Friday, April 15, 2022

Kramer Completes Junior Track Season at UIL 13-6A District Meet

The Woodlands College Park junior Chloe Kramer, the daughter of Volte athlete Mayra Caamano, completed her 2022 high school track season on Thursday night with a new personal best at the 3200-meter distance.

Competing in the UIL 13-6A district meet, Kramer posted her best time ever at the distance, finishing in 12:22.91 - a pace of 6:13 per mile.

Her previous best came a year ago at the Atascocita Invitational when she ran the distance in 12:32.60.

Two Saturdays ago, April 2, she competed with teammates Natalie Byrnes, Cambelle Sanders and Lindsey Jahnke in the Distance Medley Relay of their home meet, the College Park Invitational.  

The four finished in fourth place overall in 13:30.05 as they ran legs of 1200, 400, 800 and 1600 meters.

The week before, under the lights in the Victor Lopez Classic at Rice University on Thursday, March 26, Kramer had her top effort of season with a 3000-meter finishing time of 11:19.83 - a pace of 6:04 per mile.

She opened the season on Thursday, March 10 at the Atascocita Invitational with a 12:44.0 effort at the 3200-meter distance.

Kramer is the only high school track and field athlete of Volte parents.

Brayden Park, Maddie Hanyzewski and Brooke Kramer-Caamano are middle school athletes of Volte families, but online reporting of their results this season have been non-existent other than Park as he finished fifth place in the finals of the UIL 13-6A junior high district championship on Monday, March 23 in both the 3200 meters and the triple jump.

He covered the 3200 meters in 11:21 while finishing the triple jump in 34 feet and 4.75 inches.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Park, Rux Go 1-2 at TWRC Sunday Night 5K

We interrupt our regular order of results reporting to put a smile on your face this Saturday morning!

If this picture doesn't incorporate a bit of "foolishness", we're not sure what does!

No teeth were broken at the completion of the race!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Of course, our own Bill Dwyer does a great job - and has been doing so since the summer of 2009, but one of the things that he does is to give kids that come out and participate a medal to congratulate them and to encourage them to continue to run.

Jerritt Park and George Rux were the only two runners that came out the day after The Woodlands Marathon.  (The Sunday Night 5K is always on the first Sunday of every month.)

There was some joking among the Friends of the Running Community while these two gents were on the course that we could have some future fun by betting on the over/under of any two runners in a race.

Gauging how we thought they would run, we set the time difference at 11 minutes.

One chose above; the other below.

If the over/under is actually met, in Vegas, it is a push.  The house - betting establishment - wins as nobody gets their bet paid off.

And that's what exactly happened this Sunday night.

Jerritt came across the finish line in the Barbara Bush Elementary parking lot in 22:29.

And George, unbeknownst what had been discussed, finished right at 32:29.

Eleven minutes difference on the nose.

The next Sunday Night 5K is Sunday, April 3, 2022 at 6:00 p.m.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Volte Produces One Of Its Best Chevron Houston Marathon Days Ever

My oh my.

What a day it was at this year's Chevron Houston Marathon for Volte athletes and our friends.

Six new personal bests, two of which were debut marathons.

And count them, nine Boston Qualifiers.

That's nine out of 17.

You know what they say, quality over quantity.

And those of our marathoners who didn't BQ - not that it is everyone's goal - ran very well.

We do want to congratulate our Team Mexico visitors that we had a chance to meet the day before at Fleet Feet Sports in Hughes Landing.

They both finished first in their age group -- Rogers Ondati Gesabwa and Argentina Valdepenas Cerna - with fascinating times of 2:14:46 and 2:39:12, respectively.

Wow #1.  Ramon Rosales.  What more can you say about a 2:36:37 on a near perfect day for running?  

Well, honestly, a lot!

He took seven minutes and 42 seconds off of his previous best of 2:44:19 at last October's Boston Marathon.

Darn!  Ramon was outrunning the bikes en route to his 2:36:37!  ;-)
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Then consider this:  his first Chevron Houston Marathon was four years ago in 2018 when he ran it in 3:07:45.

He was fourth in his age group and in the top 100 men in this year's race.

Wow #2.  Lu Bouanga.  2:39 on the nose - 2:39:00 - in his debut marathon.

A Republic of Congo native, who lived in Gabon, Africa for 10 years before coming to the United States where he graduated from Westbury High School here in Houston, Lu ran collegiately for Allen Community College in Iola, Kansas and East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma.

Lu put a beatdown on the course for his 2:39 marathon debut!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

What's most crazy about Lu's marathon is that he started 10 minutes and 20 seconds behind the leader, stuck in the "B" corral.

Lots more good things to come from Lu.

Since Robert and Roger King started running with Volte, the majority of the time you see them they're not too much farther apart then they were at birth.

But the two brothers had different goals.

Robert's goal was to go full throttle all the way and he was rewarded with a sub-3, 2:59:57.  

In fact, he wasn't the last one to slip under three as Nele Lefeldt (Houston Harriers) and Eric Smith both timestamped their finish at 2:59:59.

In fact, there have been 22 finishes by a Robert King in the history of the Chevron Houston Marathon.

Most of them - 20, to be exact - have come from trailrunner - and good guy - Robert King in Porter, but our Robert King is the fastest of all-time.

Chris Branch completed his third Chevron Houston Marathon, including last year's virtual effort, in 3:13:58.

Running her sixth consecutive CHM, Devyn Cook posted yet another Boston Qualifier with a showing of 3:24:17 followed closely by Robert Cardnell, who finished his first certified marathon in 3:24:46.

Robert having a jolly good time - even at mile 23.5!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Jason Bodie debuted at Houston with a 3:31:10 and lowered his personal best in the process as he was down four minutes and 40 seconds from his Tunnel Light Marathon finish last September.

Meanwhile, Roger King sacrificed his race to help Jane Campbell not only set a new personal best in a huge way, but also qualified for Boston.

Jane Campbell got a Marine escort to her PR and BQ!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

They ran together in a time of 3:36:11 as Jane shaved 34 minutes and 11 seconds off of her previous marathon best from last September's Tunnel Light Marathon.

With her eighth career CHM finish, Shannon Truman also set a new personal best and qualified for Boston with a 3:39:36 that broke her previous marathon best of 3:47:24 from the 2010 CHM.

Yaya Herrera and Judith Albarran kept it within a minute of each other as Yaya finished her fourth Houston in 3:43:11, grabbing a Boston qualifier in the process, while Judith finished her sixth Houston, including last year's virtual, with a 3:43:44.

The only thing Yaya didn't ask anyone to hold was her beer at the end of the race!
She handed a water bottle to Nine Volte at mile 20 and gloves here at mile 24
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Consider that Judith's very first Houston Marathon was a 5:07:32 in 2014.  Wow.

