Sunday, February 28, 2021

Park and Sanchez lead Volte at The Woodlands Marathon 5K

A small crew of Volte athletes ran well Saturday at the 10th annual The Woodlands Marathon 5K and Pathfinder Pediatric 2K, setting the stage for next Saturday's The Woodlands Marathon, Half Marathon and inaugural 10K.

While five actually participated in the 5K, just two -- Jerritt Park and Maria Sanchez -- were racing it.

Maria Sanchez was all ready to go for Saturday's The Woodlands Marathon 5K
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Park, 43, posted his best time in three consecutive The Woodlands Marathon 5K races with a 20:45 effort.

Sanchez, meanwhile, grabbed second place in her 15-19 age group and was fifth overall as she jubilantly punched out a time of 21:21.  

Roger King, who will be running his first marathon this Saturday, took it easy, finishing in 21:16 while his brother, Robert, who's also debuting at the marathon distance Saturday, paced his son, Hunter, 9, to a time of 35:09.

Volte friends Kim White and Julie Stevenson, who both also will be running the marathon, stopped the clock in 22:07 and 23:43, respectively, as they each took second place in their age groups.

Community legend Jim Braden, 85, took first place in the 75-and-over age group in an impressive 35:27, in front of 111 of the event's 353 finishers.  

He was one of two 85-year-olds who finished, the other being Ole Lorenzetti of Fort Worth.  

A third 85-year-old runner, Jack Baker, who had finished seven previous The Woodlands Marathon 5K was registered, but did not start on Saturday.

Paced by her Mom, Kristi, Riley Park ran well, finishing the 2K in 11:10.

Volte athlete Waverly Walk, who will be running her 14th career half marathon this Saturday, sang the National Anthem before the race.

Waverly Walk (far right) will also sing the National Anthem on Saturday.  She sang the Anthem at the first two editions (2012-2013) of this current version of The Woodlands Marathon
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

She will be one of 17 Voltes running the half, while another 17 will be running the marathon and three will be competing in the 10K, including Sanchez.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Volte Uses A Village To Go Virtual

"Wing it" is not something that's in Volte founder Bill Dwyer's vocabulary too often.

And February 20, 2021 was no different.

Before we added SNOVID and ERCOT to our permanent lexicon of acronyms, he had plans to support both Holly Benson at her marathon in Lufkin at the Race For Hope event, then drive to Cat Spring to be there for David Cain as he completed his 12-hour run at the Jackelope Jam.

Instead, Mother Nature had other plans, cancelling the few races on the calendar statewide and saved Dwyer at least 354 miles on his new VW Tiguan.

Yeah, but Mother Nature hasn't seen the force of Volte either.

Sure, Volte might come from the equation VO2 (max) plus LT (lactate threshold) plus E (economy), but for Benson and Cain the Volte family jumbled the letters up projecting LOVE towards the two with the power of T-cells defending one's body.

Up first?  Ladies, of course.  

Here's what Holly had to share about the day:

I ran the Lufkin Race for Hope virtually today in The Woodlands with my Volte family. 

Such amazing people and wonderful support! I was not once by myself the entire run!

My gun time was 3:50 and my moving time was 3:38.

My friends are so sweet. 

Holly leading the Volte Village to the finish!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Devyn Cook
and Jane Campbell started me out, Roger King and Darren Hadden paced me for 15 miles, and Mayra Caamano and Carlos Rodriguez joined me around mile 18 to finish. 

The rest of my triathlon friends joined me after their crazy 50+ mile bike ride for my last six miles, including (Tammy Grado, Yaya Herrera, Paolo Biagi and Shannon Truman).

I was humbled by how accommodating and encouraging they were today. 

Plus, coach Bill Dwyer is one of the kindest humans on earth.

And as David Cain shares with us, Layton Gill is closing in on the same definition after his efforts last Saturday.

Here's what David had to share about his experience:

In October, I decided I wanted to see how far I could push myself by signing up for the 12-hour Jackelope Jam race put on by Trail Racing Over Texas. 

This is a timed race (up to 72 hours) where you run a .75 mile out & back (1.5 miles total) for the selected time. 

Last Tuesday, we received notification that the live Jackelope Jam was canceled due to the weather and we could choose between running remotely or get credit. 

I was crushed. 

After a day of trying to figure out where to run for 12 hours, Layton Gill went above and beyond by offering to host it on the drainage ditch behind his house.


