Trophy Series Roundup: Sombreros, ‘Staches and a Whole Lot of Rain

In this second week of the Trail Runner Trophy Series, presented by Altra Running, four races took place, all in the South.

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In this second week of the Trail Runner Trophy Series, presented by Altra Running, four races took place, all in the South.

On Saturday, hundreds of runners raced at the Land Between the Lakes in Grand Rivers, Kentucky; the Bel Monte Endurance Run in Charlottesville, Virginia; Dances with Dirt in Dade City, Florida; and the San Felipe Shootout in San Felipe, Texas.

Here are a few of the happenings at this week’s Trophy Series races, plus winners from the weekend’s races, below.

Texas Deluge

Think Texas, and you probably think dry and dusty. Well, think again.

Last week, Stephen F. Austin State Park, outside Houston, got 12 inches of rain between Tuesday and Wednesday, with continued rainfall through Friday, according to race director Rob Goyen.

Goyen was paying close attention; his San Felipe Shootout races—a trail half-marathon, 10K and 5K—would take place that Saturday in the park. “Despite the conditions we had 450 runners register, and sold out the race two days prior,” he says.

And what conditions they were. “I had to re-mark the course on Friday due to neck-high water,” he says. “Runners had to go through chest-high crossings in different spots, assisted by volunteers.”

From what we can see in pictures from the race, it just added to the fun.

Sombreros and ‘Staches

The post-race revelers at this weekend’s Bel Monte Endurance Runs included three brothers in sombreros and fake mustaches.

The brothers are Charlie, Bill and Ray Markunas, 57, 55 and 50, respectively. Charlie lives in Connecticut, Bill in Virginia and Ray in New Jersey, but every year they get together for a shared trail race.

For the last three years, that’s been the Bel Monte events, a 25K, 50K and 50-miler in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.

“We all share a love of being outdoors, in the woods and mountains,” says Charlie. As for the costumes? “It just came about.”

He recalls that Bill came up with their “Three Amigos” theme, inspired by the 1986 comedy of that name. Says Charlie, “As Bill puts it, he is Martin Short, Ray is Chevy Chase and I am Steve Martin.”

The sombrero-and-stache thing isn’t for racing. “Unfortunately, sombreros do not fare well on trails,” says Charlie. “The staches do OK, but get cumbersome, and if you’re sweating pretty good …”

Like so much else in our quirky niche sport, what seems at first blush silly and fun belies a seriousness of purpose. The brothers run for charity, and their costumes are a way of garnering more attention to those causes.

This year, Bill ran for ALS, Ray for Parkinson’s and Chrohn’s, inspired personal connections to those diseases. Charlie ran to raise breast-cancer awareness, and donned a pink mustache—”dedicated,” he says, “to my wife, who has battled cancer this year—and is kicking its ass.”

Did you hear about any great stories at a Trophy Series race this week? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter or in the comments!

The Weekend’s Winners

Land Between the Lakes


  • Troy Shellhamer, Louisville, KY
  • Alicia Heyne, Louisville, KY (3rd overall)


  • Travis Lavin, Maryland Height, MO
  • Alexis Eldridge, Clarksville, TN (7th overall)


  • David Riddle, Cincinnati, OH
  • Marcy Ambler, Cape Girardeau, MO (13th overall)


  • Tim Hall, Bowling Green, KY
  • Rachel Noirot, Bloomington, IN (21st overall)

Bel Monte Endurance Run


  • Brian Pickett
  • Natalie Pickett


  • Keith Parrella
  • Nora O’Malley


  • Joshua Rogers
  • Diana Johnson

Dances with DIRT Florida


  • Kirsten Hite, Lakeland, FL (1st female, 1st overall)
  • Brett Bush, Oak Park, IL (1st male, 2nd overall)


  • Keith Gelzenis, Indian Harbour Beach, FL
  • Anissa Faulkner, Ojai, CA (2nd overall)


  • Matt Parrish, Tampa, FL
  • Katlyn Eble, Dade City, FL (2nd overall)

San Felipe Shootout


  • Jeff Ball, Duncanville, TX
  • