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DRC selects Elite Team Training

The Dallas Running Club, which has been working with Olympic Trials qualifier and this website's 2013 Male Runner of the Year Enoch Nadler, has announced runners selected to the DRC Elite Team Training.

The men's team includes: Nadler, Barnabas Kirui, Leo Frayre, Brandon Gillingham, Jacob Phillips, Patrick Strong, Cody Hughes, Agustin Hernandez, Benson Chesang and Jason Trevino.

The women's team includes:  Dawn Grunnagle, Sara Dietz, Caitlin Standifer, Rachel Phillips, Briseida Ramos. The list might expand in the near future.

The purpose was to create a team working together to improve the running elite scene and running scene as a whole. Runners had to meet standards from the 5K to the marathon. The standards and application form is posted here.

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Joe Lopez, Cora Turner selected for Sendai Half

Cora Turner of Alvarado and this website's 2013 Female Masters Runner of the Year, and Joe Lopez of Dallas have been selected to represent Dallas at the Sendai International Half Marathon in Japan. They both had applied three times before to represent Dallas at its sister city's event on May 14, and they were rewarded this year.

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Rock 'n' Roll Dallas and MetroPCS Dallas Marathon offering dual medal

Competitor Group, organizers of the Rock 'n' Roll Dallas Half Marathon and the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon have announced a special combo medal for participants who complete the marathon or half marathon this year. The Dallas Duo medal has a spinning boot with the names of each event on opposite sides. The Rock 'n' Roll Dallas was March 23 and the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon and Half Marathon is Dec. 14. See more information at the Rock 'n' Roll website.

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Enoch Nadler selected 2013 Male Runner of the Year

male runner of the year logo

Note: Even though Enoch Nadler already had been racing and showing his great running talent after he moved to Richardson in early 2012, I hadn't met him until he won the Lions Club XSIGHTment 5K in Colleyville on June 1, 2013. He blazed to a 15:10.8 and won by 26.5 seconds over another one of the top area runners, Andrew Cook. He had previously stamped his arrival in the area by beating Logan Sherman, the 2013 Cowtown Ultra winner, by 17 seconds at the Hot Chocolate 15K after both had passed the 10K mark, along with Agustin Hernandez, at 32:42. Enoch and Agustin, who train together, had dueled before at the Hotcake Hustle 10K with Enoch winning with a 15:32 and Agustin at 16:09. Enoch, who had been training to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the marathon won at least seven overall titles in the DFW area and did qualify for the Trials at Houston in 2014 with a PR 1:03:55 at the USA Half Marathon Championships. Besides his own training, Enoch is gracious enough to help others. Boo Bryant credits Enoch's help with his impressive victory at the Dash Down Greenville 5K in 15:32, and Enoch also has helped Barnabas Kirui, who won, among other races, the DRC Half. Taking all that into consideration was more than enough for Enoch to be selected as the 2013 Male Runner of the Year.

Enoch Nadler's running history

enoch nadlerEnoch Nadler grew up in Florida in the small country town of Keystone Heights, located outside of Jacksonville. He attended KHHS, class ofenoch nadler 2004, where he participated on the varsity track and cross country squad. During his high school career, he posted personal bests of 4:27 in the 1,600 meters, 9:27 for the 3,200, and 15:37 in the cross country 5K. After high school, Enoch went to the University of Florida where he competed at the varsity level all four years.

While at UF Enoch posted bests of 4:09 in the mile, 8:15 in the 3,000, 8:54 in the 3K steeplechase, 14:24 in the 5,000, and 23:46 in the 8K (XC). Enoch made the all-region and conference teams on several occasions and competed in multiple SEC and NCAA championship meets. After a successful career at Florida, Enoch took a 4-year hiatus from the sport, not knowing if he would ever return to competitive running.
Then early in 2012, Enoch moved to Dallas and began to feel that he was ready to return to the sport he had loved for so many years. That March at the age of 26, Enoch made his return to competition and hasn’t looked back since. Enoch credits his wife Angela for giving him the passion and fire to return to the sport. Without Angela’s love, support, and encouragement, he wouldn’t have been able to make the long tough road back to running.

