In the remote, rugged, and beautiful setting of Camp Eagle in Rocksprings, the USA 50 Mile Trail Championships hosted by the Nueces Trail Run took place on March 3. The course was a rugged and rolling three loop route with plentiful amounts of rocks. The runners joked that the number of rocks on the course seems to multiply every year and speculate that race director Joe Prusaitis imports rocks to the camp and throws them onto the trails.
With a $3000 prize purse up for grabs, the runners came ready to race. In the men's race, the 2011 USA 100 Mile champion David James (Phoenix, AZ) took an early lead. He was followed by a chase pack of six talented runners. Twenty-four year-old Jordan McDougal from Gainesville, VA broke away from the pack around mile 10 and caught James near the end of the second lap of the race. From there, McDougal extended his lead over his competitors, finishing in a time of 6 hours, 30 minutes, 47 seconds. James was national runner-up in 6:43:48, while perennial USA Championship competitor Jason Bryant (Elkin, NC) rounded out the top three in 6:47:53. The top Masters runner (40 and older) was Dan Vega, 44, from Colorado Springs, in 7:13:14 ($200).
After the race, McDougal commented on how much he enjoyed the course and attested to its difficulty, especially as the sun warmed the air in the last lap. McDougal was seen cooling himself during the race in the low water crossings, even getting down and rolling in a small muddy stream at one point.
In the women's race, Michelle Suszek (Lone Tree, CO) and Melanie Fryar (Englewood, CO) ran together for the majority of the race before Suszek, 29, a member of the 2011 USA Mountain Running Team and competitor at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, broke away in the third lap to run 7:25:41 and set a course record. Fryar finished 20 minutes back in 7:45:28, happy with her silver medal finish only 5 weeks after having her gall bladder removed. Lorena Devlyn took third in 9:54:50 and Rochelle Frazeur, 41, won the women's Masters title (10:44:43).
After the race, runners lounged around the finish line, enjoying some Texas sunshine. Others gingerly made their way down the steps to the river to chill their tired legs while enjoying their recovery beverages. For many, this will include a trip back to Rocksprings, as Nueces will again host the USA 50 Mile Trail Championships in 2013.
Nueces Trail Run: USA 50 Mile Trail Championships
Rocksprings, TX, Saturday, March 3, 2012
1) Jordan McDougal, 24, Gainesville, VA, 6:30:47, $600
2) Dave James, 36, Phoenix, AZ, 6:43:48, $400
3) Jason Bryant, 39, Elkin, NC, 6:47:53, $300
1) Michele Suszek, 29, Lone Tree, CO, 7:25:41, $600
2) Melanie Fryar, 31, Englewood, CO, 7:45:28, $400
3) Lorena Devlyn, 39, Austin, TX, 9:54:50, $300