After notching a 1:53:25 at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon two years ago, Kim White let that - and his training - be his guide to a sub-4 at Houston for the first time of his three CHM finishes.  

He did so with a time of 3:53:09.

Gourav Kumar finished his third career CHM with a time of 3:55:04 while Michelle McGill ran her 15th consecutive CHM - not including the 2021 virtual year, recording a time of 3:58:23 that gave her 10th sub-4 at Houston in the last 11 runnings.

And yet another Boston qualifier to boot for Michelle.

Julie Stevenson ran her seventh CHM - to go with four Aramco Houston Half Marathons - as she finished in 4:16:42 for her best Houston finish ever.

And Susan Rouse, the woman with the second most number of finishers ever at the Houston Marathon (37!) by a female, turned in a time of 4:34:48, carving off tons of minutes from the last two runnings.

We are so honored that Susan chose to run her 37th Chevron Houston Marathon as a Volte athlete!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Volte had 12 friends run the Chevron Houston Marathon.

The ladies were led by Erika Park.

When her pacing gig didn't pan out (not an official race pacing assignment), Erika ran her own race and dazzled with a 3:16:05.

Josh Rivas led the men with a 3:19:21 finish - his fastest of the 11 on the actual CHM course.  (Josh had run an official 3:16:21 virtual race in the 2021 pandemic year.)

Tabata Cooke sizzled in her debut CHM with a 3:23:59 while Terence Baptiste was next in line for the men with a 3:33:21 which now leaves him one marathon away from Legacy status at Houston.

Antonio Alvarado almost mirrored his 2020 CHM effort of 3:39:12 with a 3:39:30 while C. Stephenson-Lake threw down her fastest Houston Marathon of eight with a time of 3:41:42.

Debuting at Houston was Pamela Ebbs with a 3:49:19, followed closely by Urica Chevis' 3:50:26.

Perhaps the person that was excited as Amelie Dinh about her third place age group finish - other than her father who ran with her - was Volte founder Bill Dwyer.

Amelie is a 17-year-old young lady who finished in 4:21:41, but her father, Than, who is now 50, was a runner at Spring High School that Bill spent some time coaching in his formative years.

Who says that the gift of running doesn't stop giving?

And rounding out our friends' efforts were Patricia Hernandez with her 4:43:03 showing and Andy Brock's 17th Houston Marathon that he completed in 5:09:39.

PR:  Lo Bouanga (BQ), Robert Cardnell, Jane Campbell (BQ), Shannon Truman, Ramon Rosales (BQ), Jason Bodie

Additional BQs:  Chris Branch, Devyn Cook, Yaya Herrera, Robert King, Michelle McGill, Shannon Truman

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Volte Represents In First Major Events of 2022: We Are Houston 5K and Aramco Houston Half Marathon

The Chevron Houston Marathon and the Legacy Capital The Woodlands Marathon are the two biggest events for Volte on an annual basis.

The Boston Marathon, Tunnel Light Marathon and the BCS Marathon would be second tier events, but only in terms of the number of Volte athletes participating in them each year.

The hope of a great year of running always finds the Houston Marathon as its jumping off point.

For the last many years, Houston puts on the We Are Houston 5K the day before the main event.

This year, it was run on Saturday, January 15 and starts on the north side of Discovery Green in downtown Houston and finishes on the south side, just in front of the Americas Hilton.

Many will run it as part of the event's Houston Double, where you earn a second medal for running the 5K on Saturday and the marathon or half marathon the following day.

Erika Sampson led us with a time of 26:02 while 12-year-old Theodore Bodie wasn't too far behind in 26:40.

With bling on his mind, Mike Kuykendall took it easy, had fun and punched out a time of 35:50.

Our Jason Bodie's wife and daughter, Lea and Olivia, finished together in 48:49.

Volte friends also got in on the 5K action.

C. Stephenson-Lake, two weeks removed from her win at the Texas Marathon in Kingwood, put down a time of 22:36 to grab third place in her age group, while Sonia Dhoapkar and Urica Chevis posted times of 25:41 and 29:54, respectively.

While we've missed the Trejo family at Texas 10 Series races, it was good to see them in the results as Lusi took the household bragging rights with a time of 32:58 while Alvaro finished in 38:54.

Meanwhile, the Rivas family also had some running fun.  Kylie, 13, got third in her age group with a mark of 23:24, while Vicenta did great too, running it in 34:06.

In the Aramco Houston Half Marathon, we had 19 Volte athletes finish - with six personal bests - and 10 of our friends.

Slicing eight minutes and 30 seconds off his time at last year's The Woodlands Half Marathon was Paolo Biagi, who posted the fastest time of our bunch in 1:42:04.

Can't miss Paolo Biagi here running tall to lead Volte in the Aramco Houston Half Marathon
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

In close pursuit was Rob Gay, who bettered his Huntsville Half Marathon effort from a year ago by three minutes and 38 seconds with an effort of 1:42:46.

Erika Sampson and Lillian Evans were the next two to the finish line with times of 1:44:53 and 1:46:29, respectively.  

Lillian lowered his best time ever by 54 seconds from her Aramco Houston Half time from two years ago.

The personal best wave continued in a big way as Auggie Campbell lowered his Aramco Houston Half time from 2020 by five minutes and 42 seconds to 1:48:10.

Just under an hour and 50 minutes was Sandra Tezino's showing of 1:49:38, while Tammy Grado and Carlos Rodriguez were a shade over.

Tammy had her best half marathon effort ever with a time of 1:50:35 as she took down her previous best from The Woodlands Half Marathon in 2020 by a minute and 55 seconds, while Carlos had a mark of 1:50:44.

Pretty appropriate that two good friends - Michael Gayle and Scott Haney - stick kind of close together out on the course as Michael finished in 1:55:49 while Scott was not too far away in 1:57:56.

Stephanie Stevenson finished her second career Aramco Houston Half Marathon with a time of 2:00:04.

Bettering not only her personal best at the distance but also her previous time in the Aramco Half was Sue Griffis.

Nearly deciding not to run it the day before, after a great training cycle, Sue Griffis
proved that her efforts were worth it with a 2-minute, 38-second PR!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

With her 2:03:16, she dropped her time by two minutes and 38 seconds from the Run Girl Half Marathon in December 2012 - and shaved more than 28 minutes from her 2:31:46 time in the 2011 Aramco Houston Half Marathon.

Dan Jordan finished his fifth straight Aramco Houston Half Marathon with a 2:09:04 that was more than five minutes better off of his virtual Aramco Half effort with a year ago.

Double Legacy runner Rich Cooper added another half marathon finish to get him to 11 overall -- and 22 marathons or half marathons at Houston.

His time of 2:14:19 was his best at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon since 2015.

