Monday, October 14, 2013

Volte Christens Year Two at Ten For Texas

The Saturday evening before, Volte celebrated its first year of running, racing and training at the Blue Mug Café in The Woodlands.

A week later, Volte kicked off Year Two by sending 38 athletes to the starting line of the seventh annual Ten For Texas in The Woodlands.

The weather wasn’t kind, but people certainly were.

Sharing comments he received from the relative of an athlete he had coached many years ago who was watching her first race ever, founder Bill Dwyer noted that the following “summed up this year’s Ten For Texas:  Tough conditions, but everyone encouraged each other all day.”

“The kindness of runners for one another.  Incredible volunteers who hand out water and sport drinks. The people lining the streets cheering you on in the nicest way.  Police officers routing traffic and keeping the runners safe.  A great example of humans at their best.  The air is completely convivial, friendly, accepting, encouraging, celebratory.  It didn’t matter who you were, how you were built, what sort of time you were getting, you would be cheered in to the end, and given a medal for your accomplishment.  It was the nicest thing I’ve seen in a long time.”

Sadly, many runners take these things for granted during a race.

Dwyer is proud – and thankful – to note that this didn’t seem to apply to Volte athletes.

“It’s challenging enough to run 10 miles, but to add the oppressively warm and humid conditions made for a very tough day for everyone,” he said.  “What I was impressed with with our group (and I saw this with the other groups too) was how everyone pitched in to help each other.

“Cheering, running back out and encouraging other runners and taking care of each other at the finish.  It was amazing.”

If you’re scoring at home, it is LNRB – Leave No Runner Behind.  Even better than a 6-4-3 double play.

Ten For Texas, once again, was a deep field.  A record 2,168 runners posted official times on Saturday.

Debra Myers shows that she is happy to be one of the 2,168 finishers.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
PRs and age group awards weren’t plentiful, but perseverance was.

“My favorite part of today was seeing the sheer determination to finish on the faces of everyone,” said Volte’s Kate Looney, who operated a cheer station near mile 7 for the team (and logged 17 miles).  “I think most folks quickly realized it was not a PR kind of day and instead focused on doing what they could to finish strong.

“Some were very focused and serious and some had huge smiles, but clearly all worked hard for every single mile.  I sensed from each runner that the weather was not going to win that morning.”

Geri Henry did though.

On the strength of a 1:47:28 showing, Geri won her age group in her fourth consecutive 10-mile race.  Those wins are as follows:

1:44:19 – Texas10 Conroe, November 3, 2012
1:49:27 – Texas10 Huntsville, April 7, 2013
1:47:13 – Texas10 Katy, September 23, 2013
1:47:28 – Ten For Texas, The Woodlands, October 12, 2013

A year ago, Geri was third in her then 60-64 age group in 1:44:39 and would have finished second this year in that division.

Nicole Schoppe celebrating post-race with Erica Cahill.
(Photo courtesy of Erica Cahill)
Erica Cahill sported a time of 1:17:27 for second in her 45-49 age group while former John Cooper School and Valparaiso cross country and track and field athlete Justin Bui, who joined Volte this past week, was third in his 20-24 age group with a 1:18:21 showing.

Stephanie Wolf looking strong approaching the finish line
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Yet, nine Volte athletes improved their Ten For Texas time from a year ago.  Their 2012 times are in parentheses below.  (Note:  All individuals did not necessarily race this event last year.)

