Friday, December 27, 2013

Volte Captures Inaugural Texas 10 Series Ten-Gallon Club Cup Competition

I knew the stakes were high right from the start.

Indeed, they were.

Team Volte entered Saturday, December 7 and that morning’s Texas10 Conroe event one (1) point behind the Cypress Running Club in the Texas 10 Series’ Ten-Gallon Club Cup competition.

Another post-race Volte bunch - full of smiles, medals and a little cash even!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
If they turned out the most runners, we were done -- we’d have to settle for second.

Then again, with The Woodlands Running Club and the Seven Hills Running Club a point behind, Volte easily could have slipped from second to fourth.

That’s part of the mystery of the Ten-Gallon Club Cup competition.  You just don’t know how many the other clubs are going to bring.

The strategy, especially with a first-place prize of $1,000 on the line, then became:  Get everyone to turn out.

When she dealt the cards, I bet my heart.

Heart.  Former Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich said, “Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion.”

Ten miles stood between Volte and an inaugural Ten-Gallon Club Cup Series victory.

The question was whether or not another club would run away from Volte – and the win.

Yet hearts that morning were heavy as our team of 26 – flanked by founder Bill Dwyer, David Odom and Anita Werner -- stood in temperatures not much warmer to learn that Series race director – and Volte friend - Willie Fowlkes’ mother-in-law had passed away earlier in the week.

Our Randy Harris – a day away from hoping that he would play a straight flush at the B-CS Half Marathon in College Station – set aside those cards, opened his heart and led participants in an Invocation before the cold, windy race began.

Now I just found a game that I can't play,

No, no, this was a game that Volte indeed could play.

This wasn’t thermonuclear war and “Shall we play a game?”, but rather a road race of the two loops, five miles each variety.

Trina Jones, Gabby Brockett and Mary Carter were the first three to play.

And not only was the time clock was generous, but the cash register was too.

The 47-year-old Jones crushed her Texas10 Katy time of 48 minutes even to finish third overall – second in her age group – in 40:56 – a near 7-minute improvement.

A result of hard work on the track for sure for Jones -- aided by conditions that were more like Santa’s arrival than the opening the door of a train boxcar that had been on the Katy (Missouri-Kansas-Texas) Railroad all day long.

Dialing it back was Brockett, who would spend 13 miles the following day – unbeknownst at that time - with Kelly Green, as she finished in 49:47 while Mary Carter took second in her age group with a 1:06:38.

All three won $50 in the post-race raffle.

And this is where Team Volte runs away.

With 10 age group awards, a handful of PR’s, two post-race $100 winners -- from Amy Allison and Geri Henry, and a bevy of quality performances.

Geri, Jennifer Rowe and Curtis Hooper led the way with first-place age group wins.

Ellen Kurtz-Hammond's second place overall finish put her in the Armadillo Cup money for the Series.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Mayra Caamano, Tony Allison, Patty Williamson and Ellen Kurtz-Hammond posted second place age group finishes, while Tammy Grado, Leanne Rosser and Gabriela Coates picked up the remaining three (3) third-place age group awards.

And our hearts are beating faster as we run,

Curtis led Volte with the top time of the morning – good for seventh overall -- in 1:06:58.  And it was good enough to give him the first spot in the 45-49 division for the entire Texas 10 Series – and $200 cash.

Sixth in the toughest men’s age group of the day, 35-39, Randy Smith to beat Mayra to the finish line by 4.6 seconds as the two posted chip times of 1:14:39 and 1:14:40, respectively.

While Randy’s was the toughest, Mayra’s was perhaps the closest as the top three in her 35-39 age group were separated by just 8.6 seconds – in chip time.

Mayra Caamano and Erika Park running close together just like at Huntsville and Katy
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Second by chip and third by gun time, as she two-stepped South Coast Endurance’s Erika Park to the finish line over the last two miles, Mayra grabbed $150 cash with her second place Texas 10 Series Armadillo Cup effort for 2013.  Park was first.

Juliee Sparks sporting the new Volte singlet to the finish!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Volte coach Juliee Sparks, 37, and Rowe, 45, were ninth and tenth overall as they finished with just nine (9) seconds to spare between the two of them.  Sparks finished in 1:17:25, fourth in her age group, while Jennifer won her division in 1:17:36 – almost a minute ahead of second place.

Running for the things we’ve come to love.

Winning is a natural love, but family is even more important.  And so are friends.

We had three sets of husbands and wives run for us in the 10-miler.

One of the newest additions for Volte is former The Woodlands Running Club president and 50 States Marathon finisher Tony Allison, 58, who took second in his 55-59 age group in 1:20:56, while his wife, Amy, 49, posted a 1:34:29 effort.

Tom, 39, and Tammy Ninke, 38, finished in 1:31:58 and 1:39:44, respectively.

Sandra Jones helped Greg Harris pace his wife, Krista, to her first 10-mile finish ever.  They all finished in 1:49:37.  (Greg actually got there a second early to celebrate!)

Leanne Rosser (left) and Tammy Grado (right) before the running sisters rocked the course for new PRs.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Grado, 45, and Rosser, 44, pushed each other to nine-minute personal bests – and top 20 overall finishes -- as they notched times of 1:24:48 and 1:25:44, respectively.  Tammy’s finish propelled her to capturing first place in her age group in the Armadillo Cup competition – good for $200.

It's time to say goodbye to yesterday.

Phew.  For sure as we still had nine Voltes – no, no, our own Nine Volte didn’t run – and three Volte friends to cross the finish line.

Williamson, Coates and Kurtz-Hammond all finished within a minute of each other to take a pair of second place finishes and a third.  Williamson was second in her 50-54 age group in 1:27:27, while Coates was third in 30-34 in 1:27:58 while Kurtz-Hammond was second in 55-59 in 1:28:16.

Ellen would win $150 in the Armadillo Cup competition after it was all said and done.

Rich "Blue Man" Cooper getting ready to turn on the jets toward the finish line.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Volte coach Rich Cooper and Katie Jackson broke the 1:30 mark with times of 1:28:49 and 1:29:47, respectively, while Amber Brock was in striking distance of the standard in 1:30:45.

Even though she said she struggled a little bit in the middle of the second loop, specifically miles 6-8, Marta Mixa crossed the finish line strong in 1:41:12 for fourth place in her age group – guaranteeing that Ellen didn’t finish third in her division in the Armadillo Cup competition as the fifth-place AG finisher would have then tied Ellen for second.

Henry’s 1:47:01 age group win ensured that she scored the most points of any competitor – 42 – in the 2013 Texas 10 Series and put $200 in her pocket – just in time for Christmas.

And while his wife, Letty Gonzalez, has been recovering from an injury that took her out of the Chicago Marathon earlier this year, her husband, Alfredo, has started to put the miles down himself.

In his first race running for us, he took the two-loop course in 2:01:33.

Volte friends that enjoyed the cold weather included Bert Blevins (1:12:45), Hafeiz Mat Jusoh (1:21:49) and Debbie Tripp (2:14:57).  Debbie is a part of  Galloway – The Woodlands training group which finished second to Volte with a strong showing at Texas10 Conroe.

And this is where Team Volte rides away

With the inaugural Texas 10 Series Ten-Gallon Club Cup championship and $1,000.

Dwyer shared the following in the Texas 10 Series’ post-Cup competition press release:

“To win the inaugural team award is very special to us.  Willie (Fowlkes) has put together a quality and fun Series of events.  The point system is set up so everyone participating counts equally making this extra special as everyone who participated in Huntsville, Katy and Conroe helped earn this.

“It was also fun with the other clubs in the mix and really not knowing how it would play out.”

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