Also working her way to Legacy status is Sherry Cameron as she finished her eighth Aramco Houston Half and this year's time of 2:32:56 was the best of all of them.

She also finished the marathon at Houston in 2015 in 5:44:31.

Trudy Regnier ran her first Aramco Houston Half Marathon since 2008, finishing in 2:37:22.  She has run four Chevron Houston Marathons and three Aramco Half Marathons.

Completing her sixth Aramco Half in the last eight years was Naika Vargas, running the distance in 2:39:04, while Mike Kuykendall completed the Houston Double with a 2:55:34 half marathon performance.  That finish leaves Mike two away from becoming a Legacy Runner.

And Isaac Rodriguez had his third half marathon finish in the last four years with a time of 3:07:30.

Lots of our Volte friends also ran very well.

Rip Reynolds and Stoya Laydevant earned age group placements of second and first, respectively, with times of 1:29:19 and 1:34:11.

Stoya's parents, Meri and Pierre, finished in 1:48:52 and 2:10:03, giving the family 17 combined finishes at Houston since 2015.

Meri has run four marathons and three half marathons, while Pierre and Stoya have run five half marathons each.

Kahn Grice finished his 18th Houston event with a 1:42:04 half marathon to give him four 13.1-mile finishes to go along with 14 marathons.

Likewise, Sonia Dhodapkar has a lot of finishes as she polished off her seventh straight Aramco Half in 1:43:42, the last three all coming in the 1:43-minute.  She finished the marathon also in 2014 and 2015.

Former Rice Owl Erica Falcon ran her first Aramco Houston Half Marathon in 20 years as she recorded a time of 2:02:22.  Her 1994 cross country team was inducted into Rice's Athletics Hall of Fame earlier this year for winning the 1994 Southwest Conference cross country championship - the first for any women's program in Rice's history.

Alvaro and Lusi Trejo finished in 2:22:10 and 2:48:33, respectively, while Woodlands Fit's Mariela Rodriguez finished her second straight Aramco Houston Half Marathon with a time of 2:49:36.

Volte Ends 2021 With A Bang; Rolling Into 2022!

Nine Volte's had a busy first quarter of 2022.

Time to try - with some of the sheer craziness out of the way - and close the gaps on Volte's result recaps.

Volte kicked off 2022 in grand fashion with some of our good folks ringing in the New Year picking up a shiny new belt buckle from the Snowdrop Foundation.

Juan Murillo and Mimi Torrez both participated in the Snowdrop 55-Hour Ultra.

Juan covered 115.99 miles while Mimi called it a day - and a night - at 100.11 miles.

It was Juan's third Snowdrop finish.  He ran 109.77 miles in 2019 and 107.012 in 2020, making 2022 a personal best at the event.

He also has two 100-mile finishes at Brazos Bend in 2016 and 2021 and his all-time personal best is a 130-mile effort at the 48-hour Jackalope Jam race in Cat Spring in 2017.

Meanwhile, Mimi was completing her second Snowdrop to go with the first one that she finished in 2018.  

Mimi also ran the Yeti 100 Mile Challenge Virtual to close out the 2020 calendar year.

There was one race after the BCS Marathon and Half Marathon and that was the Run The Woodlands 5K on Christmas Day.

Volte founder Bill Dwyer and Jon Walk -- aka as Friends of the Running Community -- hosted the last race of the Series' 22nd year to give the Fleet Feet staff a day off -- or to keep it from being canceled.

Gourav Kumar ran it in 27:18 while Waverly Walk also covered the distance in 33:03, while Volte friends John Slate and Vincent Attanucci ran it in 25:28 and 36:51, respectively.

Starting with the final Texas Marathon and Half Marathon ever to be produced by original race directors Steve and Paula Boone on New Year's Day.

The couple has purchased property just outside of Woodville, Texas and will be working to clear and develop the land.

They will work in tandem with the Knights of Columbus, who will be taking the race over in 2023 and beyond.

Three of our Volte athletes ran the Half Marathon.

Sandra Tezino led the way in 1:56:42 while Waverly Walk and Sherry Cameron ran the 13.1 miles in 2:37:32 and 2:46:46, respectively.  Cameron ran much of the way with Volte friend and former Battling Blogger of the Texas Republic TIR runner Edwin Quarles.

Sandra Tezino is all smiles after finishing the Texas Half Marathon on New Year's Day
(Photo courtesy of Jon Walk)

Volte friend David Keithley of the Seven Hills Running Club also ran the half, doing so in 2:24:11.

C. Stephenson-Lake, another one of our Volte friends, won the Texas Marathon in 3:44:58.

After leaving the company that took over the Run Houston Race Series and the Bayou City Half Marathon Series, Ron Stitt went out on his own and started up HTX Events.

His first race was the Vintage Park New Year's Day Classic 5K and 10K, in the aforementioned location.

Erica Sampson was the first overall female masters runner with a winning 5K time of 22:58 while Jane Campbell wasn't too far behind, winning her age group in 24:07.

Erica Sampson comes into the finish to start off the year with an overall Masters' win.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Many of our longtime Strike Force Racing friends also ran the 5K.

Scott Mayer led this group with a second-place age group finishing mark of 22 minutes even.  

Greg and Gena Alvarez ran together, doing so in 29:04.

Stopping the clock at 33 minutes even was Lynn Flora while Dee Akers ended her race after 35:19.

Second overall in the Vintage Park New Year's Day Classic 1K was Evie Campbell, who registered a time of 5:11.

Rounding out the pre-Chevron Houston Marathon events were a good small group for the first The Woodlands Running Club Sunday Night 5Ks on Sunday, January 2.

Jerritt Park went unchallenged to pick up the overall win in 23:39 while Devyn Cook was the women's winner in 26:12.

Steven Sfeir beat Layton Gill to the finish line by 17 seconds in a time of 28:19 and George Rux brought all of our Voltes in 30:56.

The following weekend, George made his annual trip to Walt Disney World to run in their Series of races.

He started off Thursday with a leisurely 5K of 56:59, turned in a nice 10K time on Friday of 1:06:03 and then capped off his efforts with a 2:38:25 

That same Saturday, January 8, here in Houston, Volte friend Dr. John Slate of the Seven Hills Running Club won his age group at the Run Houston! Sam Houston Race Park 10K in 51:18.

Congratulations to all!

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Facebook Page Profile: Volte Friends Scott Mayer and Rip Reynolds - Sunday, March 13, 2022

A couple of our Volte friends who got captured in the lens of David Reynolds with Digital Knight Productions were Strike Force Racing's Scott Mayer and Fleet Feet Sports' Rip Reynolds.

Scott and his wife Tarrah go back to the Team Strive days, under the direction of Kim Hager (and involvement of our Bill Dwyer), and more recently, upon their return to The Woodlands a few years ago, Scott wears the triathlon kit of Gena and Greg Alvarez's Strike Force Racing.

