Sunday, April 4, 2021

Volte Salutes Its Volunteers and Marathoners at 10th Annual The Woodlands Marathon

Sixteen finishers.  Six PR’s.  Five BQ’s.  Two debuts.

Another good year for Volte at the tenth running of The Woodlands Marathon.

We are grateful that we all got to run The Woodlands and that the timing was such that we did not have an interruption in one of our favorite races annually.

A sage friend of ours, Jim Braden, from right here in The Woodlands, once said, “We’re all equal if we’re doing our best.”

We could not agree more, regardless of when any of our runners crossed the finish line.

And, of course, our athletes – as well as the other almost 4,000 finishers – benefitted from some of the volunteer efforts of our team.

They included Anita Register, coach Layton Gill, Ramon Rosales and Jimmy Baker and our founder Bill Dwyer, who headed up another great finish line experience for all athletes.

It was Dwyer's 10th year heading up the finish line and was joined by Barry Blanton and Roxanne Davis -- two of the community's elite volunteer leaders.

The former three made sure runners coming onto The Woodlands Waterway for their last couple of tenths of a mile got directed where they needed to go.

And out on the course, Deb Myers and Juan Flores led the Volte cheer squad to support our runners to a great day in The Woodlands Township.

Matthew 20:16 says “So the last shall be first, and the first last; for many be called, but few chosen.”

Let’s put it this way:  the last two people that would bring attention to themselves – twin brothers Roger and Robert King – were our first across the marathon finish line.

The tattoo is the only way to separate Roger King (499) from Robert (498)!
Either way, they're going to Boston after their debut at the marathon distance.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

A couple of Marines, if you have ever watched them run together, you’d swear they are still running in formation from the Corps.

It was their debut marathon and they made a splash in a big way.

Roger finished first in 3:02:06, while Robert was just seconds behind in 3:02:25.

Debut.  PR (obviously).  And BQs to boot.

The 39-year-old’s preparations were as disciplined as their service to our country.

Meanwhile, Juan Murillo’s road to a PR and a BQ was a bit different.

Juan Murillo is prepared - even more than the Marines - like a trail runner, but the big trail in his future is the one from Hopkinton to Boylston Street
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

The longer distance expert of the Murillo brothers, part of Juan’s buildup – well, just actually a bit of a healthy dose of regular mileage – included a hilly 54K at Running of the Rose in Tyler State Park in late January.

You think high mileage over time does not pay off?

Juan ran the 2013 The Woodlands Marathon in 3:44:53.  

He started to reveal where he could be three years ago in The Woodlands Half Marathon with a 1:44:13 followed up last year with a 1:34-even.

This year, he punched his ticket to Boston with a personal best time of 3:14:17.

With her third consecutive Boston Qualifier, Devyn Cook, 25, led all of our Volte females with a time of 3:16:56 that was just one spot off of the podium.

Three in a row now are the BQs for Devyn Cook
Here's she focused on the finish a quarter of a mile away!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Last year, Cook got her first BQ at the Chevron Houston Marathon with a 3:19:21 finish in her fifth attempt on the streets of the city of Houston.  Her second – and her PR to date – was at last year’s The Woodlands Marathon in 3:13:09.

After running the half at The Woodlands the last two years, Christopher Branch, 45, decided it was time to dial the marathon up here.

Going through the front half almost two minutes faster than his half marathon finishing time in 2020, he dialed it back some to still punch across the line with an impressive 3:32:12 showing.

“Sunshine” Mike Csikos finished his third The Woodlands Marathon with, of course, a smile.

One of the more thankful men that you'll ever meet, Mike Csikos has his priorities in the right directions - besides towards the finish line.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

A guy with one of the most pleasant dispositions you’ll ever come across, the 51-year-old covered the distance in 3:39:20.

After having so many marathons cancelled or called off at the last minute (aka BCS), Judith Albarran, 40, decided to give The Woodlands Marathon a go – even though her progression had come along in the half here.

In 2017, she finished in 2:01:04 and then further drove her half marathon times the last two years to 1:52:13 and 1:50:59, respectively.

And even though she PR’d with a 3:53:04, she had this to say about the day:

“Tough marathon in my opinion.  First time and last time,” she said.  “I’m sticking to the half at The Woodlands.  Personally I hate loops and it was a bit warm in the end.

“I was able to PR, not easy with cramps on calves and toes.”

In her sixth attempt at The Woodlands Marathon (in addition to a pair of half marathon finishes), Julie Stevenson was not only second in her 55-59 age group, but her 3:56:50 is sending her to the Boston Marathon.

Her times at The Woodlands event look like this:

2012 – 4:51:29 marathon (48)
2013 – 2:12:37 half marathon (49)
2014 – 5:09:26 marathon (50)
2016 – 4:20:45 marathon (52)
2018 – 4:24:03 marathon (54)
2019 – 1:59:32 half marathon (55)
2020 – 4:12:13 marathon (56)
2021 – 3:56:50 marathon (57)

Didn’t we see these guys – Tim Russell and Rob Gay – a few weeks ago at Rocky Raccoon?

Gay, 44, tuned up for the marathon with a half marathon at Rocky Raccoon while Russell did the 50K.

Russell, 50, finished his third The Woodlands Marathon in 4:15:53 after finishes in 2013 and 2015.  (He had four The Woodlands Half Marathons to boot.)  Rob was not too far behind in 4:22:17.

With his fourth The Woodlands Marathon in five years, 60-year-old Kim White finished in 4:24:10.

Faith Craig, 39, finished her third The Woodlands Marathon – alternating every other year back to 2017 – in 4:58:53.

It's now April and Andrew DeSimone still has that finisher's grin from his second career marathon finish.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Brittany Haddad, Mack Miller and Andrew DeSimone were all finishing their first The Woodlands Marathons this year.  

Haddad, 30, led the trio in with a time of 5:17:33.  Miller, 52, followed with a mark of 5:26:08 while DeSimone, 44, stopped the clock in 5:36:21.

With her third The Woodlands Marathon finish, Amada Becker, 35, completed our Volte athletes across the finish line in a time of 6:05:32.

Five of our Volte friends also finished this year’s marathon.  

They included:  Josh Rivas – 3:15:57, Terence Baptiste – 3:23:26, Jonathan Weishuhn – 3:29:52, Alejandro Bedoya – 4:05:52 and Thomas Thomson – 4:08:46.

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