Pretty sure this wasn’t a Tough Mudder event but you couldn’t tell from the looks of the finishers. The Grasslands 2012 trail half marathon, marathon and 50 mile ultra marathon was held on the heels of wet weather outside of Decatur Texas. Regardless of the conditions the race went on, people worked their butts off , got to enjoy some Texas BBQ after the race and maybe even shared the finish line with a horse or two.
I spoke with Paul Smith, Race Director, and he said turn out was good but a few might have been appreshensive due to the rain during the week leading up to the event. Officially, 362 people started the 3 races with 56 in the 50 mile ultra and 93 in the marathon.
In the marathon Matt Crownover took first place with a 3:37:48 while 50 year old Peter Beauvais came in second at 3:40:51. Third was Stuart Cohen with a time of 3:50:16. On the women’s side, converted road racer Shaheen Sattar won well ahead of the rest of the field in 3:59:16. Carrie Tracy was second in 4:38:05 and Stacey shaver third at 4:50:54, both solid times on the less than solid course.
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Marathon winner Matt Crownover said this was his 10th time running the event and was hoping to take it easy. “I had to work for it because of Peter”, referring second place Peter Beauvais. Matt went on to say, “This course is always about the weather. This year it was either firm pack or super muddy.” Matt was referring to the mud that many found in areas along the course. According to most it was post hole running in “suck your shoes off” type mud.
Besides the mud, the heat quickly became a factor as temps moved up into the mid 70’s. While Texans are used to 100 degree summers, North Texas is actually fairly cold in the winter. Most runners had no heat training before the race so the tempratures proved difficult for just about everyone.
Assuming he was referring to the mud and heat, men’s second place Beauvais summed it up when I asked, “How was the race?”. He looked up from being bent over in his chair and replied, “Hard”. Peter went onto say that the first loop was harder because of the mud. This surely made for some tired legs on the back half. Women’s marathon winner Shaheen Sattar said, “the heat got me.” I asked about the course, “Sloppy. The first loop was worse.”
About 6 hours into the race Paul Smith stopped by and I asked about the runners, “We’ve had one runner go down on the trail, the heat is taking it’s toll.” 6:30 hours into the race and no one had gone passed 40 miles.
When 50 mile ultra runners did begin to finish Brian Hopton-Jones came across first in 8:10:25. Second overall, and first female, was Dallas based 24 year old Francesca bissman clocking in at 8:23:40.
50 mile winner Hopton-Jones may have summed it up best, “It got ugly out there”.
But as they say, “God Bless Texas”. There was plenty of ice cold water, soda, beer and enough Texas BBQ to feed a hungry muddy army.