The Interval, 9/27/17

David Fuentes racing in the NACAC Mountain Running Championships. Photo courtesy of Richard Bolt.

David Fuentes of Austin was a member of the USA team competing this past weekend in the NACAC Mountain Running Championships in Golden, BC.  The men’s team won gold and the women’s took silver on the fast 10.5K course.   I emailed with David about the race:

Armadillo Running:  How many times now have you been on a US team?  What was it like being part of the Gold medal winning team?

David Fuentes:  This is my second time being on the USA Team. I was on the World Mountain Running Team in 2016 when our team won Gold in Bulgaria, and this team for NACAC Mountain Championships. Anytime you are on a gold medal-winning team it is pretty sweet, and to bring gold home for both teams is great, but Bulgaria was a bigger stage and had 20-30 international teams we were competing against. NACAC was a strong field and a hard-fought race, but it’s usually just four teams (USA, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean)

AR:  It sounded like the top 5 runners were all close together until late in the race.  How did it play out?

David Fuentes:  The first 2 miles had one short climb and we were all together around there. Once we got into the woods, that’s where the pace really started to get pushed. Our USA guy led through the entire forest section, Canada was in 2nd, then myself, my teammate, and then the eventual winner Juan Carlos from Mexico. After 5K I jumped into second place as we came out of the woods onto this long downhill section. I got a short side cramp on that section which would make my pace slow a bit and a small gap opened between myself and the top four. I tried to regroup but we only had about a mile left and the pace was getting quicker.

I held on as all four of the front guys battled it out. Juan Carlos was putting in small surges in front of our USA guys and eventually held the lead. We went second (Mike Popejoy), third (Josh Eberly), and fifth (Fuentes), and easily secured the win.

AR:  The NACAC race was part of a big weekend of trail races in Golden, British Columbia.  What did you think of the venue?  Should Austin trail runners think about a trip next summer?

David Fuentes:  The entire Golden Ultra Trail series was pretty awesome. They did a great job of putting together a multi-day race, in such a beautiful venue. I think it would be pretty cool to have a big group head out there for the weekend to take part in the race.

Check this article from the World Mountain Running Association for race coverage.  This site has more information on the Golden Ultra.

Congratulations and thanks to David!

Closer to home, we had a couple of Sunday 5K’s on the schedule as the Fall road racing season gets rolling.  I’ll start with the Komen Race for the Cure, the annual 5K that supports breast cancer research.  The course starts and finishes on the Congress Avenue bridge and runners go uphill on Congress, circle the Capitol, then race back down Congress to the finish.

Over 200 people ran in the timed race, including an amazing 28 cancer survivors.  The women’s winner was Sarah Bell in 20:55.  Andrew Murphy won the men’s race in 18:24.

Full results are here.

The 35th Annual Schlotsky’s Bun Run was also on Sunday, on a course in the Domain.  This race was bigger, with over 500 finishers, and fast.  The top 6 men’s finishers were all under 6 minute pace and the top 3 women were under 7 minute pace.  For the third straight year Mark Pinales was the men’s winner, in 15:47.  Masters phenom Kevin Kimbell was second in 16:44, just a second ahead of 15-year old Nima Ashtari.

Laura Mitchell won the women’s race in 20:40.  Emily Durell was second in 21:20 and Jordan Bucher third in 21:28.  Laura, who I recently interviewed after her excellent performance in the Austin Mile Challenge, said of the race:  “Always fun to race Schlotzky’s Bun Run. It’s an Austin runner’s tradition. It was a humid one, so I was really happy to get a win. My summer training plan is paying off!  I’m feeling like I’m going through a bit of a Renaissance.”

Full results are here.

Racing News

The big event this weekend was the Berlin Marathon.  I know a few of my friends were up at 2am on Sunday to watch the live stream, hoping to see a new world record.  It was unfortunate, a rare bad weather day for this great race.  Rainy and humid conditions slowed the elite field and contributed to 2 of the 3 record contenders dropping out after 20 miles.  Eliud Kipchoge won, as expected by many, in 2:03:32, just 35 seconds behind the record.  The women’s winner was Gladys Cherono in 2:20.  Race coverage by Let’s Run.  I liked watching the last mile of the race and listening to the very Britty announcer.

My Austin pals in the race did well.  Farshid Parandian finished in 3:28, a bit hampered by the humidity.  Matt Mara ran an excellent 2:51, an example of the rarely seen negative-split marathon.

I write something like this almost every week:  Kilian Jornet raced again this weekend, won, and set a course record.  This race was the Marató Pirineu in Bagà, Spain, and was 28 miles with 7900 feet of elevation gain.  Kilian won in 3:44, coverage by iRunFar.

Interesting Articles

Darcy Piceu, second place finisher in the Hardrock 100 in July, has set a new women’s Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.  This was a supported FKT, with Piceu receiving aid and supplies from her crew at various points on the course from Mt. Whitney to Yosemite Valley.  Her time of 3 days, 4 hours, 12 minutes is 18 minutes faster than the previous record held by Leor Pantilat.  Coverage by Trail Runner.

Incredible article and video from REI by and about Mirna Valerio, a trail runner, teacher, and coach from Georgia.  I watched and was, in turns, inspired by her effort and attitude and depressed by the hateful, ignorant people that she has to endure.

Another cool article from REI on pacing an ultrarunner.  I need to write about this subject, maybe some interviews of pacers.  Email me if you have a candidate.

I liked this video clip from a cross country race.  (H/T to Andy Bitner)

Strava just published this incredible photo essay on UTMB.  Check it out NOW.

Andy Jones-Wilkins of IRunFar wrote a nice article on the key attributes of the best aid stations in ultras.  He missed one factor:  familiar faces.  I was hurting in the last miles of Sky Islands and it cheered me up to see Amy Baker, Joe Whinery, Katie and Scott Towle at the last aid.

Upcoming Races

This Sunday is the Aquathlon National Championships, this year at Pure Austin.  My friend Matt Hanlon will be racing.

Trail runners are back at it this weekend, with the Tejas Trails J&J Race and Trail Running Reunion.  This event is a tribute to Joyce and Joe Prusaitis, the founders, now retired, of Tejas Trails.  Runners will choose between 5 distances from 10K to 100K, all on the trails at Camp Eagle, near Kerrville.  My friend Jimmy McWilliams is running the 50 miler.

A couple of my Trail Roots pals are heading to Utah and Idaho for the Bear 100.  100 miles and 22,000 feet of climbing for Anthony Jacobs and Fred Riethmiller, good luck…

The weekend after next will have the first race, the Run Free Texas 8K, in the annual Distance Challenge from the Austin Runners Club.