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

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