon, Galveston, TX
Feb. 7 (Sat.) - Run For A Nurse 5K, Nassau Bay, TX

Mar. 4 (Wed.) - The Woodlands High School Freshman Boys/JV Track Meet, The Woodlands, TX
Mar. 7 (Sat.) - Exygon and Baptist Hospitals Gusher Marathon, Beaumont, TX
Mar. 12 (Thu.) - The Woodlands High School Varsity Wacky Races, The Woodlands, TX
Mar. 14 (Sat.) - Seabrook Lucky Trails Half Marathon, Seabrook, TX
Mar. 15 (Sun.) - Seabrook Lucky Trails Marathon, Seabrook, TX
Mar. 22 (Sun.) - Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Marathon, Sugar Land, TX
Mar. 29 (Sun.) - Texas10 Boerne, Boerne, TX

Apr. 4 (Sat.) - Muddy Trails Bash 10K/5K, The Woodlands, TX
Apr. 18 (Sat.) - Yuri's Night 5K, Nassau Bay, TX
Apr. 19 (Sun.) - Texas10 Plano, Plano, TX

May 2 (Sat.) - CB&I Triathlon, The Woodlands, TX
May 3 (Sun.) - Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Triathlon, Sugar Land, TX
May 30 (Sat.) - El Chupacabra de Houston 10K/5K, New Caney, TX

Jun. 13 (Sat.) - Sylvan Beach Kids Triathlon, La Porte, TX
Jun. 14 (Sun.) - Sylvan Beach Triathlon and Duathlon, La Porte, TX
Jun. 20 (Sat.) - No Label Brewing 1st Street 5K, Katy, TX

Jul. 4 (Sat.) - Baytown Bud Heat Wave 5M, Baytown, TX

Sep. 5 (Sat.) - Galveston Sand Crab 10K/5K, Galveston, TX (Date tentative)
Sep. 19 (Sat.) - Toughest 10K Kemah, Kemah, TX

Oct. 3 (Sat.) - Nike South Cross Country Invitational, The Woodlands, TX (Date tentative)
Oct. 11 (Sun.) - Texas10 Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX
Oct. 17 (Sat.) - Toughest 10K Galveston, Galveston, TX

Nov. 1 (Sun.) - Texas10 Katy, Katy, TX
Nov. 7 (Sat.) - Pleasure Island Bridge Half Marathon, Port Arthur, TX
Nov. 15 (Sun.) - La Porte By The Bay Half Marathon, La Porte, TX
Nov. 21 (Sat.) - Nike Cross South Regionals, The Woodlands, TX

Dec. 6 (Sun.) - Texas10 Conroe, Conroe, TX or Florida10 Sarasota, Sarasota, FL
Dec. 13 (Sun.) - Finish Line Sports Sugar Land 30K, Sugar Land, TX

Unavailable dates/weekends:  Sat.-Sun., September 26-27 (trip to Liberty) and Thanksgiving Day (Run Thru The Woods with my daughter).

Monday, February 9, 2015

Fort Smith (Ark.) Half Marathon Race Report

Here's the problem with putting on a new race in 2015:  You're judged against the best races out there -- and each and every participant's own best race experience.

There's little or no room for error.  It's pretty daunting.

I ran the inaugural Fort Smith (Ark.) Half Marathon today.  I've had this on the radar since it was announced - not from a performance standpoint, but because it is where my good friend, Kevin Taylor, has been a sportswriter at the local newspaper for the last 16 years.

I booked a hotel room when it was announced in August - which turned out to be a good move (finding out there was a Juniors volleyball tournament at the Fort Smith Convention Center next door to the Marriott Courtyard) and waited until the last day, December 31, to pay before the price went up.

The race received a significant amount of pre-race publicity from the local newspaper and television stations.

And before I go where I'm going to go, the community support, volunteers and individuals working traffic control for Sunday's race where incredible.

Some of the absolute best -- in spite of what race management threw them into.

More on that later, first the half marathon course.

I rarely check out a course map before I go race anywhere for the simple fact that I'm not going to have to worry about not being able to follow someone and get lost.

I noticed that both the marathon and half marathon courses were advertised as certified courses, but when I went to check the USATF website, only the marathon course had been.

It had been measured in mid-October.  And the half marathon course used a good bit of the marathon course, except for a portion that went through one of the local golf courses and country clubs.

