Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Do Not Race List

28th Corpus Christi Half Marathon powered by American Bank, Corpus Christi, TX

The Corpus Christi Road Runners made a Cyber Monday offer on the event's Facebook page.  After carefully investigating that there was no race day registration or packet pickup, I made the following comment on the post (which the administrator of the page liked):  "Great offer. Have run it before. Would think about coming down from far north Houston, but without race day registration or packet pickup (would have to leave by at least noon on Friday to make it for 4 p.m. end of PPU) ... I'll pass."

Just checked today, December 27, as one of their posts was in my news feed, and they are now offering race day packet pickup.

If you've been putting on a race for 27 years, you can figure out - a month out - if you can offer race day packet pickup or not and stick to it.

Minden Run For St. Jude Half Marathon, 10K and 5K, Minden, LA

I ran this half marathon in 2015 and the timer recommended me to announce it earlier this year (2016).  When I agreed to do it, I offered that I would charge them my 10K rate as opposed to my regular half marathon rate.  When I was done and getting ready to leave for the day, I spoke with the race director and told her that I would submit my invoice that evening.  She said, "That's great as I want to be able to get our check out to St. Jude Medical Center right away."  I did and I was never paid for my services.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Texas Half Marathon - 5-Plus Year Veterans (2009-2016)

8 years
Lillie Fontenot
Omer Womack
Paul Cain

7 years
Derek Nolen
Faye Caldwell
Linda Law
Mark Coleman
Paula Parshall
Sara Pressel

6 years
Ben Knippel
Bonnie Beirne
Brianna Nolen
Eunice Mahoney
Gary Pressel
Katheryn Nolen
Kevin Rarey
Monica Montoya
Peter Raybourn
Rose Linseisen
Ruth Johnston
Walt Yarrow

5 years
Addie Kephart
Carolyn Wyborney
Dwain Rollerson
Jessica Baxter
Karen Stanford
Katherine Droll
Keith Cotropia
Lisa Earehart
Lisa Yarrow
Mark Mann
Randall Smith
Steve Potlock
Terrell Smith
Trent Nolen
Varun Gupta

Texas Marathon - 5-Plus Year Veterans (2000-2016)

17 years
Steve Boone

16 years
Gerry Simpson
Jacqueline O'Brien-Nolen

14 years
Rene Villalobos

13 years
Mike Huff (plus two half marathons)
Richard Jares
Robert Lott, Jr.

12 years
Fred Ward

11 years
Bill Moeller
Chuck Struckness
German Collazos
Karen Berglund
Ron Berglund
Terry Sawma

10 years
Angela Tortorice
Christal Albrecht
Jim Reeve
Suresh Shah
Thomas Moberly
Yen Nguyen
Yong Collins

9 years
Bridget Moeller (plus one half marathon)
Carlos Reyes
Danielle Skelton
John Hyak
Peter Bennett
Ray Boytim (plus two half marathons)
Suzy Seeley (plus three half marathons)

8 years
Chris Duggan
Edward Campos
Harris Argo
Paula Sokolich
Susie Eisenberg
Vincent Kowalski

7 years
Aiko Hanyu
Brian Jenison
Claude Hicks, Jr.
Donald Hickombottom (plus one half marathon)
Grant Hodges
Guy Rozas
Joseph Wasicka
Ken Johnson (plus two half marathons)
Ken Merenda (plus one half marathon)
Laurence Macon
Margot Campos
Robert Hill
Victor Bhatt

6 years
Charles Taylor
Clyde Shank
Don Womble (plus one half marathon)
Evan Groutage
Frances Wasicka
Hudon White
Joe Barry
Michael Digennaro
Morgan Lusby
Robert Furman
Sergio Leonardi
Tina King
Wayne King
Willem Maas

5 years
Carol Earles
Christopher Culpepper
Clark Courtright
Donna Crocker
Donna Palmer
Gary Van Kuiken
Henry Bittle
Ila Owers
Jacob Gautreaux
James Baudhuin
Jay Teinert
Jim Simpson
Jones Ramsey
Karen Castro
Kathy Hodges
Kelly Shank
Kimberlie Budzik
Maggie Mount
Mark Crichton
Mark Thurber (plus two half marathons)
Miroslaw Malinowski
Nhithi Nguyen
Patrick Foley
Penny Derkowski
Rahul Reddy
Richard Carroll
Stefanie Bernosky (plus one half marathon)
Stephen Jones
Steve Lind
Tom Detore

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Eight Greater Houston Half Marathons Increase Prices By January 9

Between now and Monday, January 8, 2017, eight (8) greater Houston area half marathon races - that will be held between January 29 and April 23 - will have some form of price increase or registration-related deadline come to pass.

Perhaps the best and most unheralded deal in all of greater Houston is the two-person marathon relay that is part of the Fidelity Investments The Woodlands Marathon on Saturday, March 4, 2017.

I was so surprised that I actually confirmed this on the telephone with race director Willie Fowlkes on Friday, December 23.

So if you're not hung up on seeing your own name in the individual results of a half marathon, but want to race the distance at the cheapest price in town, this is your deal!

Each runner of the two-person relay pays just $55 through Sunday evening, December 31 and $60 per person once the ball drops in Times Square to bring in 2017.

A complete listing by date of the registration-related deadlines is listed below:

January 1
USA Fit Marathon and Half Marathon finishers will receive their choice of a "Finishers" sweatshirt, 1/4 zip pull-over shirt or backpack, if registered by January 1.  After January 1, only backpacks are guaranteed.  The official link is here.

The Fidelity Investments The Woodlands Marathon increases the price on all of its races but the Family 2K run by $5 on January 1.  Therefore, the marathon goes from $110 to $115, the half marathon from $90 to $95 and the 5K from $35.  The four-person marathon relay goes from $180 to $200 - or from $45 per runner to $50.  Exchange Points will be at the 6.5, 13.1 and 19.75 marks for the 4-person relay teams.  The official link is here.

Texas Country Music Half Marathon, less than two weeks after it was announced, will see a price increase on January 1.  The half marathon fee increases to $80, the half marathon relay team jumps to $110 (from $90) and the 10K goes from $40 to $50.  The official link is here.

The Cross Creek Ranch Dusk To Dawn Half Marathon, 5K and 1K, to be held on Saturday, March 25, 2017, will see its prices go up on January 1.  Prospective half marathoners will pay $84 instead of $75, 5K runners will pay $35 instead of $30 and 1K'ers will increase $2 to $20 even.  The official link is here.

January 3
Surfside Beach Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K future participants will experience a price on January 3.  Price for the Surfin' Surfside 5K will go from $40 to $50 and Offseason pricing for the marathon and half marathon will increase from $75 to $85.  The race's Facebook page posted on December 22 reminding runners to "register the family by January 4th to claim your shirt sizes!"  The official link is here.

January 4
Katy Half Marathoners may defer their entry up to a year, but are charged $30 to do so.  The deadline to defer or change distance must be submitted before January 4, 2017.  The official link is here.

January 7The Messina Hof Wine & Roses Half in Bryan will have its registration fees increase from $90 to $110 for the half marathon and from $45 to $50 for the 5K on January 7, 2017.  The race is on Sunday, April 23, 2017.  The official link is here.

January 9
Rhythm and Blues Half Marathon prices increase on January 9, 2017.  The half marathon goes from $85 to $95, the quarter marathon goes from $60 to 70 and the 5K goes from $45 to $55.  The official link is here.

(Disclaimer:  While the writer does provide various communications-related services to many races in the greater Houston area, he no longer serves the Fidelity Investments The Woodlands Marathon as its media relations director.)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Run The Woodlands 5K Race Report

Back in 2003, when I first started to run, there was this twice-a-month $1 race series, Run The Woodlands 5K.

It was - and still is - held at Barbara Bush Elementary in The Woodlands.

The race was basically a time trial course in that it never changed.  Therefore, you could always go out and benchmark yourself - in race conditions - where you were in your fitness.

And if you didn't need a t-shirt and a bunch of post-race food, you could do so for a $1.

Many times I would wake up at 7:15 a.m. and realize that I could make it there before the 8 a.m. start time.

Go up to the table, sign the waiver, put a $1 in the box and get ready to run.

Today's race completed the 17th year of the series that either spawned or was a great influence to two others -- Vern's No Frills 5K in Georgetown (produced by former and frequent RTW participant Bill Schroeder) and the current Run For Wellness 5K Series in Houston.

Today, I repeated that trend from the early years, arriving at the race site at about 7:40 a.m.

I ran with the Seven Hills Running Club's Ken Johnson, as I do many times at the once-a-month Sunday Night 5K produced by The Woodlands Running Club (well, really, Bill Dwyer).

Our time was 36:54, but that's never the important thing.  Running with Ken, it is a chance to converse with one of the few people that is out there and sees more than I do.

Run The Woodlands 5K was race #65 for me this year -- and nine of them were of the Run The Woodlands, Run For Wellness or TWRC Sunday Night 5K varieties.

If all goes well, I'll add one more in Mission, Texas next Saturday morning.  It will be a race in Texas city or town #125 and Texas county #64.

As always, being at a race, regardless if I'm running, working or volunteering, it is about the people that I see and meet.

The Attanuccis were there.  Vincent and son Michael.

They recently completed another BMW Dallas Marathon together earlier in the month.  It was Michael's 16th marathon and Vincent's 46th.

Vincent, a Penn State graduate, has run a mile a day for at least the last ten years.

Congratulations to Michael as he'll be getting married one week from today, December 31, 2016 in Fort Worth.

Dr. John Slate, who lives in The Woodlands and is a member of the Seven Hills Running Club in Huntsville, was out today.

Long-time friend Rick Cook and his son, Cooper, who is in the seventh grade, were racing today.  They live just right around the corner from the school.

Rick, Bill Dwyer and myself along with Andrew Perry started the Montgomery County Triple in 2006 and while working for Luke's Locker, who produces the race now, Rick was the RD of Run The Woodlands 5K for a year or so.

The very first Run The Woodlands 5K I ever attended was the second Saturday of July 2003.  I got lost by making a right-hand turn across Crownridge instead of left to come back to the finish.

That day, a man encouraged me to get rid of the cotton t-shirt and baseball hat.  (Yes, I was a newbie once.)

He ran with this really tall dog, whose name was Khobar.

His name is Tom Pinney and he was there this morning.  It was really good to see and talk with him -- and he was continuing to encourage another generation of runners that were out there.  Something we all need to do every chance we get.

I think the two daughters of fellow Spring High School graduate Kim Driver were there.

And as Ken and I made the turn into the school parking lot, we saw former Houston Strider Joan O'Connor, who has relocated up to The Woodlands upon her work retirement.

After grabbing a quick bite to eat, I went to Hughes Landing where Bill's Volte Endurance Training group was finishing up their long runs in preparation for next month's Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon.

Conversed with many, including Mary Carter, Rich Cooper, Leeanne Rosser, Randy Harris and others, but went there primarily to wish probably my best friend, Bill, a Merry Christmas and to give him a gift.