Layton Gill and David Cain on one of many 1.5-mile out-and-backs
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

The course was perfect; wide, flat, smooth with easy access and best of all, no dog poop thanks to Layton.

I expected to run mostly by myself with Layton pacing later in the day. 

I had multiple headphones and portable chargers ready so I could listen to music/podcasts etc. as I ran by myself. 

The Volte team made sure someone was running with me the WHOLE time!!! 

It was the most amazing experience anyone could ask for when running an ultramarathon, let alone their first.

I’ve read and talked to many ultrarunners, so I expected the ups and downs that come with running that long.

And while the day was extremely difficult, I never went to the “dark” place mentally that many people experience. 

So many people came out to support me by running laps with me and/or hanging out at the tent. 

David and Steven Sfeir put down a few miles.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

The love shown made it virtually impossible to have a bad day and I will be forever grateful.

Thank you everyone!!!

Dwyer reported that somewhere near 20 people came out to support David as he completed 46.13 miles in 11:56:55.

The team support included Layton Gill, Katie Gill, Brittany Haddad, Rob Myers, Debra Myers, Llana Bingham, Tammy Grado, Kristi Park, Jerritt Park, Todd Hunter, Steven Sfeir, Todd Hunter, Tim Russell and Dwyer.  

David's wife Laura & several family members also gave support too.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Volte Spirits Run High at Hoka One One Rocky Raccoon

It was cold out this morning, but hey, it won't be like President's Day, right?

Always have to find the positive in everything.  

That's the Volte Way, no?

Volte athletes - and a few of our friends - competed on Saturday, February 13, 2021 at the Hoka One One Rocky Raccoon series of races, produced by Tejas Trails at Huntsville State Park.

Three of our runners competed in the half marathon -- the third year that Tejas Trails has offered this distance, while two more ran the 50K.  (The event also had a 50-miler.)

Robert Gay, 44, led the way in 1:59:48.  

Todd Hunter, 52, finished just a little bit further back in 2:01:37 while Rob Myers, 55, froze time in 2:17:17.

Even with the masks on, the eyes reveal the smiles on the faces of Todd Hunter, Rob Gay and Rob Myers.  Congratulations gentlemen!
(Photo courtesy of Layton Gill)

While doing his best Ken Johnson impersonation, specifically running most of the race with his injured shoulder in a sling, Tim Russell completed his first ultramarathon, posting a fine time in the 50K of 6:38:54 while Robert Dempsey was close behind, timewise, in 6:50:57.

Volte founder Bill Dwyer, who captured the picture below of the two about a quarter mile from the finish, explained that Russell started later than Dempsey in Tejas Trails' socially-distanced start, caught up with him at mile 20 and they stayed together the rest of the way.

Tim and Robert look like they could go another lap at this point!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Layton Gill, who coaches both Gay and Dempsey, was in support of the full group the entire day, while Dwyer made the drive north after supporting runners doing their long runs in The Woodlands and was able to make it in time for Tim and Robert's finishes.

Bill reported that temperatures at the Park were in the low 30's to the low 40's throughout the morning and early afternoon, while Layton added that it was also damp and windy but he was also quick to note that the trails were in great shape, even after last weekend's 100-miler and 100K.

He said "everyone battled the weather conditions with great spirits."

Some of our Volte friends also got in on the action at the State Park.

Hempstead's Becky Nesbitt, who we see at many of the Texas 10 Series races, was the third overall female in the 50K in 4:51:00.

Seven Hills Running Club's Jason Wallace followed her across the finish line, fourth in a competitive 40-49 division, in 5:00:10.

While none of our Volte athletes ran the 17th annual Surfside Beach Marathon, Half Marathon or the Surfin' Surfside 5K, some more Volte friends got in on the fun down on the beach.

In the marathon, Seven Hills Running Club's Jacob Gautreaux was second overall in the marathon in 3:20:17.  

Houston's Suzy Seeley was the first overall female in 4:19:16.  Not every day you see a 61-year-old woman win a marathon, but that's no surprise from one of Houston's best all-time masters marathoners.

And with his 777th career marathon, our great friend Steve Boone, the 71-year-old co-race director of the New Year's Day Texas Marathon in Kingwood, finished in 6:09:45.  

His wife Paula finished the half in 4:36:44.

