2018 USATF 100 km Trail Championships – Race Preview

Written by Roy Pirrung, USATF Championship Liaison. Tejas Trail is an ATRA corporate member.  Above photo by Tejas Trails. 

On January 6 through the 7th in Bandera, Texas the Tejas Trails organization will host its 8th USA Track & Field trail running championships and 16th running of the Bandera 100k.

The venue, the Hill Country, northwest of San Antonio. The course, booked as a trail of rugged and brutal beauty, where everything cuts, stings or bites, is a two loop 50k configuration that sees runners return to the start before going back out on the second loop.

Over the years, the finish rate for the 100k trail race averages about 75%, while the companion 50k and 25k boasts 90-95%.

Photo by Tejas Trails.

Temperatures have been summer-like to winter-like over the past decade-and-a-half. Rain is not uncommon and pollen counts are soaring. Oh, there’s also a few rocks to contend with and the leg-cutting cactus plants.

Camille Herron, runner-up in ‘17, is returning and coming off a World Record 100-mile track performance. Michelle Yates, runner-up in ‘16 and the winner in ‘13 will also be among contenders for the $4,000 purse.

It has also been reported Dave Mackey, a former champion at this race and formally the course record holder, will be returning. Dave suffered a debilitating leg injury in a trail running accident, that would not heal. Ultimately, Dave decided to have the leg amputated but has since staged a tenacious comeback to remain active and engaged with the trail running community.

Race director, Chris McWatters, mentioned newcomer William Brewster as a possible contender in his first ultra. Based on his road and track running that may well be.

Photo by Tejas Trails

However, one of the leaders of last year’s edition, Mario Mendoza, may have something to say about that. He took an unfortunate, wrong turn, last year and may have something to prove this year.

Course records at the 100k distance are currently held by last year’s winner, Stephanie Violett at 9:0835 and 2016’s winner, Jim Walmsley at 7:46:37.

Besides prize money, the top male and female earn automatic entry to the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, in California.

Historic and legendary runner, Gordy Ansleigh, known as the founder of the 100-mile trail race, finished Bandera 100k last year, at age 69.

Others to watch are: Danielle Filiipek, Chris Mocko, Chris Rauli, and Jared Burdick.

2015 winner David Laney. Photo by Rick Kent.

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