sfa state park

Why You Should Run the San Felipe Shootout… (or any other trail race)

Guest Blogger: Team TROT Ambassador Jennifer Lee


There are 1000 excuses NOT to run this race……It’s only a week away. I’m not trained enough. Trail running is too hard. I’ll trip on a rock. Houston is far away. No one will come with me.

Last year at this time, I had all those thoughts. I had only done a 15K trail race a few months earlier, but I had an ultra in April and figured this race would be good race day practice for gear preferences, drop bags, hydration, nutrition, etc. So I bit the bullet and signed up for the Shoot Out – so this race has a 5k, 10K and half-marathon option, but for those of us endurance junkies, you can sign up for all the above and combine them for a 22.4 miler aka the Shoot Out.

I was super excited to get on a new trail and get race day ready. Then it rained – all damn week leading up to the race. My friend who I was crashing with in Houston told me conditions didn’t seem bad and that the TROT folk (aka Rob) were just being cautious in the email that said it was muddy and to bring a change of clothes. When I pulled into Stephen Austin park morning of I saw giant puddles EVERYWHERE.

As we crossed the start line into muddy terrain and sliding into one another, we had instant comradery. Something that happens often between runners, but way more on the trails. Maybe it’s being caked in mud struggling to stay on your feet, but falling into the persons butt in front of you. Then having them land on top of you when they try to help you up.

I fell in line with TROT ambassador Stephen Moore for the start and he regaled me with fun racing stories and urged me to try to qualify for Leadville (haha at my second ever trail race). He told me all about TROT and why he loves it and runs with them. Inspired me to pick up my pace – I was cruising, till I approached what looked like a river crossing. There was a leprechaun on a Finding Nemo float (aka John Stasulli) in the middle to direct us back to shore.

I trudged/ran/swam my way over and climbed up a tree to get out. Then I kept running. With each loop of the race water rose higher and higher. I thought about quitting, wondering why I was running through hell and high water (almost literally) when no one was making me. But honestly, I was having so much fun sliding around with everyone, talking laughing, chugging Oreos, gummy bears and pickles and other “fuel” at the aid stations. Also, there is my competitive side that wanted to prove I could do it and enjoys the challenge. I saw Stephen and the rest of my new friends at loops and we cheered each other on – how could I quit? And why would I?

When I climbed out of the water and across the finish line, the feeling was AMAZING. Got hugs from my new best friends including Rob, the director. Glanced down at my watch, which I hadn’t looked at all day because I didn’t give a damn about pace and just about staying afloat. I realized with all the jumping around mud I clocked in a good 26.5 miles. I was shocked to learn I finished in the top 25 because I hadn’t even considered this a “race.”

Getting on the trails with this group is more like a social event. One that inspired me to become a TROT ambassador thereafter. It gave me confidence for my ultra and for life. You learn to take changing tides in stride and keep going to the finish. You get comfortable with uncomfortable – heat rash, water, blisters, whatever.  And best of all, you have a cheering section around every bend and very muddy sweaty hugs at the finish that only a fellow trail runner can appreciate.

So for all those excuses….

It’s only a week away. SO WHAT STILL TIME.

I’m not trained enough. RUN THE 5K OR JUST TRY IT. WALK IF YOU NEED. JUST GO.

Trail running is too hard. YES. BUT ALSO VERY FUN AND ADDICTIVE.


Houston is far away. MAYBE. BUT WORTH IT.


San Felipe Shootout Post Race Review

San Felipe Shootout Post Race Review

The San Felipe Shootout 2016 was most remembered for the chest deep water crossings, the active wildlife and adults acting like children.

The week of the race the Stephen F Austin State Park which borders by the Brazos River took in over 12 inches of rain and the upstream countries water poured into the park. The course was marked on Thursday with only shin deep water but by Friday that had moved to waist deep. The park received additional rain Friday night and so the course was again changed Saturday morning right before the start. 