It was just Scott's fourth time to run The Woodlands Half Marathon, while Tarrah had run it in 2012 and 2019.

He covered the course in 1:51:17.

Meanwhile, Reynolds is one of only eight runners who have run all 11 Houston Methodist The Woodlands Half Marathons.

He joins Kathy McWilliams, Camellia Jacks, Carlos Sepulveda, Edward Campos, Lyndon Yates, Rich Fredrich and Valerie Byers.

But what sets Rip apart is his level of consistency.

2012 - age 45 - 1:28:47
2013 - age 46 - 1:28:09
2014 - age 47 - 1:30:28
2015 - age 48 - 1:28:58
2016 - age 49 - 1:29:04
2017 - age 50 - 1:28:43
2018 - age 51 - 1:29:07
2019 - age 52 - 1:27:56
2020 - age 53 - 1:28:16
2021 - age 54 - 1:27:33
2022 - age 55 - 1:28:41

Just wow.

Scott Mayer, Strike Force Racing

Rip Reynolds, Fleet Feet Sports

Photos Courtesy of David Reynolds, Digital Knight Productions

Facebook Page Profile: Mayra Caamano - Saturday, March 12, 2022

Four Volte runners on Saturday finished their eighth individual event at The Woodlands Marathon.

Rob Myers and Susan Rouse had both already finished six half marathons and two marathons, but did not race this weekend.

Kim White ran the 5K last week in 22:12 and the half marathon on Saturday in 1:44:51 to give him four marathons, two half marathons and two 5Ks.

Naika Vargas finished the half marathon in 2:36:39 for her sixth half marathon to go with two marathons while Neven Krstulovic-Opara finished the marathon in 6:05:12 for his sixth marathon to go with two halves.

That leaves Mayra Caamano, who is seen in the picture below jockeying for position on The Waterway with Rachel Pettit-Scott (2366) and Kyle Evans (5190).

Caamano finished her fifth half marathon (2013, 2015, 2016, 2021 and 2022) to go with three marathons (2012, 2017 and 2018).

She recorded a time of 1:45:03 on Saturday.

Caamano has also participated in relays two of the remaining three years in the 11-year history of the event.

In the race's other warm start, 2014 (other than this past Saturday), Mayra was supposed to team up with Juliee Sparks to form Team Sparky Beasts, but a change was necessary and Erica (Cahill) Coleman stepped in, formed Volte 1 and the two meted out a 3:23:56 marathon -- good for fourth overall.

Two years ago in 2020, Caamano teamed up with Meredith Moss, Bonnie Scholz and Holly Benson - aka Volte Vamps 2 - as the group donned Superwoman outfits to finish second in their division in 3:12:38.

Photo courtesy of David Reynolds, Digital Knight Productions

Facebook Page Profile: Robert King - Friday, March 11, 2022

Over Volte's nearly 10 years as a group, we've had runners come to us by various means.

Another group was winding down its activities.

Recommendations from various individuals, clubs or entities, such as Fleet Feet, about our runners or coaches.

Runners moving to a new part of the greater Houston area or coming in from out of state.

They would see us during long runs, at the track or at races.

Or because a track is being resurfaced.

Two summers ago, in the throes of COVID-19, just when Volte was beginning to make its way back out to the track on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, Knox Junior High was having its track resurfaced.

That necessitated us to move to Irons Junior High.

Two brothers, twins actually, who had recently - before that - improved their health by dropping significant amounts of weight, had used the track there as their home base.

Roger and Robert King, who lived close by, just started to jump right in with our folks -- and when the time felt right, officially called themselves Volte.

Roger was the first to run in an event at The Woodlands Marathon, running the half - pre-Volte - in 2020 in 1:37:42.

After training with Volte, the two ran their debut marathon at The Woodlands Marathon last March with Roger finishing in 3:02:06 and Robert in 3:02:25. 

Robert, the only one of the two who was captured Saturday by Texas10Series official photographer David Reynolds of Digital Knight Productions, this year and last, would also run the 5K the Saturday before with his son. 

They would both go on to run Tunnel Light in September, Boston in October and Houston in January, with different goals in mind.

Robert (below) finished on Saturday in 1:30:10 while Roger posted a time of 1:38:22.

The two are registered to run the 126th running of the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 18.

Photo courtesy of David Reynolds, Digital Knight Productions

Facebook Page Profile: Mike Kuykendall - Thursday, March 10, 2022

Nothing is quite as joyous right now - other than family, of course - as a finish line for Mike Kuykendall and it certainly showed in this picture from Digital Knight Productions last Saturday at the end of The Woodlands Marathon 10K.

While it might seem like Texas 10 Series race photographer David Reynolds' camera is a bit more focused on Corpus Christi's Jennifer Valadez, there's a mix of excitement, relief and thoughts of a "job well done" in Mike as he comes to the finish line.

After reconstructive knee surgery in September 2020 and an acknowledged "nasty round w/ COVID" that interrupted his racing comeback that started right before Thanksgiving, Mike completed his third double in four years with age group placements in both 5K two Saturdays ago and 10K this past Saturday.

Mike has now completed 10 different races of The Woodlands Marathon, including six half marathons, three 5K's and a 10K.

He ran 29:08 in the cool temperatures in the 5K and then battled the toasty conditions Saturday with a mark of 1:04:08.

His first half marathon in The Woodlands event came in 2013.  He ran two more after his debut before he slipped under two hours - with a 1:57:58 - in 2018.

If there's one guy that is as grateful as anybody to be able to get out here and do what he loves, it's Mike!

Photo courtesy of David Reynolds, Digital Knight Productions

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Facebook Page Profile: Jerritt Park - Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Jerritt Park would likely take no offense to somebody saying that there wasn't a race that he didn't like.

So, for the second time in four years, he did two as part of The Woodlands Marathon event.

He is seen here this past Saturday starting the 10K to check off all of the distances that the event has to offer - for former college track and field and cross country athletes.  (A nice way to say that he wouldn't run the 2K, unless they put in on the track!)

Seriously, as we continue to share the work of official Texas 10 Series race photographer David Reynolds of Digital Knight Productions from Saturday's The Woodlands Marathon races, Jerritt is tied with Julie Stevenson as the Volte athlete with the most races as part of The Woodlands Marathon with 11.

He is also fifth on The Woodlands Marathon's list of total events, behind leader Kathy McWilliams, who has run every half marathon plus the 5K every year it has been offered on the Saturday prior for a total of 15.

And there were two years (2012 and 2014) that he didn't run any of the events that were offered.

Jerritt ran the marathon in 2013, the half marathon from 2015 to 2019, the 5K the last four years since it split to a separate weekend and the 10K in 2022.

Now about those races, how many do you think he'll do in 2022?  40?  45?  50?  

