The Trail Racing Over Texas San Felipe Shootout is a one of a kind trail running event that will take place on March 12th in 2016 at the Stephen F. Austin State Park in San Felipe, Texas. Just a quick car trip away from Houston and within a few hours drive of the major cities in Texas, this is the perfect way to spend your weekend. The park offers fast and beautiful trails that present views of the Brazos River along the course. The San Felipe Shootout is a new exciting race with a unique twist on racing. The event consists of 3 separate races; 5K, 10K, and a Half Marathon. Individuals can choose to either sign up for one of the races or go for the full Shootout. Those who participate in the Shootout will run the 5k, then the 10k and finally the Half Marathon with their cumulative time deciding who becomes the Shootout Champion.
I did this race in 2015 at the first year of the event and will be returning to give it another go in 2016. For anyone contemplating registering, I highly recommend participating in the full Shootout. It provides a unique challenge that will test runners both mentally and physically. Since the ultimate goal is to finish with the fastest cumulative time possible, those running will need to have a plan going into the race and fully understand how the logistics are broken down.
- 5K Start: 7:30AM
- 10K Start: 8:30AM
- Half Marathon Start: 10:30AM
- Shootout runners will start the 5K at 7:30AM with the 10K starting an hour later. Once the 10K goes off, runners will then have exactly 2 hours until the start of the Half Marathon.
There are three general strategies that you can apply for the Shootout that I think can work depending on your style of running and what you want to accomplish.
(1) RUN ALL OUT: Personally, I have a hard time restraining my efforts during races and even during a normal week of training. The first strategy for the San Felipe Shootout is to run all out from the beginning. This strategy has the opportunity to pay off if you tend to recover quickly from hard efforts. Going with the run all out strategy will most likely give you strong performances in the 5K and 10K, leaving you in a good position going into the Half Marathon, but also leave you susceptible to fatigue as you start the last and longest event of the day. The question on this strategy is can you hang tough and finish strong?
(2) SAVE YOUR LEGS: Looking at the race format (5K, then 10K, then Half Marathon), the race that you have the biggest opportunity to make/lose time on is the Half Marathon and the second biggest opportunity is in the 10K. This means that the order of importance is actually a complete flip of how the distances are scheduled with the Half Marathon being the most important, followed by the 10K, and lastly the 5K. Run with your head and save your legs by starting the 5K off at a reasonably fast but sustainable pace, pick up the effort in the 10K and save your strongest effort for the Half Marathon.
(3) PACE YOURSELF/DRAFT: This strategy may sound similar to save your legs, but there is a difference. This is the strategy that I approached the Shootout with in 2015. In both the 5K and 10K I stuck right behind the person running in second until the final 800 meters to 1 mile of the course. That’s where I made my move and picked up speed to cross the finish in 2nd. Doing this will allow you to run competitively in each individual event, but to also run within your ability and only push hard on a short segment of the 5K and 10K. Then let it rip in the Half Marathon and give everything you have!
RACE ROUTE/TRAIL CONDITIONS
Quite a bit of rain hit Stephen F. Austin State Park prior to the race in 2015. This caused the routes for all three distances to be altered to avoid unsafe areas on the trail. For the 2016 edition, routes will be at normal race distances pending any severe weather that calls for another reroute. In terms of the actual trails, they are going to be fast and mostly non technical. There are only a handful of small climbs throughout the course, making it possible to rip off some great times. The trails are primarily single track that run on soft ground, pine needles and soft clay. The course is also extremely well marked and bibs will have a colored dot on them to let you know which color signs to follow. To see the courses, some data from last year and my race recap, you can click on the links below.