This is the Houston Area Trail Runners Dec 7th Ho Chi Minh Trail Recap.
We started off the festivities on Friday Night as we decided to offer an early packet pickup to those who wanted to show up after work from 6a-7:15pm at the park. We were excited to see new runner who we have never met come up and pick up their packets as most of the HATR regulars laughed as we all pitched in to make last minute packets in order.
After packet pickup was completed we headed back out to the trails and finished marking the trails that were were going to use.
We arrived back at the park at 3am to start prepping. We had Me (Rob Goyen co-RD) Larry K co-Rd, Jose (pictures,course manager), Jeremy “Handsome” Hanson (setup and 2.5 aid station), Rachel G (set up and 2.5 aid station) and Marta helping with setup and main aid station. So we started filing the igloos with water and GU ROCTANE and started working the food. We had bananas, oranges, oreos and then Thunderbird Energetica Bars. I was stocked that they sent us 4 FULL Boxes of bars so that the runners had plenty of real, raw food to chew on while they ran in the cold.
So as the 5am time hit we had everything ready as the runners came in to the start/finish line to get their packets. As the runners came up it was nice to see all the new faces as well as all of the people who traveled from out of town to come and run the race. We took in the people that had signed up as well as all of the people who were registering as well. With the weather being 35 degrees we had known that many people probably would have come but hey IT WAS COLD.. As someone who stood out there for 12 hours that day my lips are still chapped and I still feel dehydrated. So as we approached the 5:50 mark I had a quick Race Meeting. We went over the time for the race, how the course was marked as well as what was at the aid stations.
As we counted of the time 6am hit the watch and everybody started to pour through the gates. Jose and Fernando ran out to take some pictures and make sure the runner navigated the course nicely. Jeremy and Rachel G headed to the 2.5 mile aid station. Marta, Larry and I helped people showing up late get started and out of registration.
At around the 44 minute mark we saw 2 headlights coming in and it was Calum Neff (The North Face) and Robert Smith trucking it in for the first few times. Soon after Chris came in looking strong and also Melinda Coen.
As the time flew so did the runners. We had a few runners start a few minutes later than 6am as well as some people jump in the mix to get in a lap or 2 because they couldnt just watch people run without them.
As Melinda Coen came in for lap 2 she looked strong and kicked it off nicely as she finished her fastest loop and the fastest of the event for a female of 47:51. A few minutes after she came in Dorea Wilder (Austin, Texas) came in for her loop as she looked strong all day and was eventually the #2 Female finisher.
Calum Neff decided that after the light came out around 7:30am that he would go out and rip off the fastest loop of the day for the males with a blistering 34:55. He knew coming in that was his fast lap and we could confirm that as well.
Matt Zmolek and Ian Wallance both looked super strong all day as they came in, got something to eat and moved out quickly through the aid stations. The HATR members also had a dog fight as the lead changed between the hands of Mark K, Mark G and Siva N all day. They all were coming in close to the same time as Hugo S and Daniel P.. MIke Ruhlin and David Jacobson from Austin also showed from out of town to enjoy the great Ho Chi Minh Trails.
We had many people on the trails for the first time and also many PRS on distance and on time. We were glad to see everyone enjoy the day although the 34 degree starting temp and 37 ending temp was not normal for texas weather. We thank again Lukes Lockers, Thunderbird Energetica and Trail Runner Magazine for donating to the cause and for the runners. We also want to thank all the volunteers, members and out of towners for making our first event a great one. We are looking forward to extending this race type to next year as we start the scheduling of 4-6 races that we will run in the Houston Area for a Trail Series. We should have the dates set by mid January and also the prizes for each. Thank you again for all that supported us, ran in the race and volunteered! Rob Goyen