Race Report: The Bear Mountain XTERRA Cameron Park 21K

By: Sam LaBrie

The heat, humidity, and relentless pounding on the roads had me second guessing my decision to train for a Fall marathon so it seemed like a good idea to substitute a long run with an August trail race at Cameron Park in Waco. I’d run this course before and enjoyed the shaded and twisty singletrack, punchy climbs, and the fast finish along the Brazos River.

My training friends Chris Kimbrough and Dan Hannon were gullible enough to sign up as well. Chris volunteered to drive and, well, she drives like she runs. I don’t think Honda intended the Fit to get that close to triple digits. We made it up to the start area with plenty of time to register and jog a couple miles before the 8am start.

This race is part of the Texas XTERRA series and is managed by Race Revolutions (http://www.racerevolutions.com/). Joel Grimmett and his crew had the course expertly marked, with several aid stations and many course marshals to keep us on the right path. We ran 2 loops, each of which began with Jacob’s Ladder, a set of stairs about 3 stories tall, with uneven, but generally very high steps. TX Sports Photography provided beautiful pictures from a couple different spots on the course.

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The group start was a bit chaotic, with the famous Welsh sisters setting a fast pace.

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Chris took over the lead by the second mile and wasn’t challenged again.

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Overall winner Pompilio Romero at the top of Jacob’s Ladder.

Chris was third overall and the first woman by nearly 20 minutes. The overall winner was Pompilio Romero. He’s a super nice guy and, from what the Waco locals say, wins most of the area races. He’s prepping for a Fall ultra (watch out Paul T.).

My race went fairly well. I had planned on a negative split so kept it under control on the first loop. I made it to the top of Jacob’s Ladder just after the start of the second loop in about 1 hour and hoped, at that point, to finish at around 1:57. On the second loop the conditions were increasingly difficult as the sun got higher and the trees blocked any wisp of a breeze. I had trouble with the heat and humidity and slowed down substantially. I made up some time on the last mile to finish in just over 2 hours. Good enough for third in my age group and sixth overall. Dan did well and finished fourth in our age group.

A trail run is a great break from the monotony of marathon training. It took a bit longer to get my ~15 miles for the day, but it was a lot more fun.

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