The San Felipe Shootout consists of a 5k, 10k and 13.1 mile races all run individually. There is a shootout option which allows you to run all 3 and then we combine the times for them. 

Team TROT runner Jeff Ball who last year's runner-up stayed out in front of all the 3 races capturing wins in the 5k, 10k and 13.1 marathon. Steven Moore never let Jeff out of sights and finished just behind him in all of the races as well. Andre Fuqua who was 2nd at Horseshoe Trail Run recently ran a strong 3rd to finish 3rd in the shootout as well. 

Team TROT runner Tracie Akerhielm was 2nd last year in the shootout and was determined to take the win. She won the 5k, 10k and 13.1 thus capturing the Shootout Crown. Jenna Jurica stayed strong all day through the 3 events and captured the 2nd place Shootout title. Only 10 minuted separated the 3rd-4th females between all the 3 races but Jennifer Heghinian hung strong to get the 3rd place spot. 

The Shootout 5k,10k and 13.1 Combined Results HERE

Results on Ultrasignup

Photos from Event: Facebook

San Felipe Shootout Final Results

San Felipe Shootout Results

Trail Racing Over Texas had an amazing time this past weekend on March 28th as Stephen F Austin played host to the San Felipe Shootout. With its unique format of 3 races in one day the races started at 7:00, 8:00 and 10:30 on the dot. 

The 5k started right at 7am and before you could blink an eye the runners where head back in the finish. The Winner Cal Neff came in at 18:55 followed by Jeff Ball, 1st Female Tracie Akerhielm, 3rd male Jeff Miller, 2nd female Kate Papenberg as well. 

The 10k started at 8am and again Cal Neff a 2:22 marathoner sprinted in with the win at 38:07 followed by the familiar gang of Jeff Ball, Tracie Akerhielm, Jeff Miller, Daniel Bucci and Kate Papenberg.

The 13.1 half marathon kicked off at 10:30 and the sun started to shine on the runners. The ice buckets, the sponges came out to make sure the runners stayed cool as they ran around the park. Cal Neff set out to fly on the half marathon and win the overall male shootout as well. Cal came in at 1:11:15 followed by the usual suspects with Jeff Ball, Kate Papenberg, Daniel Bucci, Tracie Akerhielm and Jeff Miller. 

The trails stayed in amazing shape all day long and our use of a cupless racing system kept the trails in phenomenal shape as well. Many local running groups like Galloway Running, Houston Area Trail Runners, Team RWB, Runners High, USA FIT Cypress, Golden Triangle Strutters and many other teams came out to support the event. With over 315 registered runners for this 1st year race we had an amazing day on the trails of Stephen F Austin State Park. 

The final results for the top 5 men and women in the Shootout (5k, 10k and 13.1 Combined) are all below. 

Male Overall Winners

  1. Cal Neff (Team TROT) 2:08:19
  2. Jeff Ball ( Team TROT) 2:18:14
  3. Daniel Bucci 2:31:10
  4. Jeff Miller (Team TROT) 2:31:45
  5. Kenneth Latterle 2:37:23

Female Overall Winners

  1. Kate Papenberg 2:23:05
  2. Tracie Akerhielm (Team TROT) 2:26:05
  3. Melinda Coen (Team TROT) 2:52:26
  4. Becky Nesbitt 2:56:55
  5. Leslie Cislo 2:57:53

Thank you again to all of our amazing sponsors who support our events and provide great products for our runners. Altra Running, Bearded Brothers, Hammer Nutrition, Epic Bar, Rhythm Superfoods, Mark Kenney and Associates, Trail Toes, Victory Sportsdesign, Team RWB, Luke's Locker, Trail Runner, Road ID and Spring Action Photos for taking pictures.

Here is a link to the pictures taken with Spring Action Photos 

Here are the free photos we took on facebook or dropbox

We look forwarding to seeing you all at our next race the Brazos Bend 50 on April 25th