Since his return, Enoch has set his sights on achieving one of the greatest accomplishments for a distance runner, qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Team. Since his return, Enoch has been able to accomplish the following bests 5K: 14:26, 10K: 30:22, Half Marathon: 1:04:37. Enoch has won numerous races around Texas and the Southeast. With several years before the 2016 games, Enoch is excited to see how far and fast he can push himself and if he can reach his goal of making the Olympic Marathon Trials and possibly the Olympic Team.

By Enoch Nadler

For me, 2013 was a year filled with some amazing life events and some incredible trips to new places. Like any runner I experienced the thrill of the great race and new PRs along with the disappointment of defeat. The focus for my running in 2013 was working toward my ultimate goal of qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials. With the trials still a few years out, I wanted to take a long term approach and not rush the process. 

I started the year out fast by running a road 5K PR and winning the Mantanzas 5K in 14:26 in the process. This was just the confidence booster I needed heading into my first half marathon. If my first half, I far exceeded my expectations by running 1:05:22 to finish in 6th place in a very strong field at the Woodlands. This was a big moment for me because I knew after this race that I had what it took to make my goal of reaching the Olympic Trials a reality. 

Just three weeks after the Woodlands, I ran the Rock 'N Roll Dallas Half. It was a very intense race with less than ideal conditions and I ended up finishing in 2nd place in 1:06:01. While it was tough losing a close race, I knew it was a great experience that would benefit me down the road.  

On April 25th the most important event of my 2013 took place. I married my best friend Angela on a beach in Maui, HI. It was a dream come true and we spent an amazing 10 days honeymooning in Hawaii.

Mixed in with the relaxing and time on the beach, I also got in some great training for the fast approaching USA Half Marathon Champs.
In late June and training through the early summer heat, Angela and I made the trip up to Duluth Minnesota for the final race of my spring season. This was by far my biggest race since my return to running, so I was very excited and nervous. After a very fast early pace, I settled into the race and ran 1:04:37 to finish in 30th place and set a new PR. I couldn't believe that I had just ran 4:56 pace for 13 miles and it was a great feeling to run a time that would be fast enough to qualify for the Olympic Trials if it was within the qualifying window. After the race, I got to meet my childhood idol Meb Keflezighi, which was awesome! 

After a long hot summer of base training with my friends Matt Markert, Agustin Hernandez and Barnabas Kirui, I was ready for the fall season. It started out well with a fast 5K and then winning the Tour De Fleurs 10K. Then in mid-October, I had my last big win of the year by defeating a tough field at the Space City 10-miler in Houston. I ran a 50:25 in hot and humid conditions and felt strong and confident going into my final races of the fall. 

Then like any runner, I experienced the disappointment of getting sick and missing a big race. I was unable to attend the Komen 5K and defend my title from 2012, and I came into the DRC Half feeling less than ideal. I hung tough for the first 10 miles before fading to 5th place. My disappointment was short lived after I finished and found out that my training partner Barnabas had won the race against some really strong competition. 

I competed in the Turkey Trot 8-mile for fun and finished in 2nd place in 40:20 to top national talent Colby Lowe for my final race of the fall. To wrap up 2013, Angela and I took a winter vacation down to Cuenca, Ecuador. This was just the training boost I needed to end my 2013 on a strong note and get me ready for a big 2014. We spent two weeks at 8,000-foot elevation in the mountains, training with Ecuador's top Olympic runners. It was an incredible life experience and we made some awesome friends. 

Overall, 2013 was a very successful year filled with great memories, new friends and big PRs. I am very proud of all the runners I train with in Dallas and what they have accomplished in 2013. I feel very blessed to be back running and to have the support of my loving wife, friends, family, and the Dallas running community. 

Goals for 2014 (This was before he qualified at Houston)

With the window now open for the Olympic Marathon Trials, my primary goal for 2014 is to run under 1:05 to punch my ticket for the 2016 Trials. My first big race will be the USA Half Championships in Houston on January 19th, where I will begin the chase to qualify. After that, I hope to get back on the track later in the spring for the first time since my college days in 2008. I plan to attempt to break 14:00 in the 5K and I look forward to some fast speed work on the track. My final running related goal for 2014 is to build my mileage over the summer and to run my first marathon this fall. I ultimately hope to run under 2:15 to achieve the Olympic A standard. But that goal might have to wait till 2015. Another big goal of mine for 2014 is unifying the elite runners in Dallas. Over the past year, I have formed a group of guys that meet for long runs and some track workouts. While this has been a great experience.

