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Bandera Trail Runs
Hill Country SNA
Bandera, TX
January 13, 2007

Report by Joe Prusaitis (RD)

A record field of runners were here to do battle with the rocks and the hills, but the elements trumped everything else this weekend. 357 runners spread across the 100km (107), the 50km (91), andthe 25km (159). with only 71 runners finishing in the 100km, 82 in the 50km, 152 in the 25km, and another 26 who fell from the 100km into the 50km.

The course was designed to be as brutal as possible but the weather added an additional level of complexity to the equation. It had rained all night Friday and saturated the trails so that even from the start, it was tough going. We had rain, fog, and humidity, followed by a cold blast that preceded an icy cold front that was only a day back and on its way. Each time I thought the weather was backing off, it would start raining hard again.

Even with all the speed and talent on the course today, no new records were set. The 25km saw James Bales finish 1st in 1:56, followed by Jamie Cleveland 2:03, and Kent Snead 2:05. The Women's 25km was
taken by Canadian Tereza Macel in 2:29, followed by Andrea Fisher 2:33, and Shelley Egli 2:38.

The 50km was also hard fought, with Paul Terranova leading from gun til done in 4:11, followed by John Paladino in 4:43, and Paul Schoenlaub 4:57. The women's 50km was taken by Jean Herbert in 5:27, followed by Tracy Holland in 5:29, and Marissa Toland 5:39.

The 100km was a meat grinder that wore each and all down eventually. Watching the top 2 or 3 battle it out through the mud and the rain was something to watch. Ken Gordon led from the start with Scott Eppelman tracking him all the way, with only minutes separating them throughout. I had no idea who was going to come down off the last set of hills and finish in the dark, until Ken Gordon did finally arrive, silently stepping in out of the darkness into the light at the timers tent with a 10:58:38. Scott Eppelman came in as quietly soon after in 11:16, followed by Peter Vrolijk 11:57. The women's 100km evolved much the same way with Melanie Fryar finishing 1st in 12:42:55, followed by Bridget Herrejon-Delarosa in 14:00, and Melissa Heggen 14:22.

As much as I applaud the runners for suffering through the night to finish this nasty beast, my warmest thoughts were for all the volunteers who remained out there as well throughout. The 31mi loop course has
5 aid stations that remained open and fully staffed. All of them were ready and anxious to help one and all. The finish line timers never slept, the cooks kept cooking, and the equestrians kept riding the course looking for more than a few people who abandoned the race and left for their beds without nary a word to our race staff. Glow stick hangers ran through the rain, course management made certain the course remained marked. As many tears were shed by the volunteers at the finish line as were by the runners who finished, amazing themselves and us as well.

The mud and the rain, the muck and the cold, no more than fine seasoning on our wonderful weekend in the Hill Country of Central Texas. This was our 5th party in 5 years and the stories just seem to get better
and better each year. The regulars who miss the event typically send letters of apology. Bandera has quietly and quickly become a very tight knit family that expands each time another new runner comes down to run with us. Or, more exactly, maybe I should say, comes down to play!

joe prusaitis


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