2012 USA 100km Trail Championships
Bandera, TX
7 Jan 2012

The annual winter gathering of the trail running tribes continues to grow each year to all new attendance levels. With the 2012 USA 100km Trail Championships offering accolades and cash, and the Montrail Ultra Cup offering points and Western States entries, Bandera attracted a quality list of entrants and quite a few others as well. Three separate races for 100km, 50km, and 25km all on the same course totaled 754 starters.

The 100km is a twice repeated 50km loop over some of the most rugged terrain in this country. T'was a near perfect morning at 7:30am when 215 100km runners took to the trails and quickly broke into packs. The first loop was uneventful except for the overall speed. A pack of 10 completed the first 50km split faster than the winning 50km winner: all under 4:04. Timothy Olsen led the pack and never lost hold, staying constant, rolling in for a very respectable 8:28:40 to win the men's 2012 USA 100km Trail Champion. Dave Mackey, Joe Uhan, and Dylan Bowman battled throughout for the next 3 positions, changing places a few times, and finishing in that order. Dave Mackey 8:38:30, Joe Uhan 8:38:55, Dylan Bowman 8:40:07, and then Nick Clark 8:57:06 for 5th.

The Women's 100km had a stellar field of competitors as well, with the reigning champ, Liza Howard leading from the start. She was passed on the 2nd loop by Cassie Scallon, who held on to become women's 2012 USA 100km Trail Champion in 9:40:20. Liza Howard took 2nd in 9:56:30, with Pam Smith 3rd in 10:04:51. 154 of the 215 100km starters finished the 100km for a 72% finish rate.

The 50km started 214 with 204 finishing (95%), and then adding another 56 who DNFed from the 100km. David Brown 4:04:56 won the 50km men's title, with Jason Brooks 4:16:12 2nd, and Sean Meissner 3rd in 4:19:14. Melanie Fryar 4:24:47 reset the course record and won the women's 50km title, with a couple of Albuquerque ladies, Jean Herbert 5:00:20 and Molly Roberts 5:25:49 rounding out 2nd and 3rd.

The 25km sported the largest field with 325 starters and 317 finishers for a 98% finish rate. The city of Austin took the top 3 spots in both the men's and women's fields, with all three men under two hours: Erik Stanley 1:39:08, Jody Broccoli-Hickey 1:59:05, and Jamie Cleveland 1:59:24. The 25km course records have been hard to beat because this course has become increasingly more difficult each year. So it was a welcome surprise to see Sara Hickey 2:12:20 knock it down after it stood for 9 years. The next two women, Andrea Fisher 2:21:00 and Julie Cattell 2:29:53 also ran great times to finish 2nd and 3rd.

As the day ran down and the 25km runners went home, followed by the 50km runners soon after, we settled into a long night. The Comanche Moon delighted us with a lunar halo and brightened the trails for the runners who continued all night and into the morning. The course profile at Bandera might suggest something much easier, but it is known locally for its nasty ruggedness and fantastic panoramic views. The late night crowd celebrate sunset from the Sisters or Lucky Peak, and a rare few get to see a 2nd sunrise. While many of the elites have come and gone, Deborah Sexton, Jeffrey Linwood, and Shannon Mitchel battled each other for the illustrious DFL award, with Shannon taking the honor for her first 100km finish. We celebrated her finish about as much as we did the first finisher. It was all good.