Brian Jackson – 1:14:51, Mike Csikos – 1:15:20, Keith Wiley – 1:15:54, Mayra Caamano – 1:16:06 (1:17:02), Erica Cahill – 1:17:27, Justin Bui – 1:18:21, Kelley Davis – 1:26:46 (1:27:41), Naika Vargas – 1:27:41 (1:31:32), Jennifer Rowe – 1:27:53, Criss Neumann – 1:30:51 (1:36:56), Stephanie Wolf – 1:31:01, Dirk Neumann – 1:31:04 (1:36:57), Jon Yarborough – 1:32:39, Gabby Coates – 1:34:10, Rob Myers – 1:36:35 (1:39:30), Kelly Whiddon – 1:36:41, Katie Jackson – 1:37:42, Jerritt Park – 1:37:44, Gina LeFavour – 1:37:51 (1:44:10), Stacy Roberson – 1:38:18, Jill Tresaugue – 1:39:23, Katie Marshall – 1:39:33 (1:45:52), Rich Cooper – 1:41:56, Marta Mixa – 1:42:52, Michell Bradie – 1:43:38, Rachael Wilcox – 1:43:47, Geri Henry – 1:47:28 1st AG, Sandy Jones – 1:47:43, Kim Biggerstaff – 1:49:32, Debra Myers – 1:49:33, Tabitha Young – 1:51:29, Llana Bingham – 1:54:19 (1:56:24), Leah Bolton – 1:55:34, Gabby Westbrook – 1:56:37, Alicia Yarborough – 2:00:16, Paul Vita – 2:01:23, Kelly Green – 2:19:07, Raquel Zamarron – 2:32:06

A year ago, Geri was third in her then 60-64 age group in 1:44:39 and would have finished second this year in that division.

Three of our athlete’s spouses (spouses names in parenthesis) posted finishing times on Saturday.  They included Koy (Nicole) Schoppe (1:23:04), Andy (Amber) Brock (1:34:47) and Andrew (Leah) Bolton (1:52:52).

In the middle of her buildup with our partner South Coast Endurance for November’s Oil Man Texas Triathlon half iron distance race in Montgomery, Krista Blevins still was able to pick up fourth single age record with a 1:10:01 age group winning performance.

Just behind her in the women’s 40-44 division?  Her SCE coach – and 2013 Ironman Texas finisher -- Christi Moore, who fashioned a Ten For Texas PR of 1:17:28.

Blevins’ single-age marks are as follows:

39 – 1:07:27, Krista Blevins, The Woodlands, 2009
40 – 1:05:56, Krista Blevins, The Woodlands, 2010
42 – 1:05:31, Krista Blevins, The Woodlands, 2012
43 – 1:10:01, Krista Blevins, The Woodlands, 2013

Last year, she dislodged Katie Deshotels from the spot while this year she bumped OutRival’s Heather Jorris.  In 2012, Jorris ran 1:10:58, but was finishing her 9th Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Blevins, the current RRCA 5-mile Texas state champion, had held the 41-year-old single age mark with a time of 1:08:36 until Kimberly Mac Namee blazed a time of 1:03:39 last year.

Blevins’ husband, Bert, a finisher at Ford Ironman Louisville this August with South Coast Endurance, recorded a Ten For Texas PR of 1:12:46.

Volte friends Chris Weir (Finish Strong) and William Ott (Woodlands Fit) finished in 1:10:20 and 1:25:50, respectively.  Weir trains with Volte’s Derek Bailey, who’s running the Kansas City Marathon on Saturday, while Orr joins Volte for mid-week track workouts.

It all comes back, though, to support.

At the bridge?  Enter Ellen Kurtz-Hammond.

“Wow!  Today was a flash back of Texas10 Katy 10.  Maybe worse!” she exclaimed.  “I helped people get over the bridge.  I stopped counting at eight.  I also ran two of our team in, Gaby and Geri.  Even though it was hot and humid I enjoyed every bit of it.”

In the middle of long runs?  Ken Reiger, Curtis Hooper and Randy Harris.

Driving in from Longview?  Tracie Jackson.

Marta Mixa?  She gives credit to her coach Rich Cooper.

Marta Mixa gets escorted to the finish line by her coach, Rich Cooper.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
“The race was difficult with the weather conditions.  Hot and humid are not my friends,” she said.  “However, my awesome coach Rich Cooper caught up to me around mile four.  He went ahead, but we reunited at a water stop and continued together for a while.

“He knew I was struggling so at mile 8 he waited for me and together we finished the race.  Rich, thank you for your encouragement.”

And thank you to all of you for yours!

Note:  Volte friend Waverly Walk, an 18-year-old freshman studying elementary education at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, not only sang the National Anthem before the race (which she does often) but she PR'd Saturday at the Poplar Forest 5K, which was partly on the grounds of Thomas Jefferson's family retreat in Forest, Virginia.  Waverly, who has been running in the afternoon heat and on the hills of Liberty's campus, finished in 34:17, a second before her father, Jon, who paced her to her first PR in seven years.

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