Although I'll see him later as he'll be at North Park Baptist Church for tonight's Christmas Eve service as his son-in-law Chris is leading worship.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Dallas Marathon Finisher Numbers

5K - 278 (139 men / 139 women) (41.7% decrease)
Marathon Relay - 621 + 5 = 626 (12% increase)
Half - 6,712 (3,142 men / 3,570 women) (8.5% increase)
Marathon - 2,812 (1,751 men / 1,061 women) (2.4% increase)

5K - 477 (197 men / 280 women)
Marathon Relay - 195 + 215 + 41 + 63 + 6 + 12 + 17 + 5 + 5 = 559
Marathon - 2,746 (1,727 men / 1,019 women)
Half - 6,184 (2,853 men / 3,331 women)

5K - 418 (271 men / 147 women)
Marathon Relay - 218 + 221 + 36 + 73 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 6 + 1 + 1 = 568
Marathon - 3,951 (2,328 men / 1,623 women)
Half - 8,442 (3,652 men / 4,790 women)

5K - 590 (257 men / 333 women)
Marathon Relay - 58 + 128 + 15 + 10 + 273 + 21 + 208 + 117 + 28 + 5 + 5 = 868
Marathon Clydesdale/Athena - 327 (278 men / 49 women)
Marathon - 4,875 (2,970 men / 1,905 women)
Half - 9,879 (4,347 men / 5,532 women)

Today's Price Guide to Houston Area Half Marathons Post-Chevron/Aramco

1/29 - USA Fit Marathon ($95), Half Marathon ($85) and 5K ($35)
2/4 - Katy Half Marathon ($105), Half Marathon Relay ($150 2-person), 5K ($50) and Kids 1K ($30)
2/4 - Surfside Beach Marathon ($75), Half Marathon ($75), 5K ($40) and Kids Race ($15)
2/12 - Galveston Marathon ($105), Half Marathon ($85) and 5K ($30)
2/12 - Rhythm and Blues Half Marathon ($85), Quarter Marathon ($60) and 5K ($40), Houston [No race day PPU]
2/18 - Love. Run. Marathon ($90), Half Marathon ($80) and 10K ($60), Huntsville State Park - Returning from 2015
2/25 - Citizens Medical Center Half Marathon ($70) and 5K ($30), Victoria - First year race
2/25 - Jail Break Run Half Marathon ($85) and 5K ($35), Baytown
2/26 - Texas Country Music Half Marathon ($70), Half Marathon Relay ($90 2-person) and 10K ($40), Houston - First year race
2/26 - Republic of Texas Half Marathon ($85), Quarter Marathon ($50) and 5K ($40), College Station
3/4 - The Woodlands Marathon ($110), Marathon Relay ($110 2-person or $180 4-person), Half Marathon ($90), 5K ($30) and Family 2K ($25) [No race day PPU]
3/4 - The Gusher Marathon ($98), Half Marathon ($88) and 5K ($25), Beaumont
3/17-19 - Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon ($85), Marathon Relay ($180 4-person), Half Marathon ($85), Half Marathon Relay ($90 2-person), Quarter Marathon ($45) and 5K ($35)
3/19 - St. Paddy's Half Marathon ($75), Race Day PPU ($12 donation to Snowdrop Foundation), Sugar Land
3/25 - San Felipe Shootout Trail Half Marathon ($75), 10K ($55), 5K ($45), San Felipe
3/25 - Cross Creek Ranch Dusk to Dawn Half Marathon ($75), 5K ($30) and 1K ($18), Fulshear - PM race
4/8 - Davy Crockett Bear Chase Marathon ($65), Half Marathon ($65), 5K ($25), 1M ($15), Groveton
4/8 - Texas Wine Series at Whistling Duck Half Marathon ($85), 10K ($70) and 5K ($55), Weimar
4/9 - Vintage Park Half Marathon ($90), Half Marathon Relay ($130 2-person), 5K ($40), 1K ($25), Houston - First year race
4/23 - Divas Half Marathon ($95), 5K ($50), Race Day PPU ($20), Galveston
4/23 - Messina Hof Wine & Roses Half Marathon ($90), 5K ($45), Bryan

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Largest Trail Races in Texas by Finisher Miles - 2016

First attempt to establish a metric of some kind - other than simply the total number of finishers - that would determine the largest trail races in Texas.

Again, the idea - just like road races - is that sure you can sign up a million runners, but it all depends on who gets to the finish line.

Therefore, I took the total number of finishers from each race in a given event multiplied by the number of miles at each race's distance to come to a "finishers miles" total.

If I'm missing a trail race that was run in Texas in 2016, please let me know:

26,846.0 - Bandera
24,000.0 - Rocky Raccoon 100, Huntsville
21,346.0 - Brazos Bend 100, Needville
17,987.2 - Ragnar Trail Relay Hill Country, Comfort
16,815.1 - Brazos Bend 50, Needville

16,595.6 - Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon
13,922.4 - Snowdrop 55 Ultra, Sugar Land
11,775.0 - Rocky Raccoon 50, Huntsville
 8,287.5 - Franklin Mountains Trail Run, El Paso
 8,042.0 - Palo Duro Trail Run, Amarillo

 7,874.2 - Wild Hare, Warda
 7,349.6 - Hells Hills, Smithville
 6,848.1 - Grasslands Trail Run, Decatur
 6,758.0 - Capt'n Karl's Pedernales Falls, Johnson City
 6,262.0 - El Scorcho Diez, Fort Worth

 5,997.3 - Pandora, Burnet
 5,918.1 - Blazing 7's Trail Run, Bellville
 5,900.0 - Cactus Rose, Bandera
 5,640.0 - Habanero Hundred, Bellville
 5,057.4 - Cross Timbers Trail Run

 4,791.6 - Whispering Pines, Tyler
 4,550.8 - Capt'n Karl's Reveille, Burnet
 4,462.4 - Big Bend Ultra
 4,444.8 - Isle du Bois, Pilot Point
 4,427.0 - San Felipe Shootout, San Felipe

 4,207.2 - Fossil Valley, Dallas
 3,942.0 - Jackalope Jam, La Marque
 3,859.5 - Horseshoe Trail Run, Hitchcock
 3,760.3 - Possum Kingdom Lake, Graford
 3,732.9 - Austin Rattler Run, Smithville

 3,592.5 - Wildflower Half, Bastrop
 3,570.0 - Prickly Pair Trail Race, San Antonio
 3,521.6 - Capt'n Karl's Colorado Bend
 3,503.0 - Capt'n Karl's Muleshoe Bend, Spicewood
 3,303.9 - J&J Race and Running Reunion, Rocksprings

 3,286.8 - The Circus, Cedar Creek
 3,200.1 - Paleface - May 2016, Spicewood
 3,178.5 - Big Cedar Endurance Run, Glen Rose
 2,996.6 - Texas Switchback, Johnson City
 2,776.2 - Night Moves and Next Generation Trail Races - August, Hitchcock

 2,652.9 - Rough Creek Trail Run, Glen Rose
 2,349.8 - The Ranch, Austin
 2,306.4 - The Maze, Austin
 2,280.5 - Piney Woods Trail Fest, New Caney
 2,144.7 - TXU Energy Crazy Desert Trail Run, San Angelo

 2,120.4 - The Tangle, Austin
 2,002.0 - Lighthouse Hill Ranch, Johnson City
 1,968.9 - Saddle Blazer, Killeen
 1,937.5 - Sky Island, Fort Davis
 1,781.8 - El Chupacabra de San Antonio

 1,710.0 - Texas 2-Way Torture Test, Johnson City
 1,630.7 - XTERRA Magnolia Hill, Navasota
 1,629.2 - XTERRA Cameron Park, Waco
 1,620.0 - Trans-Pecos Ultra, Alpine
 1,552.6 - Rawhide, Comfort

 1,519.3 - Wonderland, Gail
 1,445.0 - Toughest N' Texas, Waco
 1,370.2 - Rugged and Raw, Dallas
 1,330.0 - IAAP Trail Run, San Antonio
 1,314.9 - Friends of Government Canyon Recharge Race, San Antonio

 1,255.5 - El Chupacabra de Houston, New Caney
 1,240.0 - XTERRA Pedernales, Johnson City
 1,162.3 - Night Moves and Next Generation Trail Races - October, Hitchcock
 1,143.4 - Paleface - October 2016, Spicewood
 1,088.1 - The Mammoth at Dinosaur Valley, Glen Rose

 1,072.6 - Shannon Trail Series Race 3, San Angelo
   924.0 - XTERRA Muleshoe, Spicewood
   895.5 - Shannon Trail Series Race 2, San Angelo
   821.5 - XTERRA Gator Bait, Huntsville
   821.5 - Shannon Trail Series Race 1, San Angelo

   756.4 - XTERRA Jurassic, Glen Rose
   688.0 - Cedar Brake, Dallas
   680.3 - XTERRA ATX, Spicewood
   536.3 - XTERRA Dallas, Grapevine
   533.2 - 30K of the Dinosaur Trail Race, San Angelo

   512.9 - XTERRA Bluebonnet, Burnet
   508.4 - Skinnydipper Sun Run 5K, Decatur
   474.3 - Purgatory Trial Run at Spring Lake, San Marcos
   356.2 - Dirt Trails & Pony Trails, Austin
   342.9 - Texas Trail Camp, Rocksprings

   288.1 - Run 4 Bibles Trail Run, Dallas
   226.3 - Pioneer Trail 5K, Austin

Thanks for your interest and support.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Largest Trail Races in Texas by Distance - 2016

100M - 240, Rocky Raccoon 100, Huntsville
100K - 231, Bandera, Bandera
50M - 158, Rocky Raccoon 50, Huntsville
60K - 80, Capt'n Karl's Pedernales Falls, Johnson City

50K - 267, Bandera, Bandera
30K - 157, Capt'n Karl's Pedernales Falls, Johnson City
26.2M - 220, Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon, Seabrook
20M - 79, Texas 2-Way Tortute Test, Johnson city

25K - 274, Bandera, Bandera
13.1M - 470, Seabrook Lucky Trail Half Marathon (Saturday), Seabrook
20K - 265, Palo Duro Trail Run, Palo Duro Canyon
10M - 121, Whispering Pines, Tyler

15K - 93, Friends of Government Canyon, San Antonio
10K - 232, San Felipe Shootout, San Felipe
5M - 95, Cross Timbers Trail Run, Lake Texoma
5K - 331, Texas Flower Country Women's, Fredericksburg

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Houston's 12K of Christmas Finisher Numbers

2013 - 702 (466 women / 236 men)
2014 - 551 (351 women / 202 men)
2015 - 576 (366 women / 201 men)
2016 - 532 (325 women / 207 men)

Male - Overall
2013 - 38:28.7, Jared Carson, 27, Austin
2014 - 39:34.7, Travis Barczak, 24
2015 - 36:54, Austin Roth, 25
2016 - 41:06, Zach Morgan, 26

Female - Overall
2013 - 48:47.1, Kylee Short, 33, Houston
2014 - 49:15.5, Sydney Davis, 16
2015 - 47:56, Kathryn Brake, 26
2016 - 49:24, Amanda Cruise, 33