I inquired with a post to the race's Facebook page on Sunday evening or Monday morning.

Monday evening, registered half marathon participants had the following in their mailboxes:

I just wanted to make you aware of a clarification and important correction to our website regarding the half-marathon course.  Until this morning, the half-marathon description noted that the course is “USATF certified”.  While this is true for the marathon course, certification for the half-marathon course has not been completed.  Based on extensive planning, we do believe the distance you will travel to be a reliable 13.1 miles, but final certification is pending an additional measure.  I apologize for the oversight, and want you to feel free to contact me if this causes you serious concern.

The certifier had 74 courses certified in the state of Arkansas on the USATF website, where they are housed.

I pushed back pretty hard and this was the response that I received:

I appreciate your comments Jon. The error is purely mine, not Bill's. When we placed the descriptions on the website, it was just a few weeks before Bill was coming to certify both courses. The marathon course proved pretty challenging and wound up taking the whole day we had reserved for certifying. The intention was obviously for Bill to come back for the half which we were never able to coordinate. He was not aware it was listed as such on the website. In the interim, I didn't remember either and so the site was never edited. Completely my fault. I feel good about the distance but am embarrassed for the oversight as you can imagine.

I gave the race director a pass until I ran the course on Sunday.

This past week, I had been consulted by a race director about a local entity that may be looking to potentially move some races in their community off the roads.

The question came up as to whether or not a competitive "marathon" had to be on a paved surface.

What I learned (or reinforced what I already knew) is that to qualify for Boston, you must run on a certified course.

What can get certified is completely covered in the USATF's Course Measurement and Certification Manual.

I've always been told that you can't certify a course that's on a trail, but there is some discussion in the manual that you can.  It generally requires using a steel tape to cover those areas where you can't ride a bike with a counter attached to it.

So you certify courses for one of four reasons:

1.)  If it is a marathon, to provide a course that allows a runner to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

2.)  If an American or World record is set on it, whether it is an age-group or a single-age mark.

3.)  Give confidence to a runner that they are going to run the exact distance that the race advertises that they are going to run.

4.)  As marketing, to set yourself from the races that won't invest in the money to certify their course.

So when we made it past mile 5 and on to the cart path of the Hardscrabble Country Club and we covered a trail portion to get to it and to see the incredible terrain that we were running on, I have come to believe that there was never any real intent to cerify the half marathon course.

Why?  Because there was going to be nobody that was going to be able to set any record of any kind on that course.

Additionally, as we finished, you could see the certifier's markings on the asphalt as to where the mile markers were.  However, there were none for the half marathon.

Therefore, it was an extra expense that was unnecessary.

I get that, but to me it is disingenous to promote the race as being run on a certified course when it isn't.

Since the Chevron Houston Marathon added its half marathon 12-13 years ago, I've said that it is where the money is made because in our world of endurance sports it is the most popular distance in running right now.

So not to treat it with all of the same care as a marathon by the race director doesn't sit well with me.

And my post to the Fort Smith Marathon page that got it all started?  It was deleted.

Putting on a race is an incredible financial risk as well.

I've taken it a couple of times, but not to this event's magnitude.

While I understand that there are participants who run for the medal, personally, even though I'm not fast, it is about me pushing myself that day first and foremost.

Therefore, 99% of the medals that I've ever received for finishing a race have meant that much to me.

And while it was a nice medal, especially for a first-year event, all finishers -- marathon, half marathon and marathon relay -- received the same medal, but with just a different ribbon to go around your neck.

Couple of other things - when you're being compared to other events:

There was no invocation.  I understand the reasons for not having one in that you don't want to offend certain faiths or non-believers.

There was also no National Anthem.  You mean to tell me that you couldn't find a high schooler in the two-state area that would have loved the exposure for themselves and their school?

The biggest issue, though, that was kind of serious -- was that the first three to four water stations had either run out of (the very first stop) or were running out of cups.  All of the 5-hour and longer marathons, at those stations, were behind me.

The first station that seemed to be able handle things was the one coming off of the Hardscrabble Country Club grounds.  They had fluid and cups.

The station around the mile 10 marker was low as half marathoners were coming in, but the aid station across from Northside HS on the run to the finish line seemed to be restocked.

"So, Jon, what about the running part?" you ask?

