Byrne and Lucrezi Scorch the Hills at the Hillbilly Half Marathon

2012 La Sportiva Mountain CupSaturday saw over 200 runners take part in the Hillbilly Half Marathon as the 2012 La Sportiva Mountain Cup traveled to Olympia, Washington to race through the Capitol State Forest. The race organizers claim that the Hillbilly is the toughest half marathon in Washington State with its big sister, the Mountain Marathon, claiming the same title for the marathon distance.

2012 Hillbilly Half Marathon start

Runners leaving the line at the 2012 Hillbilly Half Marathon. Photo courtesy of race.

La Sportiva’s Marketing Director who ran the Hillbilly Half describes the course as follows:

The first mile and a half was a 4 wheel drive/fire road. And wet, but no puddles. The rest of the course in the half was filled with puddles filled with slush and mud. There was no way you could get through the course with dry feet wearing regular trail shoes. A lot of runners tried to keep their feet dry/er the first couple miles and then started to say the hell with it and got their feet wet running through the puddles. I embraced the puddles and just ran straight through them all and picked up about 10-15 places and a few minutes vs other runners overall, I think. There were times when I was running through so many slush puddles that my feet started to go numb. Typically, it only lasted 3-5 minutes though. The race was pretty much up or down, there was very little in terms of flat surface to run on, so your legs couldn’t get into a rhythm except for slugging uphill.

At each Mountain Cup race, La Sportiva partners with the race directors to select someone in a series race for the “Standout Award.” Guerilla Running and La Sportiva voted on Wendy Neidig for this award. Neidig (41) of Centralia, Washington is new to trail running and Saturday’s race was not only her first trail race, but her first ever half marathon. A regular in Guerilla Running training runs, Neidig has sprinted into the spirit of mixing community values with the life-changing benefits running can bring. For this, Neidig received a gift package from La Sportiva and their partners.

We’ll begin our LSMC race coverage by filling you in on how the race played out. Next, we’ll give you an update on the Mountain Cup standings. We’ll then move on to our weekly giveaway contest(s) before calling for your comments and finishing up with the full La Sportiva Mountain Cup schedule.

The Race
Men’s Race
Matt Byrne will face stiff competition for the overall Mountain Cup, but he didn’t see that competition on Saturday despite two past Mountain Cup race winners – Jared Scott and Rob Krar – running the race. Byrne won by over three minutes and set a nearly 10 minute course record in the process. Scott and Krar had a much tighter race for second with Scott besting his fellow Arizonan by less than 40 seconds. The top four men all went under the existing course record.

  1. Matt Byrne (La Sportiva) – 1:26:28 – Course Record
  2. Jared Scott (Inov-8) – 1:29:38
  3. Rob Krar – 1:30:16
  4. Weston Ferguson – 1:33:35
  5. Josh Klimex – 1:38:10

Women’s Race
Gina Lucrezi led the women’s race from wire-t0-wire, setting a course record in the process. There was good separation between Lucrezi and second place woman Christina Bauer. Indeed, there was solid separation between each woman back through fifth place.

  1. Gina Lucrezi (Inov-8) – 1:49:27 – Course Record
  2. Christina Bauer – 1:56:56
  3. Sarah Kjorstad – 2:02:58
  4. Monica Lloyd – 2:07:36
  5. Heidi Oksendhal-Byers – 2:11:40

Full Results

Hillbilly Half Marathon results (pdf)

[Shout out to friends of iRunFar Sean Meissner and Cassie Scallon on winning the men’s and women’s races in the Mountain Marathon.]

La Sportiva Mountain Cup Standings

Neither of the two Mountain Cup leaders through three races ran the Hillbilly Half. Ryan Woods managed to hold onto his lead… with a cushion, while Jason Bryant fell from second to fifth as he raced and placed third at the USATF 50-mile trail championship instead. Matt Woods played the bonus point game well at the Hillbilly Half, taking home four bonus points in addition to 20 points for winning, which boosted him from a fourth place tie with Jared Scott to second overall for the series. Scott earned 17 points for second and two bonus points for beating Rob Krar, moving him into third in the Mountain Cup standings. Krar made a surprise appearance at his second Mountain Cup race, but still fell from third to fourth as Byrne and Scott bested him on the day.

  1. Ryan Woods – 57 points from three races (Did not race the Hillbilly Half)
  2. Matt Byrne – 43 pts from two races (24 pts from the Hillbilly Half; 20 pts for winning and 4 bonus pts for beating Jared Scott and Rob Krar)
  3. Jared Scott – 39 pts from two races (19 pts from the Hillbilly Half; 17 pts for second and 2 bonus pts for beating Krar)
  4. Rob Krar – 37 pts from two races (15 pts from the Hillbilly Half for third)
  5. Jason Bryant – 30 pts from two races (Did not race the Hillbilly Half)

Gina Lucrezi keeps adding to her La Sportiva Mountain Cup lead by racing a slew of early-season races. Her 22 points from the Hillbilly Half give her a 16-point lead in the series. Christina Bauer moves into second for the series as the only other woman to earn points in multiple Mountain Cup races this season.