Male - Masters
2013 - 43:32.2, Rudy Rocha, 44, Baytown*
2014 - 46:53.0, Miguel Pena, 41
2015 - 48:16, Mark Daiber, 53
2016 - 50:25, Rogelio Corona, 46

Female - Masters
2013 - 51:21.8, Martha Long, 45, Houston*
2014 - 50:59.8, Lilia Vazquez, 51
2015 - 55:49, Charlotte Harris, 44
2016 - 1:03:33, Margaret Brenner, 60

2013 - 116 (78 women / 38 men)
2014 - 132 (81 women / 51 men)
2015 - 260 (179 women / 81 men)
2016 - 484 (316 women / 168 men)

Male - Overall
2013 - 27:19.2, Trevion Jones, 24, Houston
2014 - 22:24.4, Jaylen Mouton, 14
2015 - 21:08, Rodrigo Silva, 19
2016 - 23:11, Thomas Holland, 24

Female - Overall
2013 - 23:18.2, Megan Betts, 26, Austin
2014 - 27:26.8, Monja Jovic, 29, Houston
2015 - 24:50, Kristin Kabay, 34
2016 - 25:28, Kristin Kabay, 35

Male - Masters
2013 - 29:34.4, Frank Tsuru, 53, Houston*
2014 - 30:51.1, Bryan Greer, 43*
2015 - 22:42, Peter Mullin, 65, Houston** (28:43, Peter Tellegen, 59)
2016 - 26:07, Bartendex Oropeza, 41** (27:50, Albert Watkins, 49)

Female - Masters
2013 - 34:49.8, Jana Blackburn, 43, Houston*
2014 - 30:43.3, Jill Martin, 48*
2015 - 29:17, Rachel Clary, 53** (30:33, Cheryl Hope, 46)
2016 - 31:18, Lillian Evans, 42

* Event didn't officially recognize
** Finished second or third overall, which bumped slower runner into official Masters winner.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Top Medals of 2016 From Races I Ran!

Medals from road or trail races are supposed to be fun.

Besides, at the end of the year, the ribbon gets wrapped around the medal and then they go in a box!

Honorable Mention
Mansfield Run with Heart Half and Sylvan Beach Triathlon and Duathlon
(Two races that I announced this year!)
#10 - Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon 5Ks (Friday Trail/Saturday Road)
(I ran these!)
#9 - Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Half Marathon
(Roanoke, Virginia - Toughest Road Half Marathon in the USA)
#8 - Pocatello Half Marathon
(Idaho - State #45 for Half Marathons)
#7 - Air Capital Half Marathon
(Wichita, Kansas - Threw this one in an open weekend in October)
#6 - Genworth Virginia 10 Miler
(Lynchburg, Virginia - Different conceptual design than the two years before)
#5 - Run to Remember 10K
(Los Angeles, California - Medal looks like a police badge.  Pretty cool!)
#4 - Memorial Hermann Ten For Texas
(First time to run it since the first year it returned.  Sleek, classic design)
#3 - Brazos Bend Marathon
(Needville, Texas - Longest distance of the year; close third to #1 and #2.)
#2 - Harlingen Half Marathon
(One of the three biggest medals of the year; heavy and simple patriotic design)
#1 - Revel Mt. Charleston Half Marathon
(Las Vegas, Nevada - Great race; first 8 miles downhill.  Can hurt somebody with this medal!)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Complete 10-Mile Race History

1:35:27 - Space City 10-Miler, Clear Lake, 10/10/10
1:41:42 - Jingle Jog, Pearland, 12/3/05
1:43:06 - Ten For Texas, The Woodlands, 10/14/06
1:43:14 - Jim Wells County - VFW Post 8621 10-Miler, San Diego to Alice, 11/12/16
1:43:20 - Ten For Texas, The Woodlands, 10/8/16
1:45:09 - Run For The Water 10-Miler, Austin, 11/6/16
1:46:50 - Space City 10-Miler, Clear Lake, 10/14/12
1:49:31 - Space City 10-Miler, Clear Lake, 10/3/04 (Half marathon the day before)
1:50:03 - Virginia 10-Miler, Lynchburg, VA, 9/24/16
1:50:59 - Virginia 10-Miler, Lynchburg, VA, 9/26/15
1:51:33 - Virginia 10-Miler, Lynchburg, VA, 9/27/14
1:54:19 - Space City 10-Miler, Clear Lake, 10/15/06
2:04:56 - Space City 10-Miler, Clear Lake, 10/2/05 (Half marathon the day before)

Texas' Top 10 Marathons of 2016

For those that think that Beach to Bay shouldn't be in this list, I added a 10th marathon where the marathon relay isn't the focus of the race.

7,827 - Chevron Houston Marathon, January 17 (4,796 men and 3,031 women)
3,413 - BMW Dallas Marathon, December 11 (1,750 men, 1,060 women and 603 relays)
3,225 - Austin Marathon, February 14 (1,945 men and 1,280 women)
2,593 - Humana Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio Marathon, December 4 (1,427 men and 1,166 women)
1,926 - Beach to Bay Marathon Relay, Corpus Christi, May 21 (1,843 relay, 46 men and 37 women)
1,263 - Cowtown Marathon, Fort Worth, February 28 (778 men and 485 women)
1,020 - Fidelity Investments The Woodlands Marathon, March 5 (546 men, 334 women and 140 relay)
  659 - Baylor Scott & White BCS Marathon, College Station, December 11 (332 men, 294 women and 33 relay)
  491 - Big D Texas Marathon, Dallas, April 10 (280 men, 204 women and 7 no gender)
  325 - Texas Marathon, Kingwood, January 1 (170 men and 155 women)
  314 - El Paso Marathon, February 21 (217 men and 97 women)

Relay teams in all races count as one finisher.

Texas 10K's with 1,000-Plus Finishers - 2016

16,581 - Austin American Statesman Cap10K, Austin, (7,394 men and 9,187 women)
  4,045 - ConocoPhillips Rodeo Run 10K, Houston, February 27 (2,071 men and 1,974 women)
  3,110 - The Cowtown 10K, Fort Worth, February 27 (1,272 men and 1,838 women)
  2,288 - 34th annual All-America City 10K, Edinburg, February 6 (1,038 men and 1,250 women)
  2,014 - Humana Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio 10K, San Antonio, December 3 (760 men and 1,254 women)
  1,962 - 9th annual Toughest 10K Kemah, Kemah, September 18 (746 men and 1,216 women)
  1,899 - Tour Des Fleurs 10K, Dallas, September 17 (617 men and 1,282 women)
  1,826 - 6th annual Toughest 10K Galveston, Galveston, October 15 (695 men and 1,131 women)
  1,493 - 32nd annual Longest Causeway Run 10K, Port Isabel, January 9 (665 men and 828 women)
  1,174 - Houston Half and 10K, Houston, October 30 (420 men and 754 women)
  1,141 - 12th annual Trinity River Levee Run 10K, Dallas, March 5 (579 men and 562 women)
  1,115 - Green 6.2, Houston, March 26 (429 men and 686 women)
1,048 - Katy YMCA Turkey Dash 10K, Katy, November 24 (491 men and 557 women)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Nike Cross Regionals South Report - #NXR #NXRSOUTH

Great day working - and race announcing - the Nike Cross Regionals South at Bear Branch Sports Park in The Woodlands this morning.

The team thinks that the crowds were way up as cars were parked up and down Research Forest - am sure some residents will be ringing up The Township over that!

Have definitely got to say that the team that produces Nike South and NXR South is one of the best to work with.  For me, I get the honor of saying I get to announce for one of the top boys high school cross country programs in America.

And when you work with the best, you have to elevate your game.  It was a solid day for me.  My vantage point at the finish kept me from having some of my best finish line calls, but they got the job done today.

Great teams provide great support, though.

Coach Shawn Hamilton gets the sound setup - and continues to make improvements - and arranges for upbeat music to be played throughout the meet.  The best timers in Texas, RunFAR USA, with Raul Najera and Graham Schooley working the meet today, ensure quick, accurate results.  Things were so smooth today that Raul was taking video on Facebook Live.

The Woodlands HS Boys Cross Country booster club is incredible.  They're so friendly, giving and hard-working.  It is such a joy and pleasure to work with, represent and be a part of their team.

This includes starter Wayne Rutledge, Tim Vibrock and the Golden family (Kevin and Kelley).  Henrita van Wyngaarden has been routinely volunteering meet after meet as well.

Great to see Tom Sherwood today as well as the McHales - father Tom (and Penn Stater) and his daughter Liz and the holder of a pair of Guinness World Records Calum Neff.

The other local Guinness World Record holder Ronnie Delzer was in the park watching, having run for East Carolina in his athletic past.

Texas Independence Relay race directors Jay and Joy Hilscher were there from Austin to see their son run.  I think he might have been the only one to cross in a TIR shirt.  (The yellow one.)

The people - Kate and Matt - that come out from Nike are super easy to work with - and it is very, very easy to get on the same page as them and work to take care of the sponsor relationship.

I've been fortunate enough to interview over the last five years - Leo Manzano, Chris Derrick, Emily Infeld, Mary Cain and today, Hassan Mead, U.S. Olympian in the 5,000 meters.  What a nice guy!  He did such a great job interacting with the kids.  (Saw Bernard Lagat, who he lost to in the US Olympic Trials by 20/100'ths of a second, was at #NXR Southwest today.)

The person that really provides me with the information to walk on to the property as prepared as possible is John Sullivan, best known by everyone as "Sully".  John does all of the seeding.  I get a data file on Wednesday with all of the racers, which this year totaled a little over 1,800.

Through some combined research work, I'm able to share with those in attendance that there were 20 state champions and 46 runners who finished in the top three of their state meet present today.

Super job by The Woodlands High School Junior ROTC program for their perfect presentation of the colors this morning and this senior from Liberty University that I happen to know - Waverly - did a really solid and beautiful job with the National Anthem this morning - after landing at about 10 p.m. last night.

And while I had known Coach Dan Green through a sportswriter friend that covered cross country for The Courier and the Houston Chronicle for many years, the late Scott Kaiser, I always appreciate JoAnn Blakeley for making the introduction to Coach Juris Green more than five years ago.

Cross country meets are exhausting to work compared to a road race, but I always seem to walk away satisfied from working these meets as well as those - UIL Region III and UIL Region III Preview - produced by the Sam Houston State cross country and track and field programs, led by David Self, the last two seasons.

No rest for the weary, though.  La Porte By The Bay Half Marathon in the morning!  :-)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Texas Half Marathon Report; November 12-13, 2016

Nine half marathons across Texas this weekend sent 4,763 runners across finish lines to push the statewide 2016 finisher's count over 90,000.

The Cypress Half Marathon, although down 21.5 percent from a year ago, led the way with 1,494 total finishers (relay teams count as one finisher each), while the South Padre Island Half Marathon was second with 1,163 finishers.

The two half marathons increased the total number of half marathon in Texas this year with over 1,000 finishers to 17.

Produced by Onurmark Productions, the Cypress Half Marathon is currently the 12th largest half marathon so far this year.  Its Katy Half Marathon, run in early February, sits in the 10th position.