Speaking of the half marathon, Seven Hills president Steve Allen, 48, was 12th overall and fourth in his division with a mark of 1:49:33.

The Woodlands' Karrie Bellard, 56, who is prepping for Ironman Texas and is coached by Heather Jorris with Outrival Racing, was the third overall female in 1:53:09, just a minute and 23 seconds off the winner.

Local running and triathlon coach Jesse Miller, 39, of Spring stopped the clock in 2:09:02.

And Ken Johnson, who we profiled on our The Woodlands Marathon Photo Flashback on the Volte Facebook page on Saturday, completed the 10K - he said more like 6.5 miles - at the Do Stop 3-Hour Trail Run in Bremond.

"It was 25 degrees up there and the grass and trees were iced over," he said.  "Luckily, the highways were clear.  Only 18 or so runners showed up."

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Volte Benefits From Bridgeland 10 Change of Scenery to Conroe

When your group’s support crew is equal to or greater than the number of runners running, it is a pretty sure sign that an “A” race is on the horizon.

Even during a pandemic.

Just under 250 runners and walkers finished the four races of the Bridgeland 10 @Conroe - a move that was necessitated by Harris County not granting a permit to hold the race within its boundaries.

And Volte founder Bill Dwyer said that Willie Fowlkes and team hit yet another home run.

“They put on a smart race today,” he said.  “This is really kind of a scrimmage for what’s coming up at The Woodlands Marathon (in four weeks).”

Volte athletes will participate in one more dry run in two weeks on Sunday, February 21, 2021 when the Sienna 10 race will transition to Fort Bend County at the University of Houston-Sugar Land, the normal location for the USA Fit Marathon and Half Marathon.

Dwyer said his athletes benefitted from optimal racing conditions.

“Weather conditions were great,” he said.  “Low humidity, probably mid-forties, low wind and a familiar course.”

And three Volte athletes lowered their time from the first race of the Series, Conroe 10, in late November.

Cheering on the team was Juan Flores, brothers Roger and Robert King, Kristi Park and Aaron and Anita Register.

Darren Hadden, 45, led the team in the 10-miler with a new personal best, finishing fourth overall and second in the masters division with a time of 1:02:30 – just 17 seconds behind 52-year-old Steve Sievert of Tomball.

Hadden had it all today as he was fourth overall and the second fastest masters.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

He dropped his time by one minute and 24 seconds from Conroe 10 last year and earned Dwyer’s designation in a post-race interview with Volte TV as “the big star today”.

With an almost identical drop in time from Conroe was 19-year-old Maria Sanchez.

Sanchez is all smiles before sprinting to the finish as the second overall female in the 5-miler.
Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer

In just her second race in the Lone Star state since moving in from Florida, Sanchez was the second overall female in the five-miler in a time of 36:32 – bettering her Conroe 10 mark of 37:48.

Jerritt Park, dropping down to the five-mile distance after putting a heavy dose of miles in this week in one of his many virtual challenges in the last year, was third overall in 35:12 – just four seconds behind Cypress’ Jose Melendez for second and the top men’s finisher.

Park had a fine showing in the 5-miler today in Conroe.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

“Sunshine” Mike Csikos was smiling with a fourth-place 50-54 age group finish of 1:14:56 – nearly three minutes better than his Conroe 10 time of 1:17:41.

Gourav Kumar, in his first race since the USA Fit Marathon three weeks ago, stopped the clock in 1:16:05.

Second in her age group was Erika Sampson, who Dwyer explained that “she’s dialing in for The Woodlands Half Marathon”.

Sampson nailed it all today, including flashing the two "thumbs up" sign.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

“She ran the first half perfectly as a workout and raced the second half,” he added.  “Her coach Rich Cooper will be proud that she actually listened to him – again – and did perfect.”

She recorded a finishing time of 1:19:02.

The Park family wasn’t finished when Dad dropped down to the five-miler.  

Son Brayden ran the 5K in 24:04, good for eighth among all men – one spot in front of one of our friends, Alvaro Trejo, with the Tough Runners Club.

Daughter Riley went 8:48 in the mile.

Our friends at the Seven Hills Running Club had another big group out.

Couple of special shout outs to Strike Force Racing’s Dee Akers, who went 1:55:09 in the 10-Miler, while one of Dwyer’s former club members with the 1960 Runners – one of the first clubs he was in after first coming to Texas from New York, Paul Roche, finished in 1:48:11.