I feel it is time to take this group to the next level. I have been working with the Dallas Running Club to form an elite team that would include both male and females training and working together to better the Dallas running scene. I am very excited for this opportunity and I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store.  Even though I am a year older, I have no plans of slowing down anytime soon and I look forward to seeing my fellow Dallas runners out at race sometime soon! If you would like to continue to follow my Journey to the Olympic Trails, you can check out my blog at http://runwithenoch.com/

Personal Records: 1 Mile: 4:08; 2 Mile: 8:45; 3K Steeple: 8:54; 5K: 14:24; 8K XC: 23:46; Half-Marathon: 1:03:55; 10K (split in half marathon), 30:06; 8-mile (split in half marathon), 38:30; 15K (split in half marathon), 45:04; 10-mile (split in half marathon), 48:20. 2013 Highlights: 1-26-13 -- 1st place Mantanzas 5K in 14:26; 2-09-13 --  1st place Hot Chocolate 15K in 47:53; 3-02-13 -- 6th place The Woodlands Half, 1:05:23; 3-24-13 -- 2nd place Rock 'N Roll Half, 1:06:01; 5-27-13 -- 1st place Patriot Half, 1:13:37; 6-02-13 -- 1st place Lions Club xSIGHTment 5K,  15:10; 6-22-13 -- 30th place USA Half Marathon Championships 1:04:37; 9-21-13 -- 1st place Tour Des Fleurs 10K, 10-12-13 -- 1st place Space City 10 Miler, 50:25; 11-22-13 -- 2nd place Dallas Turkey Trot 40:20.

Special recognition for other male runners: Clint Bell of Dallas enjoyed another impressive year by winning at least 13 overall titles and challenging for several others. Two of his better efforts were at the WOKC Oktoberfest 5K in Addison, where he ran a 15:33 and at the Fireman's 5K in Fort Worth when he crossed the finish line at 15:20.8; and Kolin Styles of Burleson, who racked up six overall victories, including the Hot Chocolate 5K and the Mayfest 10K.

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Jessica Smith is 2013 Female Runner of the Year

female runner of the year logo

Note: The first time I met Jessica was about two years ago at the Trinity 5000 summer series at Trinity Park. After she had won the female's overall race, I noticed she looked young and asked her which school she attended. Masters runner Fiona Green looked at me and asked ''How old do you think she is?'' At that time, she was 34 years old. I would have guessed maybe 19. But as Fiona wrote in a report submitted about Jessica, she said that a person ''could easily mistake her for a college runner with her petite frame and flawless complexion.'' Jessica has been running since fourth grade and excelled at Richland High School. She ran at Stephen F. Austin for awhile, competing in cross country and the 2-mile in track. Besides tending for a daughter who has methylmalonic acidemia, Jessica has overcome a diagnosis of low levels of iron and a fractured foot to become one of the top female runners in the DFW area. She has a current PR of 17:21, set last year at a 5K in Trophy Club, where she lives, and a 1:23 in the half marathon at Cowtown in 2013. It took Jessica Smith several weeks to get in the competitive running groove again after sustaining a broken foot about two years ago. But when she did start hitting her stride, she zipped to the front of the line at most of the races she entered. The 3 Trophy Club resident won at least 29 overall titles and closed out the year with a 17:47.46 at the New Year's Eve Run at Trinity Park. Among her other victories were the 5K at the DRC Half, the Lake Joe Pool 5K, Mayfest 5K and the 5K at the Irving Marathon. She also dominated the Trinity 5000 series.

By Jessica Smith

jessica smithjessica smithAs a child I was really shy.  I'll never forget the overwhelming feeling of being around so many kids in school and how I just couldn't wait to be home and by myself again, and I was a very independent kid.  In the fourth grade, my teacher Mr. Benton decided to start a running club.  He was a marathon runner himself.  After our first mile time trial, Mr. Benton told my parents he thinks running should be something I stay involved in.  I began to feel accomplished and like I have found something that makes me feel alive and accomplished...even at the young age I was.  One regret I have is never telling Mr. Benton how important he was in my life.  He died of a heart attack while running because of a heart defect he was unaware of.