The South Padre Island Half Marathon, which started a year ago, was off 30 percent in its total number of half marathon finishers on Saturday -- 1,663 to 1,163.

Dallas' Trinity River Run Half Marathon increased by nearly 80 percent its number of finishers from 302 a year ago to 542 on Sunday, largely as a result of more than double the number of female runners.

The third annual Harlingen Half Marathon & Relay saw a 29 percent decline in its total number of individual finishers on Sunday as 513 crossed the finish line in Fair Park after 724 did so last year.

Through Sunday, 146 events - both road and trail races - with defined half marathon distances have produced 94,362 finishers to date.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Harbor Half Marathon Official Finishers

2005 -   94
2006 - 136 +   55
2007 - 187 +   68
2008 - 253 + 111
2009 - 329 + 155
2010 - 421 + 217 /   76
2011 - 394 + 216 /   81
2012 - 364 + 197 / 146
2013 - 419 + 170 / 132 /   58
2014 - 471 + 177 / 217 / 115
2015 - 394 + 126 / 177 /   86
2016 - 318 +   91 / 182 /   73

Half marathon plus relays, 10K and 5K

Sunday, November 6, 2016

2016 Texas 10-Mile Finishers Numbers

2,980 - Austin 10/20, 4/3/16 (1,020 men, 1,960 women)
1,876 - Run For The Water, Austin, 11/6/16 (837 men, 1,039 women)
1,760 - Ten For Texas, The Woodlands, 10/8/16 (796 men, 964 women)
419 - Space City 10-Miler, Houston, 10/9/16
412 - Texas 10 Cypress, 10/9/16 (includes 3 unofficial)

402 - Space City 10-Miler, Houston, 2/21/16
400 - Texas 10 College Station, 1/31/16
350 - Texas 10 Sienna, 4/24/16
263 - Texas 10 Huntsville, 9/25/16
215 - Texas 10 Boerne, 4/3/16

Texas' Top 25 10-Mile Times of 2016


0:47:56 - Kenneth Rotich, 25, Grand Prairie, Austin 10/20
0:47:59 - Stanley Boen, 37, Grand Prairie, Austin 10/20
0:48:07 - Peter Chebii, 37, Grand Prairie, Austin 10/20
0:48:41 - Alfred Kiplagat, 27, Georgetown, Austin 10/20
0:48:57 - Henry Lelei, 27, Bryan, Austin 10/20

0:49:08 - Benjamin Metto, 40, Georgetown, Austin 10/20
0:49.12 - Philipp Baar, 24, Corpus Christi, Texas 10 Conroe
0:50:07 - Will Nation, 24, Austin, Austin 10/20
0:50:13 - Biya Simbassa, Space City 10-Miler (February)
0:51:02 - Ryan Miller, 24, Conroe, Texas 10 Boerne

0:51:18 - Drew Soucy, 27, Austin, Austin 10/20
0:51:50 - Ryan Miller, 24, Spring, Texas 10 Conroe
0:51:52 - David Justus, Space City 10-Miler (February)
0:51:56 - Mark Pinales, 23, Round Rock, Run For The Water
0:52:04 - Adam Godwin, 24, Spring, Texas 10 Conroe

0:52:13 - Drew Bean, Space City 10-Miler (February)
0:52:13 - Maximo Mendoza, Pearland, Ten For Texas
0:52:13 - Abinet Adravo, 29, Space City 10-Miler (October)
0:52:33 - Geoff Speelman, The Woodlands, Ten For Texas
0:52:43 - Carlos Arias, 22, Houston, Space City 10-Miler (October)

0:53:17 - Ryan Miller, 24, Conroe, Texas 10 Sienna
0:53:26 - Austin Duckworth, 26, Austin, Austin 10/20
0:53:38 - Michael Gillis, 28, Pearland, Texas 10 Sienna
0:53:45 - Adam Saloom, 26, Houston, Space City 10-Miler (October)
0:54:11 - Brock Moreaux, Space City 10-Miler (February)


0:55:45 - Mia Behm, 26, Austin, Austin 10/20
0:56:45 - Mary Davies, Houston, Space City 10-Miler (February)
0:56:48 - Kelsey Bruce, 23, Dallas, Austin 10/20
0:57:45 - Anita Perez, 33, Universal City, Austin 10/20
0:58:17 - Hillary Montgomery, 23, Spring, Texas 10 Sienna

0:58:41 - Samantha McClellan, The Woodlands, Ten For Texas
0:59:41 - Lauren Stroud, 25, Lake Jackson, Space City 10-Miler (October)
0:59:51 - Megan Saloom 28, Houston, Texas 10 Conroe
0:59:55 - Megan Saloom, 28, Houston, Space City 10-Miler (October)
1:00:08 - Caitlin Keen, 23, Fort Worth, Austin 10/20

1:00:26 - Liza Hunter Galvan, 46, San Antonio, Austin 10/20
1:00:33 - Megan Mueller, 31, Austin, Austin 10/20
1:01:18 - Jen Frankmann, 31, Richardson, Austin 10/20
1:01:24 - Rexi Parcells, 23, Austin, Austin 10/20
1:02:35 - Kaitlyn Johnson, 23, Austin, Run For The Water

1:02:41 - Amanda Jenkins, 25, Space City 10-Miler (October)
1:02:54 - Peggy Yetman, 48, Spring, Ten For Texas
1:02:57 - Emily Daum, Space City 10-Miler (February)
1:03:01 - Amanda Cruse, Livingston, Ten For Texas
1:03:14 - Amber Reber, 31, Austin, Austin 10/20

1:04:21 - Kristine Burciaga, 27, San Antonio, Texas 10 Boerne
1:04:36 - Desiree (Ficker) Berry, 39, Austin, Run For The Water
1:04:41 - Desiree (Ficker) Berry, 39, Austin, Austin 10/20
1:04:47 - Jackie Tobin, 36, Space City 10-Miler (October)
1:05:09 - Susan Brooks, 39, Katy, Texas 10 Conroe*
1:05:18 - Sarah Jackson, 27, Austin, Austin 10/20

Gazelle Foundation Run For The Water 10-Miler Finishers Numbers

2007 - 1,404 (724 men / 680 women)
2008 - 1,134 (610 men / 524 women)
2009 - 1,058 (526 men / 532 women)
2010 - 1,023 (454 men / 569 women)
2011 - 1,464 (689 men / 775 women) *included Barefoot and Wheelchair divisions
2012 - 1,931 (878 men / 1,053 women)
2013 - 1,837 (869 men / 968 women)
2014 - 2,044 (910 men / 1,134 women)
2015 - 2,073 (984 men / 1,089 women)
2016 - 1,876 (837 men / 1,039 women)

Companion 5K
2008 - 262
2009 - 483
2010 - 621
2011 - 822
2012 - 1,079
2013 - 1,155
2014 - 1,565
2015 - 1,844
2016 - 1,507

2007 - 1,404
2008 - 1,296
2009 - 1,541
2010 - 1,644
2011 - 2,286
2012 - 3,010
2013 - 2,992
2014 - 3,609
2015 - 3,917
2016 - 3,396

Thursday, October 20, 2016

2016 Texas Half Marathon Finishers Numbers

11,081 - Aramco Houston Half Marathon, Houston, 1/17/2016
9,558 - Rock 'N' Roll Dallas Half Marathon, Dallas, 3/20/2016
8,114 - Austin Half Marathon, Austin, 2/14/2016
6,355 - The Cowtown Half Marathon, Fort Worth, 2/28/2016
5,300 - 3M Half Marathon, Austin, 1/24/2016

3,306 - The Woodlands Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K, The Woodlands, 3/5/2016
1,875 - Alamo 13.1 Half Marathon, San Antonio, 3/20/2016
1,751 - Divas Half Marathon, Galveston, 4/17/2016
1,671 - Katy Half Marathon and 5K, Katy, 2/6/2016
1,571 - Big-D Texas Marathon and Half, Dallas, 4/10/2016

1,375 - Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon and Relay, Plano, 9/25/2016
1,214 - The Bearathon and 5K, Waco, 3/19/2016
1,019 - El Paso Half Marathon, El Paso, 2/21/2016
928 - USAFit Half Marathon, Sugar Land, 1/31/2016
913 - Rhythm & Blues Half Marathon, Quarter Marathon and 5K, Houston, 2/14/2016

908 - Wounded Warrior Half Marathon, Irving, 6/12/2016
805 - Big Star Half Marathon, Frisco, 4/16/2016
738 - Fairview Half Marathon, Fairview, 4/9/2016
675 - The Hottest Half Marathon and 10K, Dallas, 8/14/2016
641 - St. Paddy's Half Marathon, Sugar Land, 3/20/2016

641 - Nutrabolt Oktoberfest Half Marathon, College Station, 10/16/2016
631 - HEB Alamo Run Fest Half Marathon, San Antonio, 2/21/2016
579 - Skyline Half Marathon, Dallas, 5/1/2016
556 - Galveston Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K, Galveston, 2/14/2016
539 - The Irving Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K and 5K, Irving, 4/16/2016

523 - Run The Line Half Marathon and 5K, Texarkana, 2/21/2016
523 - The Outlaw Half Marathon, Fredericksburg, 4/9/2016
498 - The Texas Half, Irving, 1/24/2016
491 - Showdown Half Marathon, Fairview, 10/8/2016
477 - New Year's Day Half Marathon, Allen, 1/1/2016

470 - Seabrook Lucky Trail Half Marathon and Relay - Saturday, Seabrook, 3/19/2016
466 - Jalapeno Half Marathon, Fort Worth, 6/26/2016
461 - Missions Marathon Half Marathon, San Antonio, 2/13/2016
449 - Cocoa Women's Half Marathon, San Antonio, 1/17/2016
439 - Tyler Rose Marathon and Half Marathon, Tyler, 10/9/2016

437 - Messina Hof Wine & Roses Half Marathon, Bryan, 4/24/2016
434 - 3rd annual JBSA Half Marathon, Randolph AFB, 4/24/2016
428 - Too Cold To Hold Half Marathon, Dallas, 1/31/2016
366 - That Dam Half Marathon, Grand Prairie, 10/16/2016
354 - Republic of Texas Half Marathon, College Station, 2/27/2016

337 - Carabba's Classic Half Marathon and Relay, San Antonio, 6/18/2016
323 - Seabrook Lucky Trail Half Marathon and Relay - Sunday, Seabrook, 3/20/2016
319 - Wildfire Half and 10K, Denton, 7/17/2016
311 - Exygon and Baptist Hospitals Half Marathon, Beaumont, 2/27/2016
308 - Surfside Beach Half Marathon, Surfside Beach, 2/20/2016

298 - Miracle Match Half Marathon, Waco, 1/31/2016
297 - Jail Break Run Half Marathon and 5K, Baytown, 2/20/2016
293 - Wee Chi Tah Trail Run, Wichita Falls, 8/28/2016
284 - Lone Star Race Half Marathon, Arlington, 4/24/2016
278 - Energy City Half Marathon, Midland, 4/2/2016