Only time will tell.

Photo courtesy of David Reynolds, Digital Knight Productions

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Facebook Page Profile: Judith Albarran - Monday, March 7, 2022

Air time here for one of the athletes within Volte - Judith Albarran - who has made the biggest improvement in their running over the last five years as we continue to feature the work from Saturday by official Texas 10 Series race photographer, David Reynolds of Digital Knight Productions.

Saturday was Judith's fifth event at The Woodlands Marathon.  

It was her fourth half marathon finish to go along with a 3:53:01 marathon here a year ago in 2021 that she swore would bring her back to the half distance forever at The Woodlands.

Her first half marathon at The Woodlands was in 2017 where she ran 2:01:04.  

Two years later in 2019, she lowered it to 1:52:13 and then followed in 2020 with a time of 1:50:59.

Saturday, she continued to make gains with a consistent 8:09 pace that rewarded her with a 1:46:48 finish in the 11th annual Houston Methodist The Woodlands Half Marathon.

Photo courtesy of David Reynolds, Digital Knight Productions

Facebook Page Profile: Jason Bodie - Tuesday, March 8, 2022

With fellow Volte athletes Kim White - behind him to his right (the viewer's left) - and Rob Gay (to his immediate right), Jason Bodie has a bit of a pensive look as he sets out on his debut race at a The Woodlands Marathon event.

We continue to feature from Saturday's race the work by official Texas 10 Series race photographer David Reynolds of Digital Knight Productions.

Bodie, who posted times of 3:35:49 (Tunnel Light, September 2021) and 3:31:10 (Houston Marathon, January 2022) in his first two marathons, is in maintenance / "stay in shape" mode, according to Volte founder Bill Dwyer, before he begins training in earnest for his fall marathons that he hopes will yield him a Boston Qualifier.

On Saturday, Jason ran 1:53:30 in the 11th annual Houston Methodist The Woodlands Half Marathon.

More good things to come for Bodie in 2022!

Photo courtesy of David Reynolds, Digital Knight Productions

Facebook Page Profile: Rob Gay - Sunday, March 6, 2022

Solid day in tough conditions at Saturday's 11th annual Legacy Capital The Woodlands Marathon, 11th annual Houston Methodist The Woodlands Half Marathon and Woodlands Marathon 10K.

We'll start to share some photographs from those taken by Digital Knight Productions (David Reynolds), who is the official photographer of the Texas 10 Series.

Rob Gay (below) heading to the finish line at the end of a 1:41:17 half marathon performance.

Photo courtesy of David Reynolds, Digital Knight Productions

Monday, March 7, 2022

The Woodlands Marathon - Volte Athletes With 5 Or More Individual Finishes


11 - Jerritt Park (5 HM, 4 5K, 1 MAR, 1 10K / 2 Doubles)
11 - Julie Stevenson (6 MAR, 3 HM, 2 5K / 2 Doubles)

10 - Mike Kuykendall (6 HM, 3 5K, 1 10K / 3 Doubles)

9 - Llana Bingham (8 HM, 1 10K)

8 - Kim White (4 MAR, 2 HM, 2 5K / 2 Doubles)
8 - Mayra Caamano (5 HM, 3 MAR)
8 - Naika Vargas (6 HM, 2 MAR)
8 - Neven Krstulovic-Opara (6 MAR, 2 HM)
8 - Rob Myers (6 HM, 2 MAR)
8 - Susan Rouse (6 HM, 2 MAR)

7 - Paul Vita (3 MAR, 4 HM)
7 - Tammy Grado (7 HM)
7 - Tim Russell (4 HM, 3 MAR)

6 - Criss Neumann (6 MAR)
6 - Dan Jordan (5 HM, 1 MAR)
6 - Debra Myers (5 HM, 1 10K)
6 - Michael Csikos (3 MAR, 3 HM)
6 - Paolo Biagi (2 MAR, 4 HM)
6 - Rich Cooper (6 HM)
6 - Sandra Tezino (5 HM, 1 MAR)

5 - Juan Murillo (2 MAR, 2 HM, 1 10K)
5 - Judith Albarran (4 HM, 1 MAR)

MARATHON RELAY was contested in the first nine years of the event, but annual relay team rosters have not been maintained nor their accuracy assured.  Therefore, they have not been included in these counts.

Thank you to all of our Voltes, alumni and friends who have supported our hometown event from its inception, whether you have run it or volunteered!

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

From Volte With Love, Running Into Valentine's Day

Despite freezing temperatures in the greater Houston area weekend on Saturday and Sunday, February 12-13, Volte athletes and our friends ran very well as many dial-in for The Woodlands Marathon and Half Marathon coming up in just under three weeks.

Officially joining our group a few weeks ago after training with us off and on the last few year, Angel Martinez Interiano won his age group in 20:02 at one of the largest, yet unknown 5K races in the city, the Steps For Students 5K, which raises monies for Catholic schools in the greater Houston area.

Last weekend, Lillian Evans was winning first place.

Saturday, at the Katy Half Marathon, she was holding her pace -- as the 2:05 pacer!

She said it was her first time to officially pace a race and "got the team across the line on time" with a finishing time of 2:05:29.

Meanwhile, our friends blew out the awards chest.

Volte alumni Kate Looney (Mach5 Racing) was the first overall woman in 1:31:38 while Volte friend Mark Amann was second overall in 1:19:47.  Rip Reynolds (Fleet Feet) was first in his age group in 1:33:48 while C. Stevenson-Lake was second in hers in 1:45:45.

Another Volte alum, Dave Odom, ran the Mesa Half Marathon in 1:54:47 the same morning, February 12, in Mesa, Arizona.

Paolo Biagi and Tammy Grado were there to run the marathon in respective times of 4:09:00 and 4:15:13, respectively.

Volte friend and Waco Miracle Match Marathon race director Nancy Goodnight ran the marathon, where she finished third in her age group in 3:24 -- good for a brand new personal best ... at the age of 55!

Nancy has finished every single Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas and this past year did Ironman on Saturday and Boston on Monday.

Former Volte coach Adrienne Langelier notched a time in Mesa of 3:27:29.

Volte friends Jon Walk and Ken Johnson ran the Spindle Tree parkrun 5K in Magnolia also in 33:39 and 48:04, respectively.

Then came the rescheduled Bridgeland races - the next to last race in the 2021-2022 Texas 10 Series - on Sunday, February 13.

With Erika Sampson and Jen Smith out to support Volte and our friends, a good day was had by all.

Christopher Reed and Stephanie Reed represented us in the 5K with times of 20:12 and 22:57, respectively, that were good for second and first.

The Reeds waiting pensively for the start of the 5K!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Volte friend Velvia Keithley of the Seven Hills Running Club came in at 1:05:22.