Tough course.  228-foot climb in the first 8.75 miles, according to the map on the race's web site.

And given the fact that the race didn't start until 9 a.m. (actually, 9:05 a.m, because the lead vehicles confirmed my suspicion that the course wasn't buttoned up), it got a little warm as the temperature rose into the mid-60's with a very clear sky.

I ran 2:25:33.  On a hilly course, however, that was 15-20 degrees warmer than last week's half in Minden, I'll take it.

It was my 56th best time out of 104 career half marathons.

It was a race in my 119th city or town outside of Texas and 223rd North American city or town.

The fourth half in 15 days is also the shortest time period to have recorded four half marathons, even though it includes the eighth time that I've done a half on back-to-back days.

My splits were as follows:

Mile 1 - 9:55.96
Mile 2 - 10:30.98
Mile 3 - 11:09.72
Mile 4 - 11:11.65 (had about a 120-foot elevation gain)
Mile 5 - 11:35.64
Mile 6-8 - 34:09.34 (those mile markers didn't exist on the golf course)
Mile 9 - 11:44.82
Mile 10 - 10:23.94 (got back the climb from mile 4)
Mile 11 - 11:08.52
Mile 12 - 11:17.84
Mile 13 - 11:24.59
Last .1 - 1:00.57

Finished 271st out of 510 half marathon finishers.

The only person that I saw there that I knew was San Antonio's Larry Macon, who has run over 1,400 marathons.  I probably saw Larry before we made it the mile one (1) marker.

My friend, Angela Tortorice, from Dallas was there to run it, I found out looking at the post-race results, but she started early to make a 2:30 p.m. flight out of Fort Smith.

Best part of the trip, though, was that I got to see my good friend, Kevin Taylor, who has been in Fort Smith now for about 16 years.

Kevin was the one that gave me the opportunity to string for the Conroe Courier in the late 1980s as well as do high school football radio reports on AM 880 KIKR.

Also got to meet his two sons, Landon and Logan, at the University of Central Oklahoma vs. University of Arkansas-Fort Smith NCAA Division II baseball game after the race.

That is why I made the trip and it was completely worthwhile.

I may have another return trip to Arkansas on Saturday, April 11 to take part in the 2nd annual RussVegas Half Marathon in Russellvile, which is about an hour east of Fort Smith, but word that I received today may change that.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Minden Run For St. Jude Half Marathon Race Report

I've decided in 2015 that I'm going to run a bunch of half marathons, especially here in the spring.

When I've done a lot of announcing, my running will sometimes go to pot because of the time I spend preparing for a race to be at the top of my game in that aspect.

A week after the Chevron Houston Marathon (which is now three weeks ago), I did a pair of half marathons in Benbrook and Waco.  I'll go back and recap all three of these races at some point.

Last Saturday, January 31, I made a trip to Minden, Louisiana for the Minden Run For St. Jude (Children's Hospital).

Not even sure how I first saw the race, but the price certainly caught my eye - $45 for a half.  Reminded me a lot of the Huntsville Half Marathon produced by the Seven Hills Running Club.

I won't go into my thoughts of what I think is an exhorbitant amount for a half marathon.

The other thing that I noticed when I checked out the race's web page is that Mike Hutcheson with No Limits Timing in Louisiana, who times the Texas 10 Series for Willie Fowlkes, was working this event.

He said that he was timing it for the first time in the event's now 7-year history.

I drove up to thre Shreveport area late Friday afternoon and got in town early enough to go see a Red River Athletic Conference men's college basketball game between Huston-Tillotson and LSU-Shreveport.

I love to mix running and other sports up when I put a weekend full of activity together.

I'm not one that loves getting to a race site super early - especially after doing so with all of the events that I announce (and work), but this one paid off by being no more than 100 yards from the start / finish line.

There's something about running a race in a smaller town which has over 1,000 participants.

It is large enough to not be running in a new place totally alone, but enough for the event to have a little buzz to it.

After finding out where our packets were, I sought out and found Hutch.  He as busy, of course, but we enjoyed seeing the other.  I love working with Mike.

When I announce, I help timers at the finish line because I'll notice men that are wearing bibs for females or vice versa.  So it is a win-win situation and I know that Mike appreciates what assistance that I provide him and he puts together a solid reader mat solution for me to really provide the participant a great finish line call.