276 - Texas Marathon, Kingwood, 1/1/2016
271 - American Bank Half Marathon and Relay, Corpus Christi, 1/2/2016
271 - Illuminations Austin Half Marathon, Lost Pines, 3/5/2016
266 - Panther Half Marathon and 5K, Fort Worth, 3/13/2016
264 - Badass Brazos Half Marathon, Waco, 8/7/2016

233 - 28th annual Lake Benbrook Half Marathon and 5K, Benbrook, 1/30/2016
223 - Orange Leaf Half Marathon, New Braunfels, 7/16/2016
214 - Cross Creek Ranch Dusk to Dawn Half Marathon, Fulshear, 3/5/2016
212 - Run With Heart Marathon and 5K, Mansfield, 1/30/2016
210 - Willie McCool Memorial Half Marathon, Lubbock, 4/2/2016

209 - Wildflower Half Marathon, Bastrop, 5/7/2016
187 - Grasslands Trail Run Half Marathon, Decatur, 3/19/2016
181 - Canton Balloon Festival Half Marathon, Canton, 5/14/2016
173 - San Felipe Shootout, San Felipe, 3/12/2016
170 - Cross Timbers Trail Run Half Marathon, Gordonville, 2/13/2016

163 - Texas Wine Series at Llano Estacado Half Marathon, Lubbock, 10/8/2016
161 - Texas Wine Series at Kiepersol Estates Half Marathon, Tyler, 4/16/2016
152 - AMBUCS Longview Half Marathon, Longview, 3/12/2016
145 - Pandora's Box of Rox Half Marathon, Burnet, 3/5/2016
144 - Dragon's Den Half Marathon, San Antonio, 8/13/2016

142 - Clark Gardens Half Marathon, Weatherford, 10/1/2016
140 - Natural Bridge Caverns Trail Run Half Marathon, San Antono, 2/7/2016
138 - Texas Wine Series at Flat Creek Estate Half Marathon, Marble Falls, 3/20/2016
135 - Franklin Mountains Trail Run, El Paso, 9/10/2016
132 - Party Run Half Marathon, Dallas, 4/23/2016

128 - Honored Hero Run Half Marathon, Fort Worth, 10/16/2016
127 - Hope & Healing Half Marathon, Amarillo, 5/7/2016
122 - Resolution Run Half Marathon, McKinney, 1/9/2016
120 - Amarillo Half Marathon, Amarillo, 4/9/2016
119 - CRC Mother's Day Half Marathon and 5K, Fort Worth, 5/9/2016

116 - Lost Pines Trail Run Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K, Austin, 3/20/2016
114 - Heroes for Hope Half Marathon and 5K, Fort Worth, 1/30/2016
108 - The XPRESS Half Marathon, Wichita Falls, 3/5/2016
108 - Night Moves Trail Run Half Marathon, Hitchcock, 8/6/2016
107 - The Double Half Marathon - Morning, San Antonio, 9/4/2016

105 - Texas Wine Series at Whistling Duck Half Marathon, Weimar, 4/3/2016
104 - UCAN Half Marathon, McKinney, 4/10/2016
101 - XTERRA Magnolia Hill 21K, Navasota, 7/10/2016
100 - Temple Rotary Club Half Marathon, Temple, 5/14/2016
99 - The Duel Half Marathon (Paved Trail), Wichita Falls, 1/16/2016

96 - Buffalo Stampede Half Marathon, College Station, 10/1/2016
96 - West Texas Half Marathon, San Angelo, 10/16/2016
93 - Rough Creek Trail Run, Glen Rose, 9/17/2016
92 - Dare to Ascend Trail Run Half Marathon, Georgetown, 9/24/2016
91 - XTERRA Cameron Park 21K, Waco, 8/14/2016

90 - Texas Switchback Half Marathon, Johnson City, 6/4/2016
87 - Wichita Falls Running Club Dam Run Half Marathon, Wichita Falls, 5/7/2016
83 - Davy Crockett Bear Chase, Groveton, 4/23/2016
76 - Carnival of Venice Half Marathon, San Antonio, 4/8/2016
69 - Saddle Blazer Trail Half Marathon, Killeen, 2/27/2016

68 - Angel Run Half Marathon, 10K and 5K, Montgomery, 4/16/2016
67 - 8th annual Surf-N-Turf Half Marathon, Corpus Christi, 1/30/2016
59 - River Road Run Half Marathon, New Braunfels, 1/2/2016
59 - TXU Energy Crazy Desert Trail Run Half Marathon, San Angelo, 3/12/2016
56 - Spectrum Rawhide Trail Half Marathon, Comfort, 10/8/2016

49 - XTERRA Muleshoe 21K, Spicewood, 7/31/2016
48 - Dust Bowl Half Marathon Series - Day 1, Dalhart, 3/23/2016
47 - Amarillo Town Club Chilly Hilly Half Marathon, Amarillo, 3/26/2016
42 - Lights of Life Half Marathon, Suplhur Springs, 10/1/2016
41 - Jim's Goose Chase Half Marathon, Dallas, 5/29/2016

41 - Memorial Day Half Marathon, Dallas, 5/30/2016
40 - The Multiple Sclerosis Half Marathon, Dallas, 5/28/2016
38 - ECVFD Resolution Run Half Marathon, San Angelo, 1/9/2016
36 - Mayor's Half Marathon, Amarillo, 9/10/2016
33 - XTERRA Bluebonnet 21K, Burnet, 4/3/2016

33 - XTERRA ATX 21K, Spicewood, 4/24/2016
26 - The Double Half Marathon - Evening, San Antonio, 9/4/2016
18 - ECVFD Stop, Drop & Roll Half Marathon, San Angelo, 10/8/2016
12 - Frio River Run Half Marathon, Concan, 2/20/2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Holiday Half Marathon & 5K Finishers (Galveston, TX)

Half Marathon
2012 - 252 (156 women, 96 men)
2014 - 374 (206 women, 163 men, 5 relay)
2013 - 418 (240 women, 172 men, 6 relay)
2015 - 213 (121 women, 88 men, 4 relay)

2012 - 1:20:41, Edward Carson, 38
2013 - 1:15:38, Joey D'Eramo, 24
2014 - 1:12:32, Name Unknown, 26
2015 - 1:28:28, Walter Mayer, 39, Houston

Overall - Female
2012 - 1:23:48, Kaytlynn Welsch, 12, Alvin
2013 - 1:29:55, Kaytlynn Welsch, 13, Alvin
2014 - 1:32:33, Kaytlynn Welsch, 14, Alvin
2015 - 1:32:25, Amanda Cruise, 32, Livingston

2012 - 1:27:23, Stephen Jones, 43
2013 - 1:32:06, J. Ernesto Jimenez, 43
2014 - 1:28:22, Leo Hernandez, 44, Houston
2015 - 1:35:59, Greg Thomas, 59, Hockley

Masters - Female
2012 - 1:37:26, Dana Andrae, 43
2013 - 1:42:28, Jennifer Perez, 47
2014 - 1:48:44, Susan Rouse, 56, The Woodlands
2015 - 1:46:43, Jitka Newald, 57, Dickinson

2013 - 79 (54 women, 25 men)
2014 - 136 (94 women, 42 men)
2015 - 120 (81 women, 39 men)

2013 - 25:02, Paul Coffman, 29
2014 - 18:21, Charles Ray, 15, Schertz
2015 - 18:57, Eli Greene, 13, Sugar Land

Overall - Female
2013 - 21:36, Heather Welsch, 11, Alvin
2014 - 22:50, Andrea Rood, 29, Livingston
2015 - 23:47, Amalia Guardiola, 39, Houston

2013 - 25:13, Robert Sevilla, 68, New Caney
2014 - 22:25, Adam Eiler, 44, Houston
2015 - 20:16, Alberto Trevino, 40

Masters - Female
2013 - 29:47, Ingrid Gonzalez, 52
2014 - 24:07, Lauren Gobar, Fulshear
2015 - 24:21, Maria Carmichael, 41, Galveston

2015 - Sunday, November 22
2014 - Sunday, November 23
2013 - Sunday, November 24
2012 - Sunday, November 18

Monday, October 10, 2016

Space City 10-Miler All-Time Finishers Totals

2003 -- 621
2004 -- 793
2005 -- 746
2006 -- 824
2007 -- 738
2008 -- 735
2009 -- 864 (837 plus 27 relays)
2010 -- 829
2011 -- 622
2012 -- 750 (736 plus 14 relays)
2013 -- 644 (628 plus 16 relays)
2014 -- 585 (570 plus 15 relays)
2015 -- 558 (533 plus 25 relays)
2016 (F) -- 402 (380 plus 22 relays)
2016 (O) -- 419 (408 plus 11 relays)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Lauren Stroud's Current Race Win Streak

October 9, 2016 - Space City 10-Miler, Houston, 59:40
September 17, 2016 - Badges & Bases 5K, Houston, 17:52
August 20, 2016 - Lake Houston 5K, Kingwood, 17:26.9
August 13, 2016 - Outriggers 5K, Kemah, 17:11.4
July 30, 2016 - Mosquito Chase 5K, Clute, 17:36.8

July 23, 2016 - Summer Sizzler 7K, Lake Jackson, 25:36
July 16, 2016 - Lunar Rendezvous 5K, Clear Lake, 17:08.3
July 4, 2016 - Dow Firecracker 4, Lake Jackson, 22:52.4
June 18, 2016 - Dad's Day 5K, Houston, 17:08
May 7, 2016 - Pear Run 10K, Pearland, 35:04.8

April 23, 2016 - Flapjack 5K, Freeport, 16:58
April 2, 2016 - Gator Gallop 5K, Lake Jackson, 16:56
March 26, 2016 - Brunch Run 4M, Houston, 21:54.6
March 20, 2016 - St. Paddy's Half Marathon, Sugar Land, 1:16:19.0
March 5, 2016 - Women Against Violence 5K, Houston, 16:54.0

February 27, 2016 - ConocoPhillips Rodeo Run 10K, Houston, 34:48 (second to Mary Davies)

Space City 10-Miler All-Time Winners (2003-2016)

Men's Overall Winner
2003 - Luis Armenteros, 52:20.9
2004 - Sean Wade, 52:07.3
2005 - Jacob Rotich, 51:02.8
2006 - Richard Kimeli, 50:16.8
2007 - Richard Kimeli, 49:47.5
2008 - Richard Kimeli, 51:36.0
2009 - Shadrack Songok, 50:13.2
2010 - Samuel Kosgei, 48:26.7 * (Event record)
2011 - Samuel Kosgei, 50:44.1
2012 - Benjami Zywicki, 52:16.4
2013 - Enoch Nadler, 50:25.1
2014 - Kiya Dandena, 51:11.5
2015 - Jarrett Le Blanc, 51:21.3
2016 (Feb.) - Biya Simbassa, 50:13.4
2016 (Oct.) - Abinet Adravo, 52:13.6

