While some of us were logging a nice weekend run last weekend, six hardy Texans were covering the hundred miles of the Western States Endurance Run, one of the most famous and challenging ultramarathons in the country.
The race is known for its hilly terrain and stringent qualifying standards, accepting a field of only 300 runners who are thoroughly prepared to make the trek from Squaw Valley, Calif., west to the finish line at the high school track in the small town of Auburn.
Texas was well represented by Austinite Paul Terranova, who was the 13th overall finisher, and Shaheen Sattar of Dallas, who placed eighth among the female runners and 54th overall. Terranova, 40, completed the hundred-mile race in 17 hours, 26 minutes.
The men’s field was led by 37-year-old Rob Krar, who logged the second-fastest time in the race’s 41-year history by finishing in 14:53:22.
Sattar’s 21:20:49 time earned her a guaranteed entry in to next year’s Western States race, which turns away thousands of applicants each year in order to maintain the natural wilderness encountered in many sections, and to weed out those not fully prepared for the mountainous ordeal.
The women’s field also logged near-record finishes, as previously unheralded Stephanie Howe overtook more seasoned runners to finish in 18:01.
While very few Texans made the cut to compete in the Western States race, there are a surprising number of ultramarathons right here in Texas, even in the summer.
The next one is Fort Worth’s aptly-named El Scorcho, scheduled for July 13.
The race, which bills itself as a “no-frills 50 km frolic,” offers 50-kilometer and 25-kilometer options, and begins at midnight to escape the worst of the area’s July temperatures.
The following weekend, the Muleshoe Bend 60K winds through the hill country of Spicewood, near Austin, on an overnight run that begins at 7 p.m. and ends 12 hours later.
As the weather cools in the fall, the races get even longer, culminating in 100-mile and 100K races Dec. 27 that are part of the Houston Running Festival.