Chris’ Nueces Trail race re-cap
Shockwaves at Nueces
That tremor you felt at 9:30 am yesterday was no earthquake, it was the shoockwaves sent through the trail running world as Jason Espalin crossed the finish line ahead of his spouse Tanya at Nueces 25K. Anyone who knows the Espalins knows they are not like Lalo and Stefan crossing the finish line together holding hands and bumping fists. Ever since the first race they did together with Tanya outsprinting Jason the last 1/2 mile it has been a trail running war with Tanya always the victor. Consequently, I was very surprised when I saw Tanya arriving at my aid station 4.5 miles into the race already behind Jason. While she seemed a little surprised she didn’t seem overly worried and vowed to pass Jason the last 100 yards (as I said, they are not Lalo and Stefan). So I was very curious to see who would be ahead when they arrive at my aid station with 2.2 miles left in race. Impressively it was Jason arriving first and looking very pumped about still being ahead of Tanya. He was smelling the hay. Tanya arrived a little over 2 minutes later and I told her how far ahead Jason was. Tanya said something about trying to catch him and took off running hard. However Jason dug deep (something Larry could learn) and held on for the victory. All of Camp Eagle was abuzz afterwards as it was the greatest race Camp Eagle folks had seen since the now legendary Ricketts-Rozinsky showdown. Endurance Buzz, Irunfar.com have contacted Jason for interviews and Jason will be featured in a Trail Runner Nation future podcast. However, you fellow Rockhoppers are in luck as managed to score the first exclusive comments from Team Espalin.
Jason Espalin: I am trying really hard not to gloat but its hard not to. Tanya outsprinting me at the finish at our first trail race together really traumitize me and I have been getting my butt kicked by her ever since.The ultimate humiliation was getting smoked by the 8 year old kid at Hells Hills last year. The key was the additional training I got from running with our dog “Buster”.I told Tanya I was taking Buster out for a walk when in reality we were doing 90% effort hill repeats. And then when I did run with Tanya, I would sandbag it a bit to give her false confidence. Plus I figured with the shorter distance it would mean less time I could make a mistake. Not only did I beat Tanya but I also beat all kids in the race! I really am trying hard not walk around the house with a big smug grin but redemption has never felt so good!
Tanya Espalin: I’m happy for Jason. I really am. I’ll even let him still sleep in our bed. I know it has to be humiliating on Jason’s fragile male ego to keep getting his butt kicked by his wife so its good that he gets an occasional victory. Besides it was ONLY a 25k. Its not like he is beating me at ultras or anything. So I’ll let him enjoy his little 25k win and then at the next ultra race we do together the natural order of things will be set right.
Still don’t feel too sorry for Tanya. She did manage to be first female in the 25K. Among other notable performances, Scott R finished 2d in 25k and Rockhopper friend, Dave Brown was 2d in 50K. Both ran great times. I didn’t see Jessica finished because I was tearing course down but she was looking good at the end of her 50 miler. Elizabeth also did the 25K and had a big smile every time she came through the aid station. Of course, everyone already has read about the Lalo-Stefan bromance. They really were inseparable. It was touching. No word yet on how jealous Stefan’s fiance, Holly is. Kidding aside they really did a good job of keeping ech other going during the race and push through the low moments. It was great to see Stefan get some redemption after Bandera.
I’ll finish on a last humorous note. Jay Danek from Phoenix. He rode with Liza and I. Jay is a great guy. He would be a great Rockhopper. Very good runner but doesn’t take himself seriously at all. Great sense of humor. Somehow he got so lost on the course that he ended up running several miles on the dirt road the leads into and out of Camp Eagle. It was a riot hearing him talk about it. He made Rachel look like Magellan. He did finish his 57 miles in 9:30. So pretty impressive effort and good on him for finishing.