The TNT Trail Runs, hosted by Waco native and Houston-based running coach Tim Neckar (runnerone.com), feature the best of the Cameron Park trails. Tim puts on a great race, with well-supported aid stations and a clearly marked route. Tim offers the 50K, 20 mile, 10 mile, and 5 mile distances, so trail runners at any level can enjoy the race.
My brother Mark and I started out together on the 20 mile race at 7:30. The rather small field of 20 milers took off, with a couple of guys bolting out at the start. We thought surely they'd falter, but they actually finished well. The order of finishers, at least for the leaders, seems to have been the same as the order of starters.
I ran with Mark for 3 or four miles, to the first aid station. But after that he began to put some separation between us. I was reminded that he is much stronger on the uphills. He took off ahead of me and ended up finishing over half an hour before me. I guess there's no shame in losing to my faster, fitter, slimmer, younger brother. (I still have him beat on the road marathon P.R., though!)
|Not the actual snake I saw. Photo credit: http://www.copperhead-snake.com/|
After the second trudge up Jacob's Ladder, I finally finished in 4:36, good enough for 5th male overall. That was about 20 minutes slower than my first 2 laps in 2011. Today I was quite happy to be done, not heading out for the third lap. The burgers and beans hit the spot, and there's nothing better than a cold Dr Pepper after 20 miles on the trail on a warm day.
Once again, many thanks to Tim for putting this race together. Race or not, the trails at Cameron Park are worth a visit. Here's a video a mountain biker took which shows a bit of the flavor of the trails. (Posted on YouTube by Jim Olmsted. Thanks, Jim.)