So, I try and tell people how important they are to me as much as possible because we never know.  I went on to continue my running career through middle school and high school.  I was the team captain of the cross country team at Richland High School when I was a senior along with my friend Chaliese, a running friend who also began running in elementary school.  (note: Jessica was the only student in Richland High School to ever make it to the State Championships all four years with the school team going three of those years).

A funny story real quick...in regionals my junior year....after the gun went off another girl stepped on my shoe and it came off.  There were so many runners I couldn't find my shoe and just decided to take off.  I'll never forget slipping and sliding as I ran through the freshly mowed grass that day.  I finished the race and made it to state with one shoe!  Pretty funny.  I met my husband Trey my senior year of high school.  After high school, I signed to run with Stephen F. Austin University, but I didn't run my full college career in order to focus more on my studies.  I still ran on my own, but not competitively.

After graduating, Trey and I got married and I began teaching first grade. I was still running (not competing) in my spare time.  My first child, daughter Madeline was born in 2002.  After a couple days in the hospital, I was there was something seriously wrong with her and they didn't know what it was.  They began a series of testing.  During this testing they prepared us that there is a possibility she won't be coming home with us.  After two teddy bear transports (ambulance trips) and two different hospitals, .they finally diagnosed her with a rare metabolic disorder called methylmalonic acidemia.  After her diagnosis, they told us they are not positive she will ever talk, walk, or function like a regular person.  We were finally able to bring her home and I  quit my job to take care of her.  She requires internal feedings every 2-3 hours, injections, and several medications.  She is also hospitalized frequently from complications with her disorder.  When Madeline was about 6 years old, I decided I needed to do something to get stronger mentally and physically for my daughter.  I decided to go for my first run since Madeline's birth and barely made it a mile.  It wasn't long before I began to feel that familiar runner's high I remembered from earlier.  My best friend, Joanna Gafford, who has been an amazing and supportive person in my life since the 6th grade, convinced me to sign up for a 5K.  I was skeptical about doing it but decided I would do it to make her happy!  I won my age division and have been hooked on competitive road racing ever since.  My son, Ryder, was born in 2005.  He was a healthy baby boy.  He is my little golfer!

My goal is to continue to work on my longer distance races.  My favorite distances are the 5K and the 15K.

2013 was a year of me challenging myself in distances and PRs.  I wanted to test myself against better talent and in longer distances.  While having success in the 5K distance, I wanted to continue to try to drive my times down while also training for the 15K and longer distances which was a very big challenge.  The best part of taking on new challenges in this running community is you have an army of support that helps drive you toward any goal you might take on. 

I had a few setbacks, but not any that any other runner lining up hasn’t already experienced themselves and that’s the beauty of running, because everyone had to overcome something to get to that line.  All the local runners and friends helped push me to get better and really test myself.  I achieved some of my goals and others I’ll have to go after in 2014, but the friendships I have are the greatest achievement of 2013.

As far as picking some of my favorite memories on the course in 2013, my favorite performance was in the Fort Worth Cowtown, where I was fortunate enough to break the course record in the 5K on Saturday, which was enough for a win, and then following on Sunday by breaking the former course record in the half marathon, which was enough for third place.  Believe it or not, that was not my favorite memory though.  My favorite race this year was traveling to the Runner’s World Magazine 5K in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with my mom.  It meant so much to me to have one of my life’s biggest fan, and now one of my best friends, (not to mention the one who took me to all those 5 a.m. practices when I was young) be there.  It was great to win that race for her, but the time we got to spend together during that trip made it the race of the year for me. 

I have reached a point now to where it is the people and the moments I get to spend with this running community that are the most important to me.  I love to challenge my friends to get involved with this great sport, just as this sport and its runners welcomed me and has taken care of me over the many years.   Simply put, the relationships and the memories I had with all the other runners and friends over the last year, is without a doubt my greatest and most cherished accomplishment.

People ask me what I'm training for next, and honestly I am training for the strength to fight through some things on our horizon.  Racing and competing will help me become a stronger person overall.  So just like most of us... I am training for life really.