Volte friend Jon Walk finished the five-miler today in 48:50, just a little bit surprised that it wasn’t the same almost completely flat north and south course from when he announced the first three Conroe 10 races at the race site in 2013-2015.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Volte Makes 8th Annual College Station 10 Great

A limited, yet quality crew took on the 8th annual College Station 10 on Sunday, January 31, 2021 at College Station High School in south Aggieland.

Volte’s entire team was supported by founder Bill Dwyer and kudos to race director Willie Fowlkes for a second straight COVID-19 responsible Texas 10 Series race whose protocols will be reproduced on a grander scale at The Woodlands Marathon in less than four weeks.

Seven-time Texas 10 Series winner Amanda Jenkins, who won at College Station 10 in 2017 and 2018, was second overall -- to former TCU Horned Frog Tricia Terry -- in a time of 1:03:46.


Amanda Jenkins gets ready to pass Waco's Pedro Beltan.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Third in her 40-44 age group for the second consecutive Texas 10 Series race was Mayra Caamano.


Caamano pushing to hold off Houston's Valeria Angarita, who started in an earlier wave.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

And for the second straight race, Caamano ran a negative split on the second loop en route to her finishing time of 1:18:34.

After an impressive half marathon two weeks ago at the USA Fit Marathon in Sugar Land, Erika Sampson dialed it back a little bit, but – like Caamano - also negative split the second loop before posting a time of 1:23:41.


Erika Sampson gets her miles in with a focus on The Woodlands Half Marathon.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

They are two of 64 runners who have run the first two races of the 2020-2021 Texas 10 Series.

Volte friends Kim White and Julie Stevenson both placed second in their age group and notched new personal records with respective times of 1:20:04 and 1:21:23.


You smile big when you PR.  At least that's what Kim White and Julie Stevenson say!
(Photo courtesy of Kim White)

And our friends with the Seven Hills Running Club had 12 runners finish, according to the race results.  (If you’re running for Volte, please designate Volte as your club when you register.)

Ray Sarno and Ken Johnson went 1-2 in the 70-and-over men’s division of the 5-miler.  

In the 10-miler, Rylie Seale was paced by Sara McCullough to a second-place 14-and-under ladies age group finish, while recently turned 60-year-old Steve Bickford celebrated his new age group with a third place finish.

Volte friend Jon Walk ran the five-miler in 48:27.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Love Of Running; January 31, 2021

By Rich Cooper, Volte Coach

I love running! 

It has defined me and helped to make me the man I am today.  

I discovered running at the young age of 16 when I decided that football hurt too much, not to mention I wasn’t very good at it.  

I grew up in Northern California in the shadow of the Santa Cruz Mountains which were filled with tall Redwood and Pine trees. 

It was my playground for four years. 

I loved running and I ran my first marathon in those mountains. 

It was probably one of the toughest marathons I have ever run as it took off from Los Gatos, climbed through the mountains and ended down in Soquel which was just south of Santa Cruz on the Pacific Ocean. 

It was 13 miles up, four miles along the summit and then nine miles downhill. 

Looking back on the experience, it wasn’t the uphill that got me, but the nine miles down that challenged me. 

After that race, my love for marathons took off.  

For a while it stayed with me; then it left me because of college. 

It's very difficult to run in the harsh winters of Nebraska.  

Everything changed in my early 30’s when one day I woke up, looked in the mirror and decided I needed to change my lifestyle or else I would be in big trouble.  

Running changed my life. 

Two years after I started up again. I was 100 pounds lighter and a new confident man.  

Because of running I met my wife Ginger. This March we will celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary.

Ginger gave me two sons. They have seen me as a runner as long as they have been alive.  

I owe everything I have in my life to running.  

What I love about running, is it is a mirror of life. You get back what you put into it. The harder you work, the greater the success. Just like in life, you have good days and you have bad ones. The way you respond to those bad days will determine how the next day goes.  

Just like life, you experience moments of euphoria as well as moments of despair. 

There is good pain and there is bad. 

And when you don’t expect it, you’ll experience that “Runners High” where everything in your body and mind tingle with excitement.

There is nothing like that feeling of sprinting to the finish line passing people. 

And the marathon, don't get me started. 

Some of my most memorable moments were completing a marathon. 

