Rocky Raccoon event organizers Tejas Trails are long time American Trail Running Association corporate members.
On February 3rd and 4th in Huntsville, Texas Tejas Trails will host the USA Track & Field (USATF) 100 Mile Trail Championships and 26th running of the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile. According to race director Chris McWatters, “this race just seems to get cooler and cooler each year! I think it’s largely due to the combo of how many of the top performing open and masters runners show up, alongside a ton of first time 100 mile, 50 mile, and 50km attempts taking place on the same day.”
Rocky Raccoon is the fastest 100 mile trail run for men in North America, as well as the oldest running 100 miler in Texas having been first run in 1993 with 29 finishers. It’s described as beautiful, fun, and great for veteran runners as well as those looking for their first 100 mile finish. There will be a $4,000 prize purse, provided by USATF South Texas and $1,000 to anyone who breaks the male or female fastest known time for 100 miles on trail. Current 100 Mile trail FKT’s are Ian Sharman (12:44:33) and Camille Herron (12:42:41).
Rocky Raccoon 100 mile course record holders are Nicole Kalogeropoulos who ran a 14:22:18 in 2015 and Ian Sharman who ran 12:44:33 in 2011.
Due to trail damage from Hurricane Harvey the course is modified and will run on a 25 mile loop. Race orgainzers will be donating a percentage of race registration fees to the park for continued re-construction efforts.
According to race director Chris McWatters, “This year is extra special as I’ve got to witness first-hand the Tejas Trails tagline come to life (“more than just trail running…”). The reason being, Hurricane Harvey pretty much destroyed the trail system at this park only months ago. Leaving it with only 3+ miles of trail useable at that time. There have been so many people from all over the country coming out to the park and donating their time and money to re-establishing the trail system. The park, the local community, ultra runners, hikers, mountain bikers, and people who have never even seen our beloved Rocky Raccoon have given their blood and sweat to getting Huntsville State Park ready for Rocky Raccoon and Rocky 50. The park still has a lot of work coming for the remainder of the trails and bridges to get 100% back, but the place is looking great and we have figured out the longest route yet at 25 miles per lap! We are all extra motivated this year to making this race as great as ever! I truly can’t wait to see everyone enjoying all the hard work and preparation! I love this Tejas Trails family and am honored to be in the middle of it!”
Top competitors competing this weekend include defending championship Sabrina Little (Robinson, TX) who won by over 1 hour and 20 minutes in 2017. Looking to give Sabrina a run for the $4000 prize purse will be Sarah Bard (Seattle, WA) who is a veteran of ultra races like Ultravason, Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, Chuckanut 50K and the JFK 50 Mile. Sarah was also the 2015 USATF 50K Road Champion after winning the Caumsett 50K.
On the men’s side, winner of the 2017 Rocky Raccoon Ronnie Delzer (The Woodlands, TX – pictured above) is looking to keep the top step of the podium. Western States 100 mile legend Gordy Ainsleigh (Meadow Valley, CA) will toe the starting line and should be a strong contender to win the men’s 70-74 age group. USATF Mountain, Ultra & Trail Running Council member Roy Pirrung will be competing for top honors in the men’s 65-69 age group. The youngest competitor in the national championship competition will be Jacob Alexander (San Antonio, TX) who is 28 years old. In total there will be 70 USATF members competing for overall and age group national championships.
The 2018 Rocky Raccoon 100 has also been selected as a qualifying race for the 2019 Western States 100. Runners who complete Rocky Raccoon in 30 hours will qualify to enter a lottery where the field for Western States will be selected.
For live updates from the race follow @USAultrarunning on Twitter.