Special recognition for other female runners: Elizabeth Eder had an outstanding year by winning the Cowtown Marathon and qualifying for the marathon Olympic Trials in Chicago, and winning at least nine other races in the DFW area.; Dawn Grunnagle, the 2012 Female Runner of the Year, who collected at least 10 overall female victories, including the Allstate 13.1 Half and the Katy Trail 5K.; Kim Rogers-Tracy, who also had at least 10 victories, including the Too Cold To Hold 5-mile and the Too Hot to Handle 5K, apparently showing she can run in the cold and heat; and Magaly Soto, who went home with at least 11 overall titles, including the Rangers Labor Day 5K and the Mansfield Half.

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Todd Reynolds chosen as 2013 Male Masters Runner of the Year

male masters runner of the year award

Note: As with all selections, selecting this award winner also was difficult because there are so many great 40-older runners in the DFW area. Todd Reynolds of Burleson was chosen for several reasons, including his third consecutive Ultra Masters title at The Cowtown and masters victories at the Honored Hero 20-mile, the Fort Worth Marathon, and the overall victory at the El Scorcho 50K. He earned at least 18 masters titles in DFW events. The shaved-head 46-year-old also supports the Trinity 5000 series by competing each Thursday night and won the majority of the masters titles (9) and one overall. As General Manager of Uno's Pizzeria & Grill in downtown Fort Worth, he has supplied pizza for the 5000 participants one of the nights for more than 10 years. Todd says he averages 50 miles a week and has (as of Feb. 5, 2014) a running streak of 2,300 days. Todd didn't begin running until he was about 30. Todd said he started because his wife was participating in the Race For The Cure and inspired him to take to the roads. After that, he continued to run and earned his first trophy at the Lake Benbrook Half Marathon in 1999, and he has been hooked on running ever since. Here are his reflections of 2013 and his goals for 2014:

Todd's story

todd reynoldstodd reynoldsRefusing to age, Todd Reynolds, 46, spent 2013 running around like a 30-year-old kid! The focus for 2013 was maintaining a 6-year running streak with the added challenge of trying to average 7-minute miles for the year. The goal was closely met, averaging 7:02 over the 2,561 miles logged for the year. December’s ice storms stood in the way of breaking the 7-minute mark.

The biggest highlights of the year included two PRs.  The Benbrook Half in January was the first to fall with a 1:21 time, an impressive performance considering the rolling course with a couple of difficult hills.  The second to fall was the 10K at the weather-delayed Arlington Winter Run. He finished with a PR 36:36 on a chilly morning late in December.

Marathons and ultra marathons continue to be the races of Todd's choice because, he says, it forces consistent training and dedication.  At the Cowtown Ultra, Reynolds ran a 3:40 to win masters. The Cowtown event is unique for Reynolds because he paces the 3-hour marathon group before heading off for 5 more miles to complete the ultra.  In April, the Boston Marathon was next.  With a 2:54, Reynolds was able to enjoy a finish that was a mere 30 seconds slower than his 2008 Boston.  There was a port-a-potty stop that accounted for more than the 30-second differential.  In June, he was ready for the Running with the Devil marathon outside of Las Vegas, but it was cancelled because extreme heat advisories.   Reynolds won El Scorcho at the Trinity Trails in July with a 3:55.The most fun race of the year was the St. George Marathon, where Reynolds ran a 2:52 in the Utah mountains.  Back at home, the Fort Worth Marathon in November provided another Masters win with a 2:58 finish. Then came the disappointing December and the ice storms that cancelled both the Dallas and the Memphis marathons.

The summer of 2013 was pretty hot for all in Texas. This didn’t stand in the way of Todd regularly competing at the Trinity 5000 Thursday night series.  This series included many sub 18-minute 5Ks for Todd and eventually the masters win for the series.  Todd won the masters title at The Run for the Rangers on Labor Day to cap the long hot summer runnings.  That win had a nice perk -- tickets to a suite for a Rangers game.

Todd has similar goals for 2014. This year, the added challenge will be to run more than 50-mile weeks on average.  The plan is to pace the Cowtown 3-hour group again.  And guess what? The summer has the Trinity 5000 on the radar again, which will be Todd's 15th year to run the series.  El Scorcho also looms on the summer horizon.