  • 1 – Gina Lucrezi – 50 points from three races (22 points from the Hillbilly Half; 20 pts from the win and 2 bonus pts for beating Christina Bauer)
  • 2 – Christina Bauer – 34 pts from two races (17 pts from Hillbilly Half for second)
  • 3 – Maria Dalzot – 22 pts from one race (Did not race the Hillbilly Half)
  • T-4 – Alison Bryant & Heidi Rentz – 20 pts from 0ne race (Neither raced the Hillbilly Half) La Sportiva Mountain Cup Contest
La Sportiva logoErin McDougall of Brighton, Ontario you won yourself a pair of La Sportiva Wildcats from our Ugly Mudder giveaway. Contact us to claim your prize.

La Sportiva QuantumNext up on the giveaway list, the La Sportiva Quantum. The Quantum features the cushy Morphodynamic outsole/midsole combo with a racing, slip-lasted upper. Folks would have enjoyed the Quantum over the Hillbilly Half’s 13 miles.

Want to try a pair of the Quantums? Well, to win a pair, just leave your name and town (in the US or Canada) in a comment before we write about the next Mountain Cup race to be run at the Hells Hills 25k in Texas on April 7. As a reminder, if you enter to win the Wildcats, you’ll also automatically be eligible to win the grand prize – any three pairs of La Sportiva trail shoes and some sweet Sportiva schwag at the end of August.

Call for Comments
If you ran the Hillbilly Half Marathon (or the Mountain Marathon) this weekend, please leave a comment letting everyone know how you did and what you think about the race. Past racers are invited to comment, too.

The La Sportiva Mountain Cup

There are 201 comments

  1. Ian Scott

    Thanks for all coverage of the La Sportiva races. I am really getting into how this plays out, was not familiar with the Cup series. Thanks Bryon.

    Ian Scott

    Englewood, CO

  2. Glenn Steckler

    Looks like it was good to be a Hillbilly in Olympia. Would love a shot at the Quantum.

    Glenn Steckler

    Telluride, CO

  3. Corey

    Sounds like a tough race. I'd love a pair of Quantums for my own admittedly less demanding trail duties.

    Corey Singletary

    Madison, WI

  4. Kay Allen

    I ran the Hill Billy and came in 7th lady (2:16). It has to have been the toughest race I've done yet due to the course conditions, but also the most exhilarating and crazy fun. I really suffered on the hill climbs and had a hard time getting traction on the snow in my Pure Grits (not that I've ever run in such slush, snow and muck before to compare!), but had the time of my life charging down the mountainside and barreling through the icy, slushy deep mud puddles. No room to be precious on that course!

    It was brilliant. I'm still grinning.

    The out and back nature of the course was great too, always fantastic to see the leaders zooming past on their return trip and be able to cheer and encourage everyone as you pass.

    Kay Allen

    Seattle, WA

  5. Kay Allen

    oh, BTW re those course records…I may be wrong but I think this was only the second running of the Hill Billy Half (and Mountain Marathon) and last year the course was forced to be altered due to really bad snow. Not sure which year looks worse! :D

    2011: Course Description: Starting point at 500 ft elevation. High point 1800 ft. Elevation Gain/Loss- Marathon (26.3): Approx.3950 ft. 1/2 Marathon (13.11): Approx. 1,975 ft. Course altered due to unseasonably deep snow at elevations above 700 ft. on miles 1-8 & miles 13-21. Trail/road conditions ranged from wet dirt, ice, crusty deep snow, to frigid slush.

    2012: Event Description: Half Marathon event is included in the 2012 La Sportiva Mountain Cup Race Series. Temperature at the start in high 30’s. Gusty winds. Starting point at 500 ft elevation. High point 2369 ft. Elevation Gain: Marathon (26.22) 3,854.99 ft. 1/2 Marathon (13.11): 2100 ft. Trail/road conditions ranged from hard packed dirt, mud, snow and slush. USATF Sanctioned Event.

  6. Travis Feldheger

    I ran the hillbilly, great race lots of snow mud and puddles, I ran despite being sick totally worth it though. I'm from Olympia Washington and plan to make the course one of my training runs!

  7. Sean

    As Bryon pointed out, I did, indeed, run the Mountain Marathon this past weekend (thanks for the shoutout, buddy!). What a brutally fun event! Both courses were on their "originally" planned routes, which was different from last years' snow-altered courses. That's crazy to me because there were sure lots of snow, slush, snowy-slush, and snowy/slushy/icy puddles out there this year! Trying to avoid these sometimes knee-and-thigh-deep puddles eventually proved futile, causing some very numb feet in the process.

    This is a fun, and very hard, course. I told rd's Rachael and Craig that if this course was 10,000-12,000' higher, it would be tougher than Pikes; the terrain really is that difficult!

    Run it – it's a blast!

  8. Sarah Frye

    About the Hillbilly Half this past weekend: Epic! Definitely one of the toughest courses I've ever ran, given the wet, snowy trail conditions. It was a slow go, but I'm hooked!


    Olympia, WA

  9. George McKee

    Got my son a pair of La Sportiva climbing shoes at REI. He's a Boy Scout that recently earned his Climbing merit badge. Great shoes. Would love to win a pair.
    George McKee, Arlington Tx

  10. Steven Moore

    Ran the 50 with Jason B. he should get points for coming back from his nasty arm injury! Sounds like a fun race up NW.
    Austin Tx.

  11. Joanne

    Wow! Can't believe that run. There are some hard core runners that tackle that kind of course.

    I'd love to sign up for the giveaway. Maybe I'll be a "mudder"..but that's after the easier races, like…ummm…Boston?! :)

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