In the five-miler, Volte grabbed a pair of second place age group awards as Jane Campbell record a new personal best in 36:54 while Mike Kuykendall enjoyed a time of 50:57.

Good to see Mike back in blue as he put together a solid 5M performance on Sunday.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

"It was an epic five-mile race," he said.  "(My) fastest pace since knee surgery.  Only decided to run this one the day before and enjoyed hanging with my Volte teammates."

Volte friends Tiffany Langwell and Ken Johnson finished in 1:07:19 and 1:16:51, respectively.  Ken's time was good for third in his age group.

And in the 10-mile race, we had six Voltes and six friends toe the line.

Still leveraging his 2:39 marathon fitness from Houston a few weeks ago, Lu Bouanga won his second Texas 10 race ever with a time of 59:50.  He and women's winner Heather Oliva from San Antonio were misdirected and ran an extra kilometer.

Lu continues to run incredibly well, picking his second win of the 2021-2022 Texas 10 Series.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Bonus mileage is good - when it doesn't cost you the overall win!

Committing a day before and paying full price, Roger King paced Rob Gay for the second straight Texas 10 race as Roger's time of 1:12:07 earned him third place, while Rob was a second behind in 1:12:08.

Marines > Navy as Roger leads Rob through a 1:12 running of the 10-mile course.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Earning an age group placement in her 18th consecutive Texas 10 Series race dating back to 2013, Mayra Caamano won her division and got back under 1:16 for the first in six Texas 10 races with a time of 1:15:58.

Auggie Campbell and Kyley Hampton belted out a pair of new personal best times with marks of 1:19:28 and 1:24:23, respectively.

Big smiles into the finish for Auggie Campbell with a brand new 10-mile personal best.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

C. Stephenson Lake led our Volte friends with a second place age group finish of 1:16:24.  

Northside Running's Christina Gray and Erin Gowton finished close together in 1:32:01 and 1:32:45, respectively.  Erin took first in her age group.

Erin's husband, Jimmie, hustled to a time of 1:44:11 while Norman Langwell and Paul Roche stopped the clock in 1:47:36 and 1:49:02, respectively.

Ramon Rosales' 2nd Place, 100-Mile Finish at Rocky Raccoon Leads Volte into February

The first week of February in Volte, USA was light, but eventful.

Just three weeks after running a stellar 2:36 at the Chevron Houston Marathon, Ramon Rosales, with great support from his wife, two sons and pacers Luis Murillo and Francisco Garza, finished second overall at the Hoka One One Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile Trail race in Huntsville on Saturday, February 5.

Yes!  Ramon Rosales was second overall at 29th running of the Rocky Raccoon 100!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Ramon finished in 16 hours, five minutes and 11 seconds in his offical debut 100-miler.  (He had previously run 100 miles in a "Backyard Ultra"-like event previously.)

Early the next morning, Sunday, February 6, our runners did a pretty good job of making the "Big Easy" look easy at the New Orleans "Rock N Roll" Half Marathon.

Christopher Branch stopped the clock at 1:38-even, Kim White and Julie Stevenson ran together in 1:51:42 while Judith Albarran posted a time of 1:55:33.

Lillian Evans, in her second Terry Hershey parkrun 5K of the new year, was the first overall female in a time of 24:25 on Saturday, February 5.

Closer to home, and on that same morning, Waverly Walk ran the new Spindle Tree parkrun 5K in Magnolia, which is held on the Spindle Tree Jogging Trail, in a time of 31:47.

Volte friends Vincent Attanucci and Jon Walk completed the course in respective times of 30:55 and 32:51, respectively.

And in a sparsely attended The Woodlands Running Club Sunday Night 5K on Sunday, Febuary 6, Jane Campbell was the first overall finisher in 24:46.  Her husband Auggie finished in 27:28 while Volte friend
Ken Johnson
did so in 45:15.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Volte Caps Off January With Strong Hot Chocolate, ReRun Trail and College Station 10 Showings

While Nine Volte has a little catching up to do for last month, Volte probably put together its best January in the ten (since 2013) that the group has been formally organized.

The Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Half Marathon were certainly high-performance events for our group, but this past weekend Volte athletes kept the good times – in spirit and on the clock – rolling.

With a familiar voice bringing our runners to the finish line, Volte put its five runners in the top 76 of the 882-finisher Hot Chocolate 15K Houston Saturday, January 28 just outside of Sam Houston Park in downtown Houston.

Four of the five earned both an age group award and a new personal best at the unconventional race distance.

Christopher Reed was 18th overall to take third in his competitive 45-49 age group with a time of 1:06:54.

Seven minutes and 32 seconds in front of his closest competitor in his 60-64 division, Kim White smoked the course with a time of 1:12:01, good for 40th overall.

Even though Stephanie Reed was our only runner who got shut out of the age group award and personal best category, she was our top female finisher, good for 17th overall among all women in a time of 1:15:08.

She had great runners surrounding her in the overall listing – May Shek and Suzy Seeley a couple of spots in front of her and multisport athlete from Conroe, Nicole Mallette, and Mont Belvieu’s Rachel Lowell just following.

Third in her age group was Lillian Evans, who was all smiles coming into the finish with a time of 1:16:59, while Julie Stevenson was more than four and a half minutes better than second place in the ladies’ 55-59 age group as she stopped the clock in 1:18:07 – 24th of 595 females.

Sonia Dhodapkar and Kim Hamilton ran together to lead our Volte friends in 1:23:52 while Woodlands Fit’s Mariela Rodriguez finished nicely in a time of 1:45:11.

Strike Force Racing’s co-founder Gena Alvarez earned her first podium spot with a 28:02, third-place age group time in the Hot Chocolate 5K, while her husband, Greg, was right alongside step for step.

1,983 runners finished the 5K race.

Two of our mileage fiends – that same morning – decided that 15K wasn’t enough for them.

Therefore, they headed to Navasota for the ReRun 5x5 Trail Run.

Runners do a 5K at the top of each hour.

For five hours.

Jerritt Park, who has run virtually the last two years across Tennessee, New York and who knows for sure where else, took third overall in a combined time of 2:10:21.

His 5K times were 26:01, 25:10, 25:55, 28:11 and 26:57.

Meanwhile, Rob Gay took a more linear approach to his times.

They were 28:20, 28:16, 28:47, 29:15 and 29:14.

Knowing these two, there’s no doubt that there were good laughs to go with good running.

The following day, Sunday, January 30, we moved to the fifth race of the 2021-2022 Texas 10 Series in College Station.

Jane Campbell continues to run well, earning first place in her age group at the Aggieland 5K.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Our only runner in the 5K made it count as Jane Campbell won her age group in 23:56.

Our Volte friends from Huntsville were the only five-milers.

Dianna and Ray Sarno continued their couples run of the Texas 10 Series with identical times of 57:48.

