The big race in Austin last week was the Decker Challenge Half Marathon. This was the third race in the Austin Runner Club’s Distance Challenge and was held on the traditional course around Lake Decker. The weather was nicely cool for running, but a bit damp and windy. Nearly 800 runners completed the hilly course. Former UT runner and recent graduate Mark Pinales took the lead from the start and was unchallenged, running even 5:12 splits en route to a fine 1:08 finish. Mark also won the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in San Antonio the previous weekend in 1:05. Matt Hiller and Michael Rusnaczyk were second and third, finishing at about 1:16, just 40 seconds ahead of women’s winner, Allison Macsas. Macsas dominated the women’s field, finishing more than 10 minutes ahead of Jenn Harney and Desiree Berry. Jamie Cleveland and Nancy Nicols were the masters winners.
Trail runners looking for a fast ultramarathon course were at Brazos Bend State Park for the 100 mile, 50 mile, marathon, and half marathon events put on by Trail Racing Over Texas. These trails have been described as “Town Lake Trail plus aligators,” so very fast compared to ultra courses like Bandera 100K. With good weather this year the times were crazy fast.
Caroline Boller was the fastest overall for the 50 mile course with a time of 5:48. That’s 6:48 pace for 50 miles, a world record for women’s trail running and the third fastest American time at 50 miles on any surface. This is, obviously, a new course record for women and is faster than the men’s course record by 9 seconds. Michael Daigeaun was the men’s winner in 5:51.
The overall winner of the 100 mile race was Maggie Guterl, in a time of 14:47 (8:52 pace!). Maggie was on pace to break the American trail record as well, but faded slightly towards the end, putting her time at third on the US record list. Ryan Loehding was the men’s winner in 15:07, with Georgetown resident Dana Munari 5th in 16:56.
I’m intrigued by the news from Nike on a project targeting a sub-2 hour marathon. The current record is 2:02:57. Nike has recruited 3 elite marathoners and will control the maximum number of variables in order to hit the sub-2 goal. All of the marathon world records to date have been in races where pacers might be allowed, but the winner is on his own, competing with other racers, at the end. I wonder how this effort will utilize pacers. To me, it would be tarnished if the sub-2 runner was tucked in behind a pacer for 26.2 miles…
The race I’m focused on this weekend is the Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships, Saturday afternoon at the Statesman parking lot. Last year both men’s and women’s world records were broken at this event. It’s a great time for spectators and racers, with multiple events, beer, and food trucks.