Women's Overall Winner
2003 - Jessica Armenteros, 1:02:12.9
2004 - Jody Hawkins, 57:15.0
2005 - Liza Hunter Galvan, 57:26.2
2006 - Jody Hawkins, 1:01:05.4
2007 - Lilian Chelimo, 56:43.0
2008 - Diana Hirst, 1:04:16.7
2009 - Mary Davies, 58:07.7
2010 - Emily Loeffler, 1:01:22.6
2011 - Emily Daum, 1:00:48.9
2012 - Emily Daum, 1:02:23.3
2013 - Mary Davies, 59:35.5
2014 - Megan Saloom, 59:48.3
2015 - Hillary Montgomery, 55:11.8 * (Event record)
2016 (Feb.) - Mary Davies, 56:45.7
2016 (Oct.) - Lauren Stroud, 59:41.7

Men's Masters Winner
2003 - Steven King, 57:58.8
2004 - Joe Flores, 55:29.3
2005 - William Moore, 55:54.6
2006 - Terry Garrett, 57:33.9
2007 - Francisco Perez, 56:38.7
2008 - Sean Wade, 52:27.9
2009 - Sean Wade, 50:39.7 * (Event record)
2010 - Gerardo Mora, 56:50.4
2011 - Sean Wade, 53:47.8
2012 - Wilmer Bustillos, 57:19.7
2013 - Sammy Kiplagat Cheptoo, 51:49.8
2014 - Sammy Kiplagat Cheptoo, 54:09.3
2015 - Luis Armenteros, 56:26.5
2016 (Feb.) - Luis Armenteros, 56:34.5
2016 (Oct.) - Luis Armenteros, 56:29.3

Women's Masters Winner
2003 - Christie Lammers, 1:05:10.0
2004 - Christie Lammers, 1:04:53.5
2005 - Suzanne Day, 1:09:54.6
2006 - Susan Walters, 1:06:38.3
2007 - Susan Walters, 1:04:46.2
2008 - Heidy Lozano, 1:05:32.1
2009 - Heidy Lozano, 1:03:21.9
2010 - Heidy Lozano, 1:02:36.3 * (Event record)
2011 - Laura Bennett, 1:08:31.6
2012 - Jody Berry, 1:12:46.1
2013 - Kimberly Mac Namee, 1:03:45.4
2014 - Alexandra Paddon-Jones, 1:07:26
2015 - Laura Bennett, 1:07:35.3
2016 (Feb.) - Laura Bennett, 1:06:21.8
2016 (Oct.) - Stacy Holden, 1:07:18.9

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Woodlands' Delzer's All Set For Saturday's GWR Attempt

SPRING -- Record attempts don't happen overnight.

The Woodlands' Ronnie Delzer, who will attempt on Saturday at Luke's Locker in The Woodlands to set a new Guinness World Records mark for the longest distance run on a treadmill in 12 hours, has been targeting the record since last summer.

"David Staley (from the Denver, Colorado area) broke the record in July 2015 with 81.62 miles, and that's when I heard about it," said the 34-year-old husband and father of two. "I thought to myself I could do that, knowing at the time what I had run for my first 100 (mile race)."

And that was fast by the sport's standards.

His 14-hour, 15-minute, 53-second third place overall finish in February of last year at the 23rd annual Rocky Raccoon 100 in Huntsville State Park was the 56th best 100-mile time ever.

Staley's mark has since been surpassed twice and is currently held by Canadian David Proctor who ran 86.49 miles in 12 hours on a treadmill during Memorial Day weekend.

Still, it is just a little bit faster - a pace of 8 minutes and 19 seconds per mile - than Delzer's 8:33 that day.

And he started out more conservative than most do at the race.

"It is known for a fast start," he said. "I watched it the year before and what I noticed is there would be one or two packs off the front racing each other early.

The three-time Ironman, including the first two Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas, noticed that after the first two 20-mile loops many had dropped -- a signal to him to "run my own race".

"Rocky Raccoon 100 is a five loop course and I sat back and enjoyed the experience," Delzer said. "I was running with people I had been doing my homework on so it was really cool.

"My splits for the first 60 miles were a little faster than I expected but I felt really good and in control. It wasn't until the last 30 miles where I started to fade."

Homework is something that's been a hallmark of the former East Carolina Pirate cross country and track competitor.

"I do like to know what I am getting myself into before I do something because once I commit to something I'm all in," he said.

Delzer competed in The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-miler last December (finishing 37th overall in a field chock-full of the west coast's best ultrarunners) as well as this past April's Gorge Waterfalls 100K in Oregon where he was ninth overall.

The latter was a Golden Ticket race to the venerable Western States 100, run every July from Squaw Valley to Auburn, California.

And without it (needing a fifth place finish or better with a rolldown or two), he then submitted his application to Guinness World Records.

"It turns out to be a perfect time to try this and should be a good build up leading into another 100 at the end of the year," Delzer said.

He also spent time this summer crewing at Badwater Ultra 135 in Death Valley, California.

"I don't want to just pick something and do it," Delzer said. "I want to do my best and test my limits. One of the benefits of observing up close and personal is being able to visualize what the race is like. I'll use that during training and also during the race."

Training he also said is being able "to control what's in your head."

Guinness World Records accepting his application to attempt to break the mark more than a month ago helped him snap out of "some low patches" from earlier in the summer.

"Knowing that I have something to train for has definitely helped with my motivation," he smiled.

Nor does it hurt when your coach is one of the top ultra runners in the world, Ian Sharman.

"He holds some GWR's so he's been through this and has been able to offer guidance along the way," he said.

Delzer credits his family and sponsors with putting him in the best position for tomorrow's record attempt.

Six years ago, Delzer was a general manager at a window and door manufacturing plant in North Carolina, but the company was rebounding from bankruptcy in addition to leadership and organizational changes.

"We did a lot of praying and this (The Woodlands) is where God brought us," he said.

He took a 20 percent pay cut, accepting a manager trainee position for a similar company in the greater Houston area.

His wife, Stefanie, left her job as a recreation therapist.

"It turned out to be one of the best decisions we've ever made," the outdoor salesman for a company that specializes in millwork for custom builders remarked. "Once we got here I knew this is where I wanted to raise our family so I told my managers that I wanted to stay in the Houston market."

And eight months after they called The Woodlands home, the plant in North Carolina closed.

The likes of Klean Athlete, Alternative Health Center of The Woodlands and Sterling Ridge Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine have also helped him open the windows into his body to see how well-positioned he could be for Saturday - and beyond.

"I know that I'm in really good shape and my body feels the best it has ever felt," he said. "I really have to give credit to my sponsors for that.

"I truly believe they help me perform at my best, I'm stronger and healthier because of them and they allow me to reach my full potential."

And if he wasn't feeling any pressure, that full potential was noticed by none other than the man he's chasing -- David Proctor.

"When I opened Facebook this morning, I had a friend request from him and then he commented on my post yesterday," he said.

"I know it (tomorrow's record attempt) will be challenging at times, but I have done some great workouts and (have) figured out what works and doesn't."

(c), Walk Sports Services, 2016

Friday, July 29, 2016

Prices of Texas Marathons on August 1, 2016

$65 - 11/24/16 through 11/27/16 - The Texas Quad (Dallas) - until September 1
$65 - 12/17/16 and 12/18/16 - The Texas Double - until September 15
$65 - 12/31/16 and 1/1/17 - New Year's Double Marathon (Allen) - until tier of 101-300 runners if filled; both days

$70 - 3/18/17 - Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon - until September 30

$75 - 2/4/17 - Surfside Beach Marathon - until January 2, 2017
$75 - 2/19/17 - Michelob Ultra El Paso Marathon - until August 31
$75 - 4/2/17 - Irving Marathon - until October 31

$80 - 1/15/17 - McAllen Marathon - until September 30

$84 - 4/2/17 - Big D Marathon (Dallas) - no indication of a future price increase

$85 - 10/22/16 - Frankenthon Monster Marathon (Cedar Park) - until August 31; was $75 through July 31

$89 - 10/9/16 - Tyler Rose Marathon - no indication of a future price increase

$90 - 11/13/16 - Hill Country Marathon (Marble Falls) - until October 16
$90 - 1/1/17 - Texas Marathon (Kingwood) - no indication of a future price increase
$90 - 2/12/17 - Galveston Marathon - until December 20
$90 - 2/26/17 - Cowtown Marathon (Fort Worth) - until August 6

$95 - 10/22/16 - Marathon 2 Marathon - until October 1
$95 - 1/22/17 - Miracle Match Marathon (Waco) - until December 31
$95 - 1/29/17 - USA Fit Marathon (Sugar Land) - no indication of a future price increase
$95 - 3/4/17 - Fidelity Investments The Woodlands Marathon - until August 31

$98 - 3/4/17 - Exygon and Baptist Hospitals Gusher Marathon (Beaumont) - no indication of a future price increase

$100 - 11/13/16 - Fort Worth Marathon - until August 31
$100 - 12/11/16 - Baylor Scott & White Health B-CS Marathon - until August 31
$100 - 3/22/17 - Dust Bowl Series - Dalhart - no indication of a future price increase

$105 - 12/4/16 - Rock 'N Roll San Antonio Marathon - no indication of a future price increase; was $96 through July 31

$110 - 2/19/17 - NXP Austin Marathon - until August 29

$119 - 12/11/16 - BMW Dallas Marathon - until August 31; was $109 through July 31

$130 - 11/12/16 - South Padre Island Marathon - until September 30; was $110 through July 31

$135 - 1/15/17 - Chevron Houston Marathon - until sold out

Registration not open for 2017
4/9/16 - Amarillo Marathon
4/23/16 - Davy Crockett Bear Chase (Groveton)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Update on The Woodlands Township Board of Directors Meeting, July 27, 2016

I attended The Woodlands Township Board of Directors Meeting last evening, even though I learned via a Facebook comment from Director Mike Bass on a post by Barry Blanton that the public hearing involving the Special Events Policy had been moved to the Evening meeting in August.

That means it will be discussed on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 6 p.m.

The only item on the agenda was the approval of the Host Value Sponsorship Agreement between The Township and The Woodlands Marathon Management, LLC.

Let me restate that I have no skin in this game as I am a resident of unincorporated Harris County, specifically, a Spring, Texas postal address.

The only service that I currently provide for any event that is put on in The Woodlands Township is that I serve as the race announcer for the Muddy Trails 5K, 10K, 5K-9 and Kids Fun Run and the CB&I Tri The Woodlands Triathlon, both produced by the Parks and Recreation Department of The Township.

Upon starting to run, for those who don't know my past, I got involved in reporting on road races and triathlons first through my "Houston Running" blog and later in avenues such as Texas Runner and Triathlete (then Inside Texas Running and Runner Triathlete News) and the Conroe Courier.

The latter came about when asked by publisher Jim Fredricks to write a weekly running and triathlon column.

I did so for about five years and stopped about the time that Jim left The Courier.

Back to last evening:  Having read the agenda and the Board packet posted Friday evening, I figured - given how the Sponsorship Agreement had been changed - that its approval would be a formality.  However, I wanted to see the discussion of the Board members to get a sense of what to expect next month with the Special Events Policy.

The Township's Assistant General Manager, Community Services John Powers presented the agenda item to the Directors.