Special recognition for other male masters runners: 2012 male masters winner Agustin Hernandez had another outstanding year by nailing down at least seven masters victories and at least four overall victories, and all with impressive times against usually talented competition. Among his overall victories were the Stockyards Easter 10K, the FWRC Labor Day 5K and the Lake Joe Pool Pumpkins 10K. Among his masters victories were the Irving Marathon Half, the DRC Half and the Fort Worth Turkey Trot.; James Jackson, the 2011 Runner of the Year who won at least eight masters titles, including the Cowtown 10K and the Tour des Fleurs 10K. He also had at least three overall victories, including the El Scorcho 25K.; David Holtsford, whose continued improvement results in at least two overall victories and at least nine masters victories.; and Gary Anderson, who racked up at least 10 masters victories, including at the Lake Benbrook Half, the Cowtown Marathon and the Big D Marathon

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Cora Turner selected as 2013 Female Masters Runner of the Year

female master award

Note: Because of all the talented runners in the DFW area, it is difficult and nearly impossible to select Runners of the Year without feeling I've slighted someone. But Cora Turner, 44, an unassuming teacher from Alvarado, notched impressive overall and masters victories, usually against stiff competition, and has been selected this website's 2013 Female Runner of the Year. What put her a step ahead of the other candidates was her masters victories at the DRC Half, the Dallas Race For the Cure, the FWRC Labor Day 15K and the Lake. She had at least six overall female victories to go along with her at least eight masters victories in DFW races. Cora uses running to present herself as an example to her children and others, but doesn't place running at the forefront of her life. She puts her running in perspective with family and career.

By Cora Turner

cora turner
Cora Turner was off to a good start in 2013 by winning the female overall title at the Resolution Solution 5K at Trinity Park on Jan. 1.

cora turnerI started running as a child. Without divulging too much of my personal life, I’ll just say that when I was running, I wasn't at home. Home wasn't a good place to be when I was a kid. Prior to my adult running life, the last time I ran for time was to pass my APFT in Fort Rucker, Alabama in 1987. It was two miles, and the farthest I had ran for time up to that point. After I got married and started a family, I didn't run. But I missed it; would have dreams about it; think about it.

As an adult, I started running again in April of 1999. It was right before I turned 30. I would take my kids to the track with me. They would play while I ran. Sometimes they would run too. My son was 6 and my daughter was 9. I had a dachshund then who would run one lap with me, rest for a lap, then run another with me. One day while I was running, a lady that always brought her son there to run stopped and talked with me. She asked me if I ran 5Ks. Honestly, I had to go home and look it up on the computer. I had no idea what a “5K” even was. But as soon as I did my first one, I was hooked.

The highlights of the past year include, first and foremost, my daughter joining the Army and completing basic training. She currently is training to be a combat medic at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. While this is not my own personal accomplishment, and has little to do with running, it is by far the the one event that defines this past year for me. My running highlight of 2013 was having the opportunity to be a pacer at the Allstate Dallas 13.1 in October. It was my first time as a pacer and something I enjoyed thoroughly and hope to do again, soon and often! Running has been very good to me, and I relish any opportunity I can to give back.

One of the main reasons I have continued to run is so that I could set an example for my kids…an example of work ethic, strength and commitment. Kids learn what they see; they forget 90% of what you tell them. My daughter is a strong, independent woman who is sacrificing for her country and for her child. On New Year’s day, she accompanied me to the Resolution Solution 5K and placed in her age group. Another highlight. I won. Perfect first day of 2014. After the race, we drove to San Antonio so she could report on Jan. 2. That night we shared a bottle of champagne.

My son continued to amaze me by making the Dean’s List at UNT for the third year in a row. While I might  not do great things in my life, I've raised an Electrical Engineer and a US Army soldier/medic. That’s all any of us want or can hope for…for our children to be successful, independent and happy; and to have a purpose.

At my age, and for as long as I've been running, something is always aching or hurting. I know I walk that fragile line between injury and health like all long-term runners do. I just try to run smart and conservatively. A good friend turned me on to the fine art of ice baths this past spring, and it has been a saving grace. My injuries have included hamstring pulls, tendinitis, groin injuries. If there’s a running muscle or ligament involved, I've tweaked it at least once.

