Monday, July 26, 2010

My First Ultramarathon

I found this race report of the Warda Cardiac Ultra from This was my first ultra run, a 50 miler! I had just finished my first marathon in San Antonio a week before. I didn't know what the hell I was doing. I remember I didn't have a headlamp or any kind of light, so I stuck close to the runners in front of me for all of the night running. Oh, innocent times. I also remember that it was super muddy and wet and that I kept falling down in the muddy downhill parts. I didn't like the idea of peeing on the trail, out in the open. So, I would hold it until I got the the start line on each loop and I used the restroom that was there (my sense of propriety didn't last long. After about a marathon, I decided to pee on the trails). Also, notice in the pictures below, I was wearing like a blue plastic parka thing. Why the hell was I trying to stay dry? That thing was super hot, anyway. All things considered, it was a very fun little race. I got emotional at the end. Here is the race report:

Busy weekend of ultrarunning in the region on one of those events was the Warda Cardiac trail run taking place 40 or so miles east of Austin Texas.

The event had a distance for nearly everyone; 50 mile, 50 km, and 25 km. 58 athletes braved what appeared to be a challenging day due to the rain.

Often I try to breakdown the results for you but this time I have a special treat. Race Director, Joe Prusaitis (Tejas Trails), who puts on a handful of high quality dirt events in our region and is a bad-ass trail runner in his own right, was kind enough to allow me to publish his report from the event which will provide an even greater perspective on the race experience.



Joe’s Report

This story started with the rain and ended with the mud. When I
marked the course on Friday, it rained off and on most of the day,
and the course was certainly messy, but not all that bad, and maybe a
little bit fun.

The course is a 7.5 mile loop, and adjustments where made for the
amount of loops and add ons for the distances of 50 miles, 31 miles,
and 15.5 miles. It started with a twisted up tangle of trails that
switched back and forth, then a few small fields, and then the bluff
that the trail descends & climbs a few times with a tight S-turn
switchback mid-descent, and one creek crossing. Mostly, its pretty
fast and easy. The mud changed all that.

The rain on Friday continued all night and into race morning, so that
the 6am 50 milers on their first shortened 5 mile loop, skipped the
bluff section until loop two. The 50km runners starting at 7am merged
with the 50 milers such that the two groups discovered the bluffs at
about the same time. When the 25km joined in at 8am, it was still
raining. The temperature locked in between 50 and 60 the entire day,
so, it was really a beautiful day, but word started coming in that
the creek was getting pretty high and the climbs up the bluff had
become so slick with mud as to be almost impassable. People were
either going around it, or they were crawling up. We took ropes out
and tied off on roots and trees so as to provide something to hold
onto. It helped, but the climb was still pretty messy. The S-turn
descent could only be taken at a fast run or a butt slide, and this
followed hard after the v-cut mud climb that was a pig pen mud slop
that was slow but manageable. The creek was running high and fast,
but perfectly placed to wash away all the mud from the previous

Francisco Garza led the 50 miler from the start, with Chad Armstrong
10 mins back for 27 miles, and then Chad withdrew from the race,
leaving a huge gap between him and the rest of the field. Francisco
certainly dealt with the mud better than most, finishing in 8:18:09
in some very tough conditions. George Hitzfeld seemed to enjoy the
conditions more than some, thanking me many times for the perfect
conditions for him. He came in a strong 2nd in 9:16:23. Claude Hicks
was 3rd in 10:04:41. Jennifer Evans won the women’s race in 10:40:54
and was 4th overall. Parvaneh Moeyedi was 2nd in 11:05:45, with
Barbara Hitzfeld 3rd in 12:01:40. There were 14 starters with 12

The ladies took the 50km by storm, with Sheila Van Cuyk of New Mexico
running away with the overall win in 5:08:48, with Tracy Holland 2nd
overall in 5:30:49. Brett Basham was 3rd overall and 1st male in
5:49:33. Richelle Lopez and Susan Farago came together for 4th and
5th overall to top of the women’s winners in 6:11:30. 2nd & 3rd male
winners were Steven Monte and Jerry Holbrook who came in together in
6:17:59. There were 20 starters and 19 finishers.