John gave some general history for context and stated that basically it was a three-year agreement with two one-year renewal provisions, The Township would have the ability to approve the course (where Montgomery County Precinct 3 did so in the past) and that a donation to the Parks and Recreation department was removed.

There was minor discussion on the matter with Director Bass clarifying that even though the agreement gives The Township approval authority on the course that it wouldn't go into effect until The Township and Montgomery County Precinct 3 formalize their agreement to allow The Township to approve courses for races.

Montgomery County Precinct 3 would still approve traffic control plans, which are produced by a certified roadway design or traffic engineer.

Director Bass made a motion to approve the agreement.  Director John McMullan seconded the motion.

The Woodlands Marathon Management, LLC did not have anyone in attendance for the meeting.

So what changes?

Looking at the executed Host Venue Sponsorship Agreement from September 2011 and the proposed Agreement for approval, the changes are minor.

After the first five-year agreement expired, The Woodlands Marathon Management, LLC asked for a 10-year agreement.  However, the term approved is for three years and "may be renewed for up to two additional one (1) year periods ..."

The dates for the next three years are set:  March 4, 2017, March 3, 2018 and March 2, 2019.

As noted above, The Township will "have final approval of the Event race routes and schedules, upon county-approved traffic control plans for each of the Event races, as well as the Woodlands Development Company, L.P.'s ("TWDC") approval for any Event use of the Woodlands Waterway."

Exhibit B in both agreements spells out the responsibilities of The Township.

The parks and venues to be provided were listed in the original agreement, but are noted as "to be later specified".

The most significant change is that The Township will provide "value, by in-kind usage of electronic message boards to notify residents of potential lane or road closures."

Exhibit C lists the responsibilities of The Woodlands Marathon Management, LLC.

A new item is that the Marathon "will remove all traffic control devices and related signage within 24 hours of the Event.  Failure to do so will results in The Township's removal of such signage and Event-related traffic control devices, at The Marathon's expense."

The Marathon adjusted its stated influx of "athletes, media, staff, VIPs and spectators" from 4,000 to 25,000.  (Even with 8,000 participants, 25,000 is a reach.  You're taking the position that every single participant will bring three people with them to cheer them on.  There's no penalty if this isn't met or achieved, nor is there a way to accurately measure it - unless every single participant responds to the post-race survey.)

The Marathon increases its guarantee of "hotel room nights related to the event with hotels within The Woodlands" from 150 to 400.

The Marathon reduces its contracted donations from $40,000 to $25,000 and eliminates the $1,000 give to the Parks and Recreation Department.  The race previously agreed to give $20,000 in donations to not-for-profit organization and $20,000 in donations for local and regional volunteer organizations and groups.  It is now $25,000 for both of the groups combined, resulting in a $15,000 per year gain by The Woodlands Marathon Management, LLC (if the numbers required by groups or conditions to trigger these donations weren't reached.)

The Marathon also agreed to limit the maximum number of participants for each Event, but the race numbers are all listed as TBD, for the moment.

The Marathon also agrees to providing The Township with an Economic Impact Study at the conclusion of the 2017 and 2019 events.

The agreement is a win-win for the event (as it can plan long-term, particularly from a sponsorship standpoint), The Township (as they can continue to use it in their marketing with the race being part of a complete, well-rounded community) and the residents.

Why the residents?  Because there's no excuse for them not to know when the event is.

It will be interesting to see if these dates conflict with the SAT that is held at The Woodlands High School or if the marathon next year (and in future years) will adjust its route to ensure there isn't the conflict that potentially occurred this year with students that would have been arriving at a time where a continuous stream of runners would block the entrance to the high school as they ran north in the eastbound lanes on Research Forest.  (As you'll remember, the SAT cancelled the test on Friday - a day before the exam - when the marathon wouldn't adjust its course.)

Beyond that, I had a good conversation with Parks and Recreation Director Chris Nunes about the Special Events Policy that will be discussed at the next month's Evening Board meeting.

I lobbied for some communication methods to be employed to keep residents in the loop of all events and their traffic impacts, specifically what the City of Houston uses.  Chris shared that there may be an electronic opportunity that's being explored and developed to make that type of information (such as road closures due to events and/or races) - and much, much more - to residents.

I also inquired about the future dates for CB&I, given that we now know that Ironman Texas will remain in The Woodlands.  I asked this in the frame of reference that the Board has expressed a desire for races to be spaced four weeks apart in a specific village, plus that the Kemah Triathlon is shifting from April to October in 2017.

More on those likely next month.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Texas' Largest Independence Day-Themed Races - 2016

Using the number of timed finishers as the metric, here is a list by individual race distances of Fourth of July-themed races in Texas this year:

911 - Run Wild 5K, Houston, July 4
826 - Baytown Bud Heatwave 5M, Baytown, July 4
560 - Freedom 5K, Sugar Land, July 4
530 - Liberty By The Lake 5K, The Colony, July 2
499 - SARR Freedom Day 4 Miler, San Antonio, July 4

360 - Hotter 'N Firecrackers 5K, Frisco, July 3
339 - DRC Independence 5K, Dallas, July 2
333 - 10th annual Up & Running 4th of July 5K, El Paso, July 4
267 - Liberty Run 5K, Denton, July 4
246 - Patriot Run 5K, Trophy Club, July 4

236 - DRC Independence 10K, Dallas, July 2
224 - Dow Firecracker 4, Lake Jackson, July 4
222 - Rowlett Freedom 5K on Main, Rowlett, July 4
221 - CCRR Four on the Fourth, Corpus Christi, July 4
216 - 8th annual Firecracker 5000, Fort Worth, July 4

208 - Popsicle Run 4-Miler, Kyle, July 4
186 - Red, White and Blue 5K, McKinney, July 2
178 - Independence Run 5K, Deer Park, July 2
177 - Let Freedom Run! 5K, Schertz, July 4
176 - Firecracker 5K, Lago Vista, July 2

169 - Liberty By The Lake 10K, The Colony, July 2
150 - Lake Granbury Kiwanis Firecracker 5K, Granbury, July 4
133 - 4th of July Celebration 5K, San Antonio, July 4
132 - WTRC Firecracker Run 3M, Brownfield, July 4
114 - DAV Stephenville Firecracker 5K, Stephenville, July 4

103 - Old Jo's Firecracker Run 5K, St. Jo, July 4
100 - Shiner Half Moon Holday 5K, Shiner, July 2
  94 - Run For Wellness 5K - Heights, Houston, July 3 (held on same weekend)
  92 - Independence Run 5K, Deer Park, July 2
  78 - Dow Firecracker 4 Two-Mile, Lake Jackson, July 4

  75 - Stu's Country Mike 5K, Centerville, July 4
  74 - 4th of July Stars and Stripes 5K, Falfurrias, July 2
  66 - 1st annual Freedom Run 5K, Snyder, July 4
  64 - Popsicle Run 3K, Kyle, July 4
  58 - Freedom 5K, Nacogdoches, July 2

  43 - WTRC Firecracker Run 10M, Brownfield, July 4
  40 - Shiner Half Moon Holday 10K, Shiner, July 2
  24 - 1st annual Freedom Run 5K, Snyder, July 4
  12 - Rainbow Dash 1M, San Antonio, July 2
    9 - Good Night Loving Celebration Fun Run 5K, Crane, July 2

    6 - Good Night Loving Celebration Fun Run 1M, Crane, July 2
    3 - Good Night Loving Celebration Fun Run 3K, Crane, July 2

Monday, June 27, 2016

Additional Thoughts on The Woodlands Township Special Events Policy

So we learn in the Meeting Recap posted by The Woodlands Township on Thursday evening through their Facebook page the following:

The Board accepted a motion to approve the Special Event Analysis and Operational Plan with the stipulation that existing major race events would be grandfathered in and the new guidelines would apply only to new events. The motion also amended the proposed scheduling buffer for events requiring road closures so that events that require lane or road closures cannot occur if another event has already been permitted for closing the same lanes/roads four weeks before or four weeks after. All road and lane closures must provide traffic alternate routes of ingress and egress from neighborhoods and the Township must approve the route as part of the permitting process.

But what is the definition of "existing major race events"?

Is it those listed in events presented by Parks and Recreation in the May Board Meeting, such as The Woodlands Marathon, Ironman Texas, Run Thru The Woods and those races produced by The Township.

Or does it include all other events that use the roads and the pathways in The Township?

I specifically never heard the word "major" mentioned.

It was "new events" versus existing ones, as the latter part of the first sentence above indicates.

I have to assume that this was an oversight in the wild discussion that took place in the flurries of motions.

Really disappointing because if it isn't defined, then you can have smaller events - more than likely those that are producing events to raise monies for charities - that are forced to make significant changes (possibly in venue even) because somebody new - without knowing what the other event has done in the past - comes in and wants to put on an event in the same residential area within that eight-week window of time.

It is why some type of weekly-produced Special Events Calendar and Road Closure listing, like that used by the City of Houston, would be good for residents (to know when and where which roads will be closed) and participants (to ensure that events are going through the permitting process timely) alike.

It would seem that existing events, as discussed, would be able to not have their existing date and location for the next year impinged upon and then once their event is complete, they would have 30 days to set a date and a location for the following year or potentially lose that date - and the eight-week block that comes with it in that residential area - to another event.

I really hope that we see this cleaned and cleared up by the Parks and Recreation Department - to come back to the Board of Directors - in the Public Hearing for the late July 27, 2016 Meeting.

I know that I actually don't have a voice as I'm not a resident of The Woodlands Township.  However, having formerly written for The Courier and being and having been a strong advocate for professionalism in event production, promotions, coverage and operations of our sport(s), I just don't want to see an understandable goal - keeping residents from feeling overwhelmed by the number of events - turn into something unworkable for those events that are predominantly attended by residents of The Woodlands Township, promote health and wellness and typically raise money for local charities.

And I'm in a difficult spot, so to speak, in that I announce two races for The Woodlands Township - Muddy Trails Bash and CB&I - and they're ones that I really enjoy being a part of.

They allow me to stay connected to our local athletic communities and why I'm so eager to do them.

Parks and Recreation leadership approves of my approach in announcing, their team is very well organized and I enjoy working with them.

If speaking my mind keeps me from being able to do so in the future, I can sleep at night knowing that I didn't compromise what I believe in and am passionate about.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Analysis of The Woodlands Township Board of Directors Meeting

What an evening.

There were two items on the agenda of Wednesday night's Board of Directors meeting for The Woodlands Township that related to endurance sports events.

They were as follows:

Receive, consider and act upon changes to Special Events Policies and Procedures including, but not limited to, noise, hours and locations for special events occurring within the Township; 

Receive, consider and act upon a Host Venue Sponsorship Agreement for The Woodlands Marathon;

I personally was unable to attend last month's meeting where discussion first occured regarding potential changes to The Township's Special Events Policies and Procedures.

I watched the video stream live online and communicated during the session with Todd Cooper, a 12-time Ironman (and Penn State graduate) who is a resident of The Township and was in the meeting chambers.

I changed my work hours yesterday so I could be in attendance.

There were just six endurance sports-minded individuals who didn't have a responsibility to be there.