I’m always mindful of not letting my running inconvenience my family. It’s easier now that my kids are grown. I typically do my weekly runs before sunset; after I've made supper for my husband. I have allotted every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday as “Lilly Day” (my granddaughter) to help her deal with the absence of her mother while she's away. In the summer, I run at 4:45 a.m., before work, so I can pick her up after work and spend the evening with her. In the winter, I run immediately after work so I can pick her up by 4 p.m. I do my long runs on Sunday, early in the morning on country roads here in Alvarado. Like everyone else who runs, I just squeeze my run in whenever I can if I’m on vacation or out of town.

(Because Cora lives in Alvarado, she has more distance than many other runners to race in a DFW event.) I like to arrive to any race an hour before starting time, and I allot an hour for travel. So, whatever time that ends up being -- that’s when I leave. I travel I-35W or Hwy 67, so  travel is not much of an issue.

Special recognitions for other female masters runners: Others in contention in this category included Laura Nelson, this website's 2010 Female Runner of the Year. Laura again had an impressive year racking up at least 36 masters titles and at least 21 overall victories in DFW races. ; Fiona Green, a regular contributor to this website and who won at least 15 masters titles and finished first overall at least 14 times.; Frances McKissick, who has rebounded from a health setback by collecting at least six overall victories and at least 15 masters awards.; Cathy Buchanan, last year's female masters of the year winner, who was sidelined at the end of 2013 but who won at least 11 masters and 7 overall titles.; and Sheila Natho, who always challenges who picked up at least 8 masters titles and 8 overall trophies.

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Ron Winzen back on top after two knee operations

By Fiona Green

ron winzenWhen runners suffer injuries they generally take time off and start back slowly. Depending on the severityrunner in the spotlight logo of the injury they may decide to retire from the sport and take up something that is easier on the joints. Imagine having not one but two knee operations. It would be enough to have most people hanging up their shoes and checking out lap swimming times at their local pool.

Ron Winzen (shown in photo on left with his son RJ, who ran the Cowtown marathon in 3:15:01) is not like most people, though. The 51-year-old was determined not to let a couple of operations stand in the way of him enjoying the sport he loves. Instead of giving up, he simply modified his training and adjusted his attitude. 

I first met Ron at a 10K race in Keller in 2009. I was lucky enough to win the overall female title that day when he won overall male. Because the organizers had failed to order two trophies, Ron insisted I take his, despite the fact that the race was his first in 27 years -- a true gentleman.

At this time, Ron was running on average 40-50 miles per week. Everything changed for him on July 15th, 2011. Here's what happened in his own words.

'''I  felt an unbelievable pain in my right knee at the start of a 6-mile loop. I had never had any issue with my right knee before. I had felt a little pain/pinch in my left knee every once in a while since early 2009. The following Saturday I ran 3 miles easy and a strong 8 in Grapevine, averaging 6:56s for the last 7 without any issues. When we stopped to have coffee, I could hardly walk. When I got up, I realized that my right knee had swollen almost an inch on both sides. The diagnosis was that over time, due to my bowed legs, I had cracked about an inch in diameter of cartilage from the inside of my femur and I had torn the meniscus. 

'''I was able to see Dr. Daniel Cooper, a knee specialist and the Cowboy's Team doctor, and he confirmed the original diagnosis. He said he could repair the cartilage by preforming a procedure called a micro-fracture. (Poking about 20 holes in my bone where there was no cartilage and allow bone marrow to back fill the void.) He would also clean up the meniscus. He noticed I was bow-legged and said he would like to straighten my step by adding a 10mm bone wedge to the top of my tibia, right below the joint. This procedure, an osteotomy, would change the angle of my leg and displace more that 60% of my weight to the outside of my knee as long as my knees are bent and I don't land on my heels.

On September 20, 2011, my wife's and my 25th wedding anniversary, I had the surgery on my right leg. My very supportive wife spent that night in the hospital with me. Before surgery I ran 2.2 miles with my son RJ and my brother, Ken. The next day ended a 30-year, 298-day streak of not missing a day of running at least 1 mile since November 26, 1980. That was a very tough day for me.''

