This Week In Running (Week of 1/10 & 1/11)

Happy New Year, and welcome back to another edition of This Week In Running, brought to you in part by […]

By on January 7, 2009 | 3 comments

Happy New Year, and welcome back to another edition of This Week In Running, brought to you in part by, your source for mud, mountains, miles and so much more. TWIR and certainly hope that all of its readers and fans had a warm and happy holiday season, and are ready for an exciting 2009 running season. We start 2009 off with today’s preview a few of the races on tap for the weekend of January 10 and 11, 2009. Let’s get right to it!

For those of you not familiar with TWIR, we are always on the lookout for a “featured” race, one that we can discuss in detail (maybe give a bit of history, or one where the entrant field is worthy of a close look). So, if there is an upcoming event that strikes your fancy, one that you think is worthy of being a TWIR feature event, contact us or let us know in a comment, and we’ll be happy to try and make it happen.

We don’t have to look too hard to find this week’s featured event. Well, only as far as Texas that is. That’s right, the Bandera Trail Run (100k, 50k and 25k options) takes place this Saturday, January 10 in Bandera, Texas. It is an event that continues to grow in participation size each and every year since its inception in 2003. There are already 591 registered to run in this event (381 ran in 2008). “This is not the longest, toughest, baddest, or most extreme event in the state of Texas, but it is a fair test and a fun frolic over many miles of rock and hill.” The course is consists of lots of short, steep up and down sections, with no switchbacks, seasoned with scrub and cactus that “tend to bite, scratch, and sting.” Be a bit careful of the weather as it has been temperamental over the years (in 2003 the high temp was only 44 degrees…last year, they reached the mid-70s). The current forecast for this Saturday in Bandera, Texas calls for perfect running weather….partly sunny, windy and cooler, with a high of 57.

Let’s talk a bit about the Bandera course. We start with the course for the 100k. A 50k loop repeated twice, the 100k course starts and finishes at the Lodge. The first 5 miles are fairly rugged (on into Nachos, including Big Nasty, Sky Island, and Ice Cream Hill). From Nachos through Chapas on to xRoads is “all pretty tame”. The next few sections are “not all that bad” and “relatively easy”, until Lucky Peak just before Last Chance. The final 5 miles back to the Lodge include two excellent climbs in Cairns Climb and Boyles Bump. The 50k course is almost exactly the same route as the 100k course, except for the entrance and exit to the course itself. The first 10 miles of the 50k are “tough” (starting with Cairns Climb, Boyles Bump, Big Nasty, Sky island, and Ice Cream Hill). By the time runners reach Nachos, they have already finished most of the climbs. Again, the course turns to “relatively easy”, until Lucky Peak, the final climb of the race. The 25k is a “very nasty” single loop. Runners will be treated to a hefty dose of hills. The course starts up a side trail to Lucky Peak, and then on to Last Chance, following Cairns Climb, Boyles bump, Big nasty, Sky Island, and then to xRoads and Lucky Peak again.

TWIR loves events that come with their very own special warnings, and Bandera certainly doesn’t fall short.

Beware….Texas Sotol: A cactus plan with sharp points and serrated edges. They dominate on the steeper and higher trails. Water Crossings: The creeks are usually dry, but not always. Temperature: Temps have gone from 30 to 73, while humidity has gone from 9% to 100%. We’ve had rain and fog, but mostly heat. Mud: The fast flat sections become slow and muddy when wet. Critters: Rattlesnakes, scorpions, wild boar, and a cougar live in the park, but you’ll be lucky to see an armadillo. Rattlers and scorpions are typically dormant during winter.

The men’s and women’s defending 100k champs are set to return to Bandera in 2009 – Josue Stephens of Austin Texas (11:07:44 in 2008) and two-time defending women’s champ Melanie Fryer (11:25:46 in 2008). The 100k course records were both set in 2004 and are held by Matt Harrington (9:25:39) and Amanda MacIntosh (11:18:49). The course records in the 50k were also set in the same year, 2008, and are held by Jamie Cleveland (4:06:03) and Andrea Fisher (4:56:58).

The Salem Lakeshore Frosty 50k will take place on Saturday in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The double out-and-back course is flat and scenic, and consists of 6+ miles on asphalt and 25 miles on hard packed dirt. Talk about super-stars, the women’s event has been won by Anne Lundblad 5 times (Anne is the current 3-time defending champ), and once by Annette Bednosky, in its 9 years of existence.
Also taking place on Saturday is the Bridle Trails Winter Trail Running Festival. 5-mile, 10-mile 50k solo and 50k relay races will be held in the beautiful Bridle Trails State Park, located on the outskirts of Bellevue, Wash., a few miles northeast of Seattle, Washington. This event has welcomed its share of big name runners in the past – the 50k course record is held by 2007 winner Greg Crowther (3:19:40).

There are a few marathons to choose from this weekend, including the following:

Sunday, January 11

Walt Disney World Marathon (Orlando, Florida)
Bank Trust First Light Marathon (Mobile, Alabama)
Zoom ! Yah ! Yah ! Indoor Marathon (Northfield, Minnesota)

You can, of course, click on any of the marathons listed above and peruse its website for more information.

TWIR is constantly making efforts to improve its content, features, layout, etc…., and welcomes any comments or suggestions that might help to make TWIR a better publication. If you have any thoughts, comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to reach out to TWIR or and let us know what you have in mind !

Well, it has been fun, but, that will wrap things up for this week. Be sure to stop by next week for another edition of This Week In Running ! BTW, since you’re still r
eading, consider subscribing to iRunFar via RSS or via email, so you can be sure to receive all future TWIRs automatically!

Anthony Portera
a contributing author to