There is nothing like going from tears to the sheer feeling of joy when crossing that finish line. 

There is nothing like that feeling of being soaking wet after a hard workout but you still feel so good because you know you gave everything you had into it.  

Every day I get to run is a blessing from God. He has given all of us a gift; the gift of running. I always remind runners that not everyone has the gift of running.  

We’re a special breed. 

Getting up and running before the sun comes up or going out in 85-degree, 90 percent humidity to run 10 miles. 

It takes a special person with a special gift to do that. 

Running lays foundation to our successes in life because it trains us on how to deal with life.  

There is no other sport like running. It takes dedication and discipline to strap on the running shoes and go out and run. 

And even though running can be tough on the body, if you take care of yourself and listen to your body your running days can go far into your life.  

2020 was a tough year for us runners. 

During that time, it was my refuge from all the craziness in this world. 

Through it all, the one constant was I could run and nothing could stop me. 

I know 2021 will be a great year as we are already starting to see races crank up. 

2020 sparked my love for running because I couldn’t race, it made me stronger and more determined to run, because I wouldn’t let it be taken away from me.  

So, the next time you’re not sure if you want to step out and get your daily run in, remember everything it has given you. 

I guarantee you; you’ll be strapping up those shoes and hitting the road.  

Yes, I love running and I will for the rest of my life.  

Keep running friends!   

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Volte's Back To Live Racing in 2021!

As live racing continues to pick up – well, that is, anywhere outside of Harris County, Volte’s efforts in training this past year have not gone to waste in the first few races of the month of January.

Trudy Regnier, supported there by George Roffe and Bill Dwyer, started the year off with a 2:25:03 half marathon in Kingwood on New Year’s Day at the Texas Half Marathon.

And while there are no official awards, Trudy was third in her age group – a great testament, actually, to the good group of runners in her division.  

The winner of her division was just over three minutes ahead while the runner-up only beat Trudy to the finish line by 13 seconds.

Volte is always so fortunate to have many friends at races and one of those was The Woodlands’ Nora Wilson.

Nora, who ran the marathon at Kingwood last year (2020) in 4:35:37, decided to call it a morning after two loops of the course, posting a time of 2:20:18.

Filling up the spot in the race calendar vacated by the Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon and the We Are Houston 5K going virtual was the USA Fit Marathon and its affiliated events in Sugar Land.

Moving two weeks up on the normal calendar, runners were treated to ideal conditions and Volte athletes leveraged it to their advantage.

Running in the toughest 10-year age group in the race, our Gourav Kumar was 57th overall, but 16th in his 30-39 division.

Of course, we all know what is important:  time.  Both on the clock and the overall experience.

Gourav did, enjoying a mark of 3:44:01.

In the half marathon, Erika Sampson decimated the women’s 40-49 division with a dazzling time of 1:38:11.

In fact, only 43-year-old Lorena Tschen Carlisle kept her from the ladies’ masters title with a winning time of 1:35:45.

Alejandro Bedoya, drawing one of those special single-digit bib numbers, didn’t disappoint with a 1:43:21 showing in the half marathon, good for seventh overall in the 20-29 men’s division.

And Volte friend John Rivas, who made the trip with us to Tunnel Lite in 2019 and ran a blazing time of 3:16:28 there, posted his third straight sub-3:30 with a 3:21:45 – good for 25th overall and one spot behind BCS Marathon race director Chris Field.

Our good friend Steve Allen, the president of the Seven Hills Running Club, ran the half marathon there also in 1:45:13.

This past weekend, Saturday, January 23, runners invaded the hilly Tyler State Park for Trail Racing Over Texas’ Running The Rose.

Our Bonnie Scholz was 29th overall and sixth among all females in the 22-mile contest with a 4:25:14 finish, vindicating needing to drop three years ago at the event while attempting the arduous 108K.

Bonnie’s sister, Michele Fregia, of Pearland, finished the same distance in 5:29:46.

And when there is a TROT race, there’s usually a Murillo there.

Juan drew the long straw and ran the 54K, finishing 11th overall in 5:51:54.

Brother Luis, 37, was third overall in the 11-miler in a time of 1:21:46, while father Jose, 70, blazed a field of 89 finishers in the seven-kilometer race with a seventh place overall time of 48:28.

We look forward to seeing many of you at Sunday's Texas 10 College Station.