Ray won his age group, while Ken Johnson grabbed second in his.

Ken covered the 5-miler in 1:13:46.

We were outnumbered by our friends in the 10-mile race, but our Volte athletes went four for four in age group placements.

Lu continues to leverage his great training from January's preparation for Houston.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Lu Bouanga followed up on his impressive 2:39 debut marathon at Houston with a first-place age group time – and PR – of 53:52.

He was third overall, just seven seconds out of second place.

No truth to the rumor that Roger King is going to start his own “Pace with the King” business as he spurred Rob Gay on to a 1:15:49 finish.

The faces of Rob Gay and Roger King tell the story of Texas 10 College Station.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Roger’s time was a second faster, good for second in the 40-44 division, while Rob was third in the 45-49 age group.

Not quite sure if Kyley Hampton shops at Wal-Mart, but her times in the 10-mile distance are falling faster than one of the world’s largest chain of retailers.

Kyley did beat Victor Maldonado to the line by a tenth of a second in her PR performance.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Hampton was second in her 30-34 age group with a personal best time of 1:24:28.

Our Volte friends did well too, including four age group awards.

Representing Fleet Feet, Rip Reynolds led the way with a first-place age group time of 1:10:08.

Nicole Green and Cristina Gray, who both run for Northside Running, each won third in their respective divisions with times of 1:22:41 and 1:35:26, respectively.

Seven Hills Running Club’s David Keithley posted a mark of 1:29:15.

James Griffis - a great athlete and a gentleman.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

James Griffis was second in his 65-69 age group in 1:32:46.

Erin and Jimmie Gowton, with their positive countenances, ran the two-loop course in 1:35:42 and 1:48:22.

And its great to continue to see Norman Langwell get back to running races consistently as he lodged a time of 1:48:30.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

The Road To Houston -- A Look Back: Volte Founder Bill Dwyer's 36-Year History of CHM Support

In 1987, a then record 2,849 runners crossed the finish line of the Houston Marathon.

The official recorded low temperature was 38 degrees and it never got warmer that day than 54 degrees.

While it was only the 15th Houston Marathon, it was - to that point - the fourth coldest on record.

Susan Rouse, who we profiled earlier today, was at the start ready to improve upon her debut time of 3:48:58 from the year before.

And whose marathon was it their first?

Our founder, coach and friend Bill Dwyer.

"It was 35 degrees and very windy," he said, much like it is going to be for Sunday's 50th running.  "I was bit by a dog on my calf the day before."

Bill Dwyer running the 1987 Houston Marathon
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

It was his third marathon as his first two marathons were the original rendition of The Woodlands Marathon.

"I ran 3:11:35, which was a 13-minute PR," Bill stated.  "Ultimately this would stand as my third fastest marathon with Dallas in 1988 and Houston in 1989 would be a little faster."

In the picture above, he said he's wearing the FM1960 Roadrunner's singlet, a Ten For Texas long sleeve cotton shirt and noted that it was his first time wearing tights for a race.

Nine Volte here.

As I started to write what you read above, and thinking about Susan's rich history with the race, I asked Bill a short while ago to document his history with the Houston Marathon.

He was gracious enough to do so.

This will be Bill's 36th year either running the race, volunteering or supporting runners - an incredible legacy of commitment to our community and what has turned out to become one of the top mid-major marathons in the world.

Here's his year-by-year history:

1987 - 3:11:35 First Houston
1988 - 3:21:35
1989 - 3:09:07 (3:08:54 on my watch...pre chip)
1990 - 3:30:47
1991 - 3:31:41
1992 - 4:03:13 
1993 - 3:49:37
1994 - 3:59:08
1995 - 4:13:12
1996 - 3:29:31 (good year)
1997 - 4:45:52 (ran with friend)
1998 - Support runners (my small group in Spring)
1999 - Support runners (my small group in Spring)
2000 - Support runners (my small group in Spring)
2001 - Support runners (my small group in Spring)
2002 - 4:37:55 Team In Training Official Marathon - but supporting along the way as the 4:30 TNT pacer
2003 - 5:32:49 Team In Training Official Marathon - but supporting along the way as the 5:30 TNT pacer
2004 - 6:09:00 Official Time Limit Pacer.  Stopped to help someone and ended up with marathon 14, but not recorded as official.
2005 - Support Team In Training
2006 - Support Team In Training
2007 - Support my small group (pre-Volte + Woodlands Fit + The Woodlands Running Club)
2008 - Support my small group (pre-Volte + Woodlands Fit + The Woodlands Running Club)
2009 - Support my small group (pre-Volte + Woodlands Fit + The Woodlands Running Club)
2010 - Support Strive Performance Coaching (Team Strive) + The Woodlands Running Club
2011 - Support Strive Performance Coaching (Team Strive) + The Woodlands Running Club
2012 - Volunteered at mile 13 Water Stop, where Dana-Sue Crews was the captain in support of Team In Training and the Bill Crews Remission Run 5K
2013 - Support Volte runners
2014 - Support Volte runners
2015 - Support Volte runners
2016 - Support Volte runners
2017 - Support Volte runners
2018 - Support Volte runners
2019 - Support Volte runners
2020 - Support Volte runners
2021 - Support Volte runners
2022 - Support Volte runners

Thanks Bill for all that you do for all of us! 

And if you're reading this and running tomorrow, run strong and run with endurance and do well!

The Road to Houston -- A Look Back: Volte's Susan Rouse Gets Ready for CHM #37 on Sunday!

Quality over quantity.

That's a saying we're sure you've heard a lot, but really it's true.

There's a lot to crow about when you're talking numbers, but nothing counts more than experience.

Volte's been blessed - taking nothing away from anybody else - to have coaches with the depth of years of experience like Bill Dwyer and Rich Cooper.

They're both "veterans" as defined by the Chevron Houston Marathon for their lengthy years of finishing the events, covering parts of five decades from 1987 to Rich's half marathon finish in 2020.

But what happens when the woman with the second most number of marathon finishes by a female at the Chevron Houston Marathon - count 'em, 36 - reaches out for a little help.  (Hint:  You help her!)

If you haven't met Susan Rouse yet, you need to.

Inspiration is a word that gets tossed around all too frequently, but what Susan has done - without a lot of fanfare and with a huge dose of humility - should be an encouragement to you.

Four Ironman finishes.

Comrades in 2010.

A marathon finish in all 50 states.

Her count of marathons and ultramarathons are well over 100.  (And those aren't "just" finishes.)

And the 2022 Houston Marathon will be her 37th Chevron Houston Marathon, with her first one coming in 1986.

That, folks, is a Houston Marathon finish in five different decades!  She's been running longer than some in our group have been on the Earth!

