Austin women set new running record on Wonderland Trail

12:00 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017 Lifestyle
gabe steger
Allison Macsas, left, and Mallory Brooks recently set a record for the fastest unsupported run on the Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier. Contributed by Gabe Steger

Two Austin runners recently set a new women’s time record on the 93-mile Wonderland Trail, cutting nearly 2 hours off the previous record set in 2012.

Allison Macsas and Mallory Brooks started their run early on a Monday morning in August and completed the loop around Mount Rainier together, without any outside support.

They aimed to break the 30-hour barrier. They did much more than that, finishing in 29 hours, 12 minutes and 25 seconds.

“The things we thought would be the biggest challenges — snow fields and washed-out bridges — turned out to be no big deal. At the last minute, we decided to run the loop opposite from last year, which means most of the elevation gain was in the second half of the run,” Macsas said. “The last few miles were definitely the most challenging, both physically and mentally. We knew we had the fastest known time, which made it easy to keep pushing forward. “

The women ran the opposite direction so they could navigate snow fields in the daylight, and also because they were familiar with the last half of the trail, making it easier to run through the night.

When they finished, they ate Nepali food and drank a beer, according to Gabe Steger, Macsas’ fiance. Then they showered and climbed into bed to rest. Sleeping is sometimes difficult after such a long run, he said.

Time records are kept in three divisions: supported, in which crew members can help a runner by providing food or shoes or anything they need; self-supported, in which a runner can cache food or mail packages to him or herself; and unsupported, in which a runner can only carry his or her own supplies or eat and drink what they find in the wild.

The women broke the record of 31 hours, 11 minutes and 56 seconds set by Candice Burt in 2012. That’s just over a 20-minute pace, on a rugged, single-track trail with 22,000 feet of elevation gain and loss.

Ready to run

The Running Event, where gear makers unveil their latest and greatest products to sports store owners, will return to Austin this November.

And nope, unless you’re in the business, you can’t attend. We’ll be there, though, taking notes and talking to industry experts about what’s new in the running world.

The show took place in Florida last year because of a scheduling conflict at the Austin Convention Center. This year’s four-day event, the largest running specialty trade show in North America, begins Nov. 28.

Browsing the aisles is like peeking at the gifts under the tree a month before the holidays. Shoes, clothing, wearable electronics that measure everything about your exercise routine, energy gels, lights, awards, jewelry and recovery drinks of all types are on display, and manufacturers are eager to chat about them.

Walter Robb, former chief executive officer of Austin-based Whole Foods, will compare apples to running shoes in his keynote address, where he will talk about the challenge running stores face from online sellers. Robb is now a director of the Container Store.

An estimated 2,700 industry professionals and more than 250 top running and running accessory brands will attend. Exhibitors include ASICS, Balega, Brooks Running, New Balance, Nike, On and Saucony.

It won’t be all business. Show attendees will square off at the Indie 5K on Nov. 30 to determine the fastest retailer in America. The race is one of the fastest 5Ks in the country.

Meb Keflezighi will receive lifetime achievement award at Best Running Stores in America Awards on Nov. 30.

Hot to trot

Early-bird registration for the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot has opened, and race organizers have announced the winner of the annual art contest.

The race takes place on Thanksgiving Day outside the Long Center for the Performing Arts. All proceeds go to Caritas of Austin, a nonprofit organization that supports Austin’s working poor and homeless. ThunderCloud has raised nearly $3 million for Caritas since the event began in 1991.

Early registration for the race is $20 for the untimed 5-mile run, $25 for the timed 5-mile run, $18 for the 1-mile walk and $8 for the Stepping Stone School Kids’ K. Registration prices will increase Oct. 11.

Jillian Collins wins 365 vouchers for a free sandwich for her watercolor painting of a turkey runner in front of the Texas Capitol topped with a sub sandwich, which will appear on more than 20,000 T-shirts as well as on social media, posters and event guides.

Collins learned about the contest two weeks before the deadline, spent a week thinking about her design and planning it, then created the artwork in a two-day burst of creativity, staying up until 4 a.m. to finish before the deadline.

Sign up at thundercloud.com/register.

New location for Castle Hill

Longtime Austin gym Castle Hill Fitness is opening a second location in the Davenport Village Shopping Center.

The club’s first location opened at 1112 N. Lamar Blvd. in 2002. The new location, next to Maudie’s Milagro at 3801 North Capitol of Texas Highway, formerly housed BB Fitness Studios.

Castle Hill acquired BB Fitness Studios and will retain its employees. Owner Susan Cooper is retiring after 34 years.

The new Castle Hill location includes a pool, hot tub and steam and sauna rooms, and will offer personal training, Pilates and yoga classes and massage.

“We look forward to continuing the promotion of health and community that currently exists at this location by partnering with staff, patrons and our new neighbors,” said Castle Hill President Clayton Aynesworth.

For more information, go to castlehillfitness.com.

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