Actually, one, The Woodlands Marathon race director Willie Fowlkes, needed to be there in case there were questions regarding the Host Venue Sponsorship Agreement that his organization had in front of the Board for the race.

The others were Chris Strait (StraitSpeed and The Woodlands Marathon's elite athlete coordinator), Pam Meaux (who was there to support a residents' concern about future flooding prevention efforts to be taken), Rich Cooper (Volte; formerly Woodlands Fit), myself and a gentleman who I see at The Woodlands High School cross country and track meets but I don't recall his name.

Fortunately, there were no residents to speak during the Public Comment portion of the Board meeting in regards to the disruptions caused by major athletic events such as The Woodlands Marathon, CB&I, Ironman Texas, Ten For Texas or Run Thru The Woods.

There actually was one resident who spoke about the prestige and the community benefits that is brought to The Woodlands as a result of these events happening as well as he and his family's personal health and well-being being benefitted from them.

The one who did have a responsibility to be there was multi-time Ironman finisher and frequent event sponsor Bret Strong of The Strong Firm, whose firm provides legal services to The Township.

So, what's at play here?

As I understand it from multiple people, the Board has had voiced to it - and has personally experienced - road closure issues with races and sound issues from festivals and such held at Township parks.

Parks and Recreation Department, led on the task by Chris Nunes, provided at the last Board meeting a detailed list of the major events and whether these races had significant traffic and/or economic impacts and whether the Township was a producer or a sponsor.  Most of them, they have a skin in the game.

The perception coming out of last month's meeting from the Board was that events are stacked too close together and the same neighborhoods are being affected.

And that those events are landlocking folks in their neighborhoods for too long.

The two races that are the closest are CB&I and Ironman Texas, typically within three weeks of each other.  Presumably a new date hasn't been set for CB&I yet since Ironman Texas isn't final (or at least it hasn't been published).  It is supposedly referenced in the agreement with the World Triathlon Corporation that Ironman Texas for the foreseeable future will be on the third Saturday of April.  John Powers articulated that date each year last night.

So Chris and his team went and put together really just an incredible document that tracked every single event in The Township that Parks and Recreation did work on.

They shared revenues and expenses, the amount of time (not in salaries and benefits numbers) that their staff put in on each event as well as other pertinent information and a future recommendation for that specific event.

They also listed every single event - not just races, mind you, but festivals, etc., whatever - in the Township, which park it was held in and what the community impacts were.

It was an impressive 108-page masterpiece.

One thing I gleaned is that The Township made a profit on the athletic races, which funds a lot of the programs in The Parks and Recreation Department, but other events, including those with the CV&B were high in expenses and few in revenues.

In that Operational Plan, he also addressed the amplified sound issues in Town Green and North Shore Park that Director Bass so loudly himself - not a negative reference; just ironic - voiced his concern about in the May and June Board Meetings.

That, however, all got lost in one line of one item of 12 bulleted recommendations.

The two items that had the most potential impact on endurance sports events were:

1.  Reschedule the CB&I Triathlon and / or Memorial Hermann 10 for Texas to different months than currently produced to reduce the number of race events in the community that necessitate a street and/or lane closure that have been occurring within a few weeks of each other

2.  Provided the Counties approve Township’s role in approving use of public roads, events requiring road or lane closures cannot occur if another event has been permitted for closing the same roads/ lanes two weeks before or two weeks after. All road and lane closures must provide traffic alternate routes of ingress/egress from neighborhoods. No events will be permitted to close a public road or lane for more than 4 hours, except the Ironman Texas

One of the ideas listed on page 33 of the Operational Plan was:

Review the possibility of moving the race to late summer/early fall to reduce community conflicts with Texas Ironman and The Woodlands Marathon.

This would address the Board's concerns about events that heavily impact traffic multiple times, but what I expressed via Twitter last night is:  "Where do you put it on the schedule?"

I thought that it might be hard to place it in the middle of the well-attended Onurmark triathlon races.  Then again, maybe people will flock to it then.

The discussion was free-wheeling.

Initially, Chris was even directly questioned by one of the Directors if he wanted to see the marathon killed, in essence.  Of course, I don't think that was Chris' intentions at all.  My perception is that he was trying to find a way to address the Board's already expressed concerns.

Willie Fowlkes got up during the public comment section and drew attention to the four-hour limit and noted that CB&I closed Lake Woodlands down at the finish line for more than four hours.  (At least from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., if not a little bit longer, but no more than six hours.)

Armed with that information, the Directors moved away from a firm, fixed time frame and that the Operational Plan was more of a set of guidelines that gave Parks and Recreation that ability to tell events "No".

Recent changes that require events to have a traffic control plan, pre-race highway notification devices, etc. had already stemmed the number of requests of potential new events in the community that are produced on the roadways.

Director McMullan steered the conversation to hammer home a point he made in the last Board Meeting that the economic impact benefits weren't really that much to the average homeowner's property taxes.

With the growth of The Woodlands recently, it's properly less than a couple of Starbucks coffees or lattes.

Director Bunch, an athlete himself and Ironman Texas finisher, noted - as he did so well in the May Board Meeting - the community benefits in addition to the prestige of The Woodlands.  Initially, last month, that didn't seem - in my mind - to impress Director Bass too much, but I sensed that he agreed with Gordy's take on that last night.

I gather currently the limitation of events between one another is currently two weeks (CB&I and Ironman Texas is currently three) and Director McMullen was aggressively adamant about 4-6 weeks between events.

Director Fillault asked, "Are we really closing areas off weekend after weekend?"

I personally was encouraged with that line of questioning because my concern was Fillault's stance on endurance events after she defeated Bruce Tough in the elections last November.  Former Director Tough was an ardent supporter of the endurance sports community in The Woodlands.

She also advocated better communication to the community, if they're inclined to listen (which I've personally found to be a challenge, especially with The Woodlands Marathon / SAT issue this past March).

Director Snyder was concerned of losing these races because of rules that would be too restrictive and that is when Director Bunch advocated grandfathering the existing events, which makes a lot of sense.

Director Bass, however, in a fair point, stated that at some point in time all events should have to follow the same rules, allowing for a transition time period; however, he was quick to wield power that he didn't yet have stating that The Township - even if Montgomery County Commissioner's approved road closure and the traffic control plan - could deny to issue a Special Events permit.

It went round and round with multiple motions - and retractions of motions - for future action at next month's Board of Directors meeting.

So more to come there.

The next item, with John Powers taking to the podum, was to discuss the renewing of The Woodlands Township's Host Venue Sponsorship Agreement with The Woodlands Marathon.

Grown out of the type of agreement that the World Triathlon Corporation has with The Township, The Woodlands Marathon had a five-year agreement that just expired.

Both parties provided the other with certain items or services.

The Marathon looked to The Township allow for use of Town Green, South Shore and Shadowbend Park, provide waste management and security services and to make available the use of 40 pop-up tents, for example.

The Marathon would provide an influx of 4,000 individuals, guarantee 150 hotel nights, provide VIP packages to The Township and give $41,000 -- $20,000 in donations to not-for-profit organizations, $20,000 for local and regional volunteer organizations and $1,000 for the Parks and Recreation Department.

The new proposed agreement called for similar responsibilities from The Township, adding Terramont Park, in-kind use of electronic message boards to notify residents and in-kind usage of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion multipurpose building for the Expo.

The latter item would bring athletes back to Market Street after the traffic nightmares from hosting this year's Expo at Legends Sports Complex; however, "dry-floor event" policies and procedures hadn't been established yet as noted in The Township's pre-meeting synopsis of the Agenda item.

The Marathon, in its proposal, stated an influx of 25,000 athletes, media, staff, VIPs and spectators, guarantee approximately 400 hotel nights and change the financial outlay to no less than $26,000.  $25,000 combined, instead of $20,000 each, for the two categories stated above and $1,000 to the Parks and Recreation Department.

As I stated in an earlier Facebook posting, I'm no longer a member of The Woodlands Marathon committee.  I rolled off because I didn't know if I was going to have some work responsibilities with a systems conversion at a hospital that I am performing consulting services at the weekend of the 2016 event.

I was never aware of the details of the Host Venue Sponsorship Agreement while on the Marathon team.  (I did jump in and provide some in-kind media relations services during this year's event.)

Therefore, I don't know if - whatever tracking is used to prove hotel nights related to the Marathon, if that comes through the CV&B's surveys of the local hotels and their tracking (which I've seen in other cities that I've witnessed with another event director that receives HOT monies from) - the Marathon has to make that up at 'x' number of dollars per room for every one that they're short.

The biggest surprise was a proposed 10-year term, which I stated on Twitter was unprecedented for an event its size.

I found three races that have these:

+ The Pittsburgh Marathon has a 10-year title sponsorship agreement with Dick's Sporting Goods.

+ The Boston Marathon has 10-year deals with Adidas and John Hancock that don't expire until 2023 and 2024, respectively.

+ The New York City Marathon just inked a 10-year sponsorship deal with New Balance this past December.

But, you don't get what you don't ask for, right?

Director Robb seemed to imply that there might have been some limit of five years that The Township could commit to, but that wasn't real clear.

Director McMullan, who was actually the only Director in any vote last night that voted against any motion or proposal, advocated a 1- or 2-year deal, almost as if the relationship between the two parties hadn't been good.  And that's something that I've never sensed.

John Powers seemed to be in support of a longer agreement.

These were my takeaways from last night's meeting.

I'm an optimist and believe that these things will get worked out.

I've always stated that I don't know of one race director that wants to stick it to the people whose lives they temporarily interrupt for a few hours.  And I still believe that.

With the exception of Ironman Texas, the races held within The Woodlands Township are pretty much uniquely for the residents of The Township.

CB&I and Ten For Texas, as well as Run Thru The Woods, are considered "hometown races" and The Woodlands Marathon is becoming so.

I've always have seen 60-70% numbers in registrations for these races that come from The Woodlands, Spring and Montgomery County and maybe even more for the Muddy Trails Bash, which doesn't impede much traffic at all.

The very first year of Ironman Texas, there were more finishers from the state of the host venue than any other domestic Ironman (140.6) than ever before.

The bottom line is that athletes who complain about residents complaining loudly need to become more engaged and carry the positive message out regularly and consistently.

Anything less just isn't acceptable anymore.  Sorry.

You want to race on the streets that are closed specifically for you?  You're going to have to start to better state your case to do so.

But isn't having these well-produced events in the community your justification for not having to drive to the Houston and parts further south to race?

Then put a helmet on and step into the batter's box and take a few cuts.

The next collective swing?  The July 27th Board of Directors Township Meeting.  If you're reading this, make plans to be there.

(Note:  I don't mind taking the lead on matters like this, but I can clearly state - and I have in a communication earlier after Ironman Texas to the Board and the County Commissioners - that my life - and that of my daughter's - has clearly benefited from these events over the last 13 years.  If I've errored in any perceptions or recollections from last night above, please let me know and I'll make corrections.  The bottom line, to me, though, is that more people need to step up and put their money where their mouth is.  And you just can't put the weight on those who are already pretty well-connected and involved such as Fowlkes, Sutherland, Fry, Lyons and such.)