"I was asked earlier this year to coach a good friend, Susan Rouse, for the 2022 Chevron Houston Marathon." said Volte founder Bill Dwyer.  "So after the shock of someone who - in my opinion - knows the sport as well as anyone, I said, "Yes."  Training has gone well and Sunday is setting up nicely for a quality finish.

When someone all of us admire, like Dwyer, admires somebody, it's really a big deal.

"I have run many of the same events as Susan back in the 80's & 90's," he said.  "The Sunmart Trail Run sticks out in my memory as Susan seemed to always collect one of what we called "ponies" -- the Sunmart age group award, a statue of a running horse.

"It's an honor for me to be involved with such a class athlete."

Susan is all smiles coming into the the finish of the 2015 Houston Marathon!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Even though she ran sub-3:30 - 3:28:02 - at the age of 51 in 2010, Susan says her best marathons in Houston were in 1994 and 1995 when she ran them two seconds apart -- 3:23:51 and 3:23:53.  How's that for consistency?!

We asked her what her most memorable Houston's were.

"The year of the freeze (1997), twice as pace group leader, 3:30 & 3:40 and my 20th - 2003 - when I started splurging on staying downtown in a hotel," she said.

Therefore, she's been overstimulating the Houston economy for nearly 20 years now.

With the exception of 2004, she ran sub-4 all the way through and including the 2015 race, where things have gotten a bit more challenging, she says.

"The later ones with health and aging issues and -- hanging in when it's gotten tough!" Susan said.

As a five-decade runner at the Houston Marathon, she can testify that while there's been a lot of change it has grown and developed into one of running's jewels.

"The numbers started growing after the half was added (in 2000) and when Ryan Hall set the half record (2006), and generally because it’s a wonderful world class event," she said.  "My goodness I’ve been privileged to run so many amazing marathons, triathlons, and ultras but I’ve always thought Houston was the best!! That’s not changed! The crowds (hoopla), the GRB, seeing friends I know, great course, Expo & post race party."

While we're pulling for all 40 or our runners in either the marathon or half marathon, this is the first one that we'll be able to cheer Susan on - and her husband Dan Jordan - as a teammate.

Susan's History at Houston
36-year Legacy Runner

1986 - 3:48:58
1987 - 3:30:04
1988 - 3:47:24
1989 - 3:25:05
1990 - 3:31:34
1991 - 3:30:00
1992 - 3:27:47
1993 - 3:37:37
1994 - 3:23:36
1995 - 3:23:51
1996 - 3:23:53
1997 - 3:40:04
1998 - 3:31:02
1999 - 3:30:46
2000 - 3:31:32
2001 - 3:30:56
2002 - 3:34:43
2003 - 3:36:48
2004 - 4:15:20
2005 - 3:35:38
2006 - 3:24:48
2007 - 3:39:59
2008 - 3:43:28
2009 - 3:27:18
2010 - 3:28:02
2011 - 3:42:01
2012 - 3:35:05
2013 - 3:53:13
2014 - 3:44:13
2015 - 3:49:41
2016 - 4:02:10
2017 - 4:27:14
2018 - 4:25:31
2019 - 4:28:51
2020 - 4:43:44
2021 - 5:15:11  Covid Virtual Year

Friday, January 14, 2022

The Road To Houston -- A Look Back: Rich Cooper and the 1998 Houston Marathon

By Rich Cooper

It’s hard to believe this year will be the 22nd time I have participated in Houston Marathon weekend, where some of the most memorable marathons in the early part of my adult running career were completed at.  
Following the epic adventure of the 1997 Ice Marathon, I was fully immersed back into running. I couldn’t stop talking about it. 

My training also went up a notch as I now wanted to reach some ambitious goals.  
I was running and racing a lot. 

The impact of finishing Houston in the previous year also boosted my confidence in everything I did.  
As I mentioned earlier, running changed my life. 

In the summer of 1997, I met my future wife Ginger.  How she put up with me at the time I’ll never know because all I did was talk about running and working out.  
The 1998 Houston Marathon is my second most memorable race. 

I put everything into training. 

I decided to train again with Houston Fit only this time I would start my career in coaching as I signed on to be an assistant coach to the Yellow Group.  
This marathon would turn out to be a totally different story then the year before. 

The weather was decent. I had a goal of running a sub four-hour marathon. 

Little did I know something terrible would change my running forever.  
It was a really nice day. I had done everything right in the week leading up to the race.

When the gun went off, I stuck to my planned pace and I was feeling really good. 
All of us at different stages in our career have experienced the feeling of being in “THE ZONE” and on this day I was living in it! 

Today was going to be the day!  
The crowds were amazing. The one area on the course which stood out the most was in Rice Village. The crowds were at least two deep, there was music and the people were going nuts! 

My girlfriend Ginger lived in Rice Village so she was waiting for me. 

I gave her some excess clothing and took off on my quest.  
I was having a really good race. 

At the halfway point everything was progressing perfectly.  
Then it happened.  

Rich Cooper at one of the early City of Conroe Turkey Trot 5K's
(Photo courtesy of Jon Walk)

I had just turned onto Wesleyan when, while running in the center of the road, my right foot struck an uneven part of the road and “POP!” 

My foot violently turned out. I stopped and started walking, cursing my bad luck. 

The pain was terrible.  
An aid station worker ran up to me and asked me if I was okay, I promptly told her in a not so nice way to get away from me.  
I was devastated, but I decided I would keep going, hoping the pain would eventually go away. It did not.  
I kept going running and walking. 

When Ginger saw me at mile 18, she knew immediately something was wrong. (I was at least 20 minutes late). 

I told her I had sprained my ankle, but I was going to keep going.  
The rest of the way was all a blur, but I was determined to finish, and I finally crossed the finish line in 4:22:44. I did it. And I had improved my time from the previous year. 

I could barely walk, and I was escorted to the medical section for evaluation.  
When the doctor removed my shoe, he looked at me and asked me where I had hurt my foot?   

I replied, “At mile 14.”  
He said, “You ran on this for 12 miles?”

I replied, “Yes.”  
He just shook his head and said, “You runners are a crazy bunch.  You may have fractured your ankle.” 

I was stunned.  
The next day I went to the doctor and was told I had a severe high ankle sprain. 

He told me it would take at least four months to be able to start running again.  
When I think back to that moment on Wesleyan, I should have stopped right there but, runners can be a stubborn bunch. 

After that day, my running gait was never the same.  
The lesson I learned from that day is there is no shame in dropping out of race when you're hurt. 

A long time ago, a coach told me the hardest thing for a runner to do is not to finish a marathon, but to not finish one. 

I should have DNF’d that day.  
Still, the fact I ran 12 miles on a bad ankle is something I’ll never forget. 

To this day it fuels me as a coach to advise my runners to think before they do something that may change their running going forward.  
It was a great day, painful but great. I’ll never forget it.