The biggest thing that surprised me was his finish line setup with a nice inflatable and chute.

Since the races I work with him at doesn't need his equipment, I never have gotten to see his first-class stuff.  And I expected nothing less from Hutch.

With a race start time of 7:30, I noticed that there was no activity going on.  The race day operations part of me was wondering how this was going to come down.

I saw the woman who I believed to be the race director and I told her that if she needed a finish line announcer for next year that I would get Hutch my information.  She responded, "You can announce this year if you'd like."  I told her that I was running it!

However, I did, at 7:15 a.m., grab the microphone and did my normal pre-race announcements - like I can do in my sleep sometimes - and we started to get people queued up in the corral.

Good stuff.

The race got started on-time and I remember in my communications with Mike that the first four miles going out were a little hilly.

I told him as I crossed the start line to not "mess up my time".

The temperature was perfect for me -- in the 42- to 48-degrees range.  That means I can breathe!

At Benbrook the Saturday before, I ran with Ken Johnson from Huntsville the entire way and then Waco the next day at Miracle Match, I didn't run quite as well.  Therefore, I really didn't know what to expect.

The first mile came through at 9:51.79.

A little faster than what I like for a half marathon, but I felt good.  The first water stop was coming up in mile 2 -- and it would be the only one until mile 5.  This was one of the things that I pointed out after the race via Facebook that they needed to correct -- was with a stop in the middle, even if it was a self-service aid station.

Volunteers were incredibly friendly and helpful.

Even given the inclines - as they weren't really hills, but they kept coming, the next two miles checked in at 19:47.07 for a total time of 29:38.86.

I wasn't registering that it was under 10 minutes a mile at that time.

And as you can imagine, I didn't see the mile 2 marker as they weren't really existent.

Past mile 5, we made a right-hand turn on to a road that wasn't closed to traffic as I noticed later that it was the only real east-to-west connecting street on the north part of the community.  Therefore, it would have been tough - in hindsight - to close it completey.

My recommendation was to keep runners in one lane and allow cars to pass in the other with construction zone traffic control.

It was an area that was dangerous to runners as cars drove up the middle of runners that were running to the outsides of their lanes coming and going.

We crossed a major north-south intersection going out without much problem on our way to the turnaround spot.

Without mile markers, I made it from mile three to presumably the 6.55-mile mark in 36:10.75 to bring my time at the half way point to 1:05:49.61.

Since my offset time was 28.75 seconds, it showed as 1:06 on my watch.

I doubled that time and added a minute or two and realized that I could have a pretty good race, just two weeks removed from my first marathon in approximately 14 months.

When we came back through that north-south intersection, the road guard to the right, who wasn't a certified peace officer (or wasn't dressed like one), let a pickup with a trailer through just as I was coming through and he didn't look to see.

I said something that I shouldn't.  And while wearing my Liberty top, it certainly didn't conform to the Liberty Way.

I tried to tank up at the mile 8 aid station because I knew that it was going to be a little bit before I saw another one.  Additionally, they only had water the whole way.  No electrolyte replacement.

The next mile marker I saw was one that indicated it was three miles to the finish.  So from 6.55 to 10.1, my time was 37:10.94 to bring my total time to 1:43:00.55.

Since I knew that we would get a net downhill going back from this point forward, I tried to push as hard on the downhills that I could and then walk the uphills for a breather.

The next two miles were 20:24.94 -- that's a 10:12 per mile late in the race.  Wow.  (Total time - 2:03:25.49.)

And the final mile to the finish, which was setup fairly well even though we were coming in with the back of the 10K and 5K pack, was 9:54.94.

I don't even remember what I saw on the final time clock, but the accumulated time would be 2:13:20.43.

Mike had me down for 2:13:17 so I put that on my ledger (with a 2:13:21 as a note at the end).

Either way, it was my sixth best half marathon time ever -- 28 seconds faster than the half that I ran a year earlier which was on a completely flat course in Mobile.

It was half marathon finish #103 in my 118th city or town outside of Texas.

And with age-grading, it made it my best-ever race at age 48 with an age grade time of 1:59:53.

Now the goal is to try and get down to under two hours.

My PR is 2:09:45, but that's 2:08:45 running time as I stopped to urinate for a minute early in the race in Wisconsin in September 2010.