Eight weeks later, Ron started walking and then began rehab, starting off riding a stationary bike and doing weight training. On December 24, 2011, he walked 2 miles with his wife, Dondi, at a 17-minute pace and said it was painful.  The following March, he finally ran a mile in a little under 9 minutes. He continued to walk and occasionally run a little until it wasn't uncomfortable.

Five months later, he and RJ ran a mile together before he had the same procedures done on his left knee. He started back with rehab and by late December he had already run his first mile. 

Last May, he started a new running streak and has consistently run 1-3 miles with RJ every day. He has gradually increased his mileage to 9 miles and also has been working on his speed. Anxious to see how he would fare in a race, he registered for the Cowtown 5K in February. Despite concerns about how his knees would handle the heavy pounding, everything went well. He covered the course in 19:17, finishing first in the 50-54 age group and he was thrilled. Racing again after such a long break felt amazing and actually brought tears to his eyes.

When asked what kept him sane during those long months of relative inactivity, he explained he simply focused on the future and credits his wife, son and daughter Tiffany Reese for their unwavering support.

As for the future, he plans to continue to run 5Ks and might attempt a 10K when he feels his body is ready.

We wish him the best of luck and congratulate him on an incredible comeback.

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Share your race experiences -- good, bad or ugly

Runners, like golfers, usually like to relive their greatest and sometimes not so greatest moments. Most have some interesting stories and experiences that need to be shared. Or maybe there is a favorite race that others should know about and you'd like to spread the word. So do it. Tell your tale on this form. Include some pictures if you want. So, what could be easier except for having me write it for you? If it takes more than one form to complete the report, just number each submission as Page 1, Page 2, etc.. Thanks, Charles Clines. Visit the Favorite or Interesting Event Reports.

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*-Note: If you've participated in a marathon and/or ultra and would like to have your name, time and finish noted here, please fill out this form and submit it.

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Notes: The Fort Worth Runners Club selected its award winners for 2013 Tuesday (March 4) at its annual awards party at The Cowtown office. Runners of the year were John Ross and Laura Nelson; most improved were Jose Loyola and Cathy Buchanan; sponsor of the year was RunTIME Racing Services; and top volunteers who were not board members were Michael Polansky and Lynda Parra..... Enoch Nadler, 26, of Richardson qualified for the Olympic Trials in the marathon in Houston on Sunday morning. Enoch, 26, finished 22nd overall among the runners competing in the USA Half Marathon Championships with a 1:03:55. Males needed to finish in 1:05 or faster to qualify for the marathon trials. Two other area runners who finished and missed qualifying were Logan Sherman and Dawn Grunnagle, both this website's 2012 Runners of the Year. Logan finished with a 1:07:24 and Dawn a 1:16:18. The female qualifying time was 1:15 and faster. Elizabeth Eder already has qualified with a 2:42:37 at the Chicago Marathon....The Cowtown has awarded grants to more than 3,300 North Texas students. Each student will receive a pairing of running shoes and assistance to go toward an entry into the Feb. 2014 event. The number of awards increased by 1,200 from 2012. ''Every runner's participation in The Cowtown helps support The Cowtown C.A.L.F. (Children's Activities for Life & Fitness) Program, and we are very appreciative of the community's support for this great activity,'' Cowtown board chairman David Williams said in a prepared news release. Read rest of the release. The Active Joe has entered into a three-year commitment to support the Western States Endurance Run as a sponsor for 2014-2016. The Active Joe, owned by former DRC president Libby Jones, produces the New Year's Double, the Fairview Half Marathon and the Showdown Half Marathon. Read more about Active Joe's sponsorship...The GE Irving Marathon, which was April 15, moved from the Campion Trail site to the Irving Convention Center to provide more space for the event. Besides the marathon, there is a half, 10K, 5K and 1-mile fun run....The late Don Zetnick, founder of The Runner retail store in Arlington and who was a dedicated runner, is among the four latest inductees to the Texas Distance Running Hall of Fame. The others are Jeff Roth, one of the top runners in the DFW area for several years and owner of a 2:19 marathon time; Brant Kotch, Houston Marathon race director; and Harold Wilson, 80, of Tyler, the fastest 80-over finisher at the Boston Marathon with a 3:53:54 in 2013. The Cowtown, which features multi race distances, was chosen as the top race of 2013. The inductees were announced by Texas Runner-Triathlete News and TexStats.