Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Volte Rumbles Pine Needles at Rocky Raccoon

In a field that included finishers of Badwater and some of the toughest 100-milers in the United States, Volte Endurance Training runners carted home a little hardware from a beautiful day to run in Huntsville State Park on Saturday at Rocky Raccoon 10K, 25K and 50K.

“Trail runs are my first love,” says Volte founder Bill Dwyer.  “So I do get a little overboard with enthusiasm when anyone in our group does one.”

Loving trails at the Park with Curtis Hooper, Naika Vargas, Mike Coleman, Kate Looney, Erica Cahill and Bill Dwyer
(Photo courtesy of Ricardo Vargas)
And eight (8) Volte athletes – and a trio of friends, with support from Volte’s “Nifty Nine”, capitalized on “perfect weather and course conditions (which) were very good”, according to Dwyer.

All four 50K finishers were making their ultra-distance debuts.

Paced for the first 23 miles by teammate Curtis Hooper, who was running his first trail race at the Park since a 25K finish (7th, 2:04:17) at Hog’s Hunt in 2009, Kate Looney drew an experienced 31-year-old trail and ultra-runner from North Carolina, Phyllis Tsang.

Debra Myers coming in for the 10K finish while Looney and Hooper finish their first 25K loop.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Tsang, who was in the Austin area this past week for work, had already completed four 50K’s, one 30-mile, one 35-mile and a couple of marathons to boot so far in 2013.

The two were in close proximity the entire race and Looney finished second with a debut time of 4:53:43 – just 19 seconds behind Tsang.

You can read Tsang’s blog post on her win here.

In the midst of training for his inaugural attempt – in February - at the 100-mile distance, Hooper, 44, was comfortably in sixth while pacing Looney through the first loop.

Rolling through the first 25K in 2:30:45, Hooper passed Seven Hills Running Club’s J.C. Guzman, Daryl Blink and James Wright on the second loop with a negative split time of 2:28:26 – for a third overall finishing time of 4:59:11.

He was pretty pleased.

“Best race I have ever run mentally,” said Hooper.  “Paced Kate through the first 23 miles, then dropped the hammer the last eight (8).”

Houston’s Kelly Ramey opened up a large, early first loop lead on the entire field going through the first 25K in 2:20:46.

And while Tsang and Looney passed Ramey and finished comfortably in first and second, Volte’s Erica Cahill, 48, nearly wiped out an almost 20-minute deficit to Ramey and finished a minute and six (6) seconds out of third with a master’s winning time of 5:25:07.

Erica Cahill and Mike Coleman start their second 25K loop.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Only a handful of runners, besides Looney and Hooper, ran the two loops with a negative split.

One of those – Naika Vargas – did so while celebrating her 41st birthday.

Just two weeks off her personal best marathon finish in San Francisco, Naika was 16th overall in 6:54:49.

A pair of Volte friends who run with us on Saturday mornings, Mike Coleman and The Woodlands Running Club’s Gary Kroll, completed the 50K in 5:25:07 and 5:42:44, respectively.  Coleman ran the entire way with Cahill.

“I was very excited that everyone stayed patient early and executed their plans perfectly. Everyone ran very well,” said Dwyer.

Including those running in the shorter distance races.

Volte’s Ken Rieger and Jennifer Rowe, both 45, were the second fastest overall masters runners on the day.

Ken Rieger airing out his fifth place overall finish in the 25K.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Rieger was fifth overall in 1:49:12 for the men while Rowe was ninth overall for the ladies in 2:39:35.  Rob Myers, 48, rounded out our group in the 25K with a time of 2:51:54.

Running at Huntsville State Park on Saturday brought back a lot of childhood memories for Rowe.

Jennifer Rowe 200 yards from a 25K finish
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
“I felt like a kid running through the woods,” said Rowe.  “The house I grew up in literally backed up to a national forest so I really did do a lot of running through the woods when I was a kid.

“I'll definitely do another trail run - that was great, great fun.”

Debra Myers, 45, finished the 10K in 1:06:46 while one of our Volte friends with Strike Force Racing, Dawn Spoljaric, 32, was seventh overall for the ladies in 1:01:18.

Rob and Debra Myers
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
“And our support crew was off the charts,” Dwyer added.  “Very blessed to have so many amazing people in our group.”

The “Nifty Nine” on Saturday included Dwyer, Anita Werner, Carrie Hyde, Dave Odom, Bob Looney, Nicole Schoppe, Mayra Caamano, Mary Carter and Ricardo Vargas.

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