Ty Reagan started quick and stayed out front to win the 25km in
2:00:43, with Stephen Dunn 2nd in 2:06:47, and Jason Holmes was 3rd
in 2:12:29. Clair Melton won the women’s race in 2:49:24, with
Heather Olin Wright 2nd in 2:57:26, and Nancy Marks was 3rd in
2:58:26. There were 24 starters with 23 finishers.

The conditions with regard to the rain and the temperature were
ideal, but the mud on a few steep slopes and the high water creek
crossing made things much more difficult than anticipated. I am
amazed and enlightened by the attitude and the resiliency of the
runners under the circumstances. So few fell out, choosing instead to
keep going despite the difficulties. The mood was always light and
fun. It had the feel of a close knit group of friends who happened to
be playing in the mud.

Joe Prusaitis
TejasTrails. com

1 8:18:09 Francisco Garza M 44 TX
2 9:16:23 George Hitzfeld M 49 TX
3 10:04:41 Claude Hicks Jr M 53 TX
4 10:40:54 Jennifer Evans F 40 TX
5 10:46:02 Adam Korona M 35 TX
6 11:05:45 Parvaneh Moayedi F 45 TX
7 11:12:55 Steven Holehan M 44 TX
8 11:33:48 Richard Reaves M 39 TX
9 11:52:33 Gerard Martinez M 24 TX
10 11:59:09 Manton Willoughby M 23 TX
11 12:01:40 Barbara Hitzfeld F 48 TX
12 13:17:05 Brian Briggs M 44 TX
14 starters

1 5:08:48 Sheila Van Cuyk F 40 NM
2 5:30:49 Tracy Holland F 44 TX
3 5:49:33 Brett Basham M 49 TX
4 6:11:30 Richelle Lopez F 31 TX
5 6:11:30 Susan Farago F 39 TX
6 6:17:59 Steven Monte M 40 TX
7 6:17:59 Jerry Holbrook M 49 TX
8 6:27:53 Mariann Johnston F 41 NM
9 6:47:55 Joe Barry M 63 TX
10 6:52:57 Patricia Fick F 46 TX
11 7:01:39 Stephanie Davidson F 30 TX
12 7:01:39 Colin Davidson M 30 TX
13 7:01:41 Jeff Farrell M 49 TX
14 7:13:21 Natalie Duvall F 31 TX
15 7:13:58 Michael Dino M 27 TX
16 7:26:05 Sammy Voltaggio M 58 TX
17 8:08:28 Brenda Baker F 45 TX
18 8:17:10 Nadine Kurtti F 40 TX
19 8:38:53 Bruce Evans M 53 TX
20 starters

1 2:00:43 Ty Reagan M 25 TX
2 2:06:47 Stephen Dunn M 20 TX
3 2:12:29 Jason Holmes M 33 TX
4 2:19:36 Matthew Moreno M 23 TX
5 2:40:18 Dave Shaw M 45 TX
6 2:49:24 Clair Melton F 47 TX
7 2:49:24 Craig Osborn M 41 TX
8 2:57:26 Heather Olin Wright F 26 TX
9 2:58:26 Nancy Marks F 49 TX
10 3:04:45 Stephen Bush M 24 TX
11 3:05:12 Todd Eitleman M 42 TX
12 3:11:05 Sara Moore F 30 TX
13 3:13:29 Grace Moore F 25 TX
14 3:17:53 Elizabeth Crowe F 44 TX
15 3:24:12 Christopher Null M 42 TX
16 3:46:17 Alex Weisbach M 41 TX
17 3:50:34 Lee Topham M 68 TX
18 3:55:31 Warren Kastner M 48 TX
19 4:00:47 Robert Lott M 48 TX
20 4:29:25 January Cummings F 33 TX
21 4:29:25 Chauncey Williams M 28 TX
22 5:03:06 Preston Skelding M 8 TX
23 5:03:06 Jim Skelding M 39 TX
24 starters


The Tough-as-Nails Award

nails1The final finishers of an ultra distance event are some of the toughest athletes that are willing to stick with it to the best of their current ability and cross that darn finish line.

The Tough-as-Nails award recipients:

* Brian Briggs – 50 mile.
* Bruce Evans – 50 km.
* Preston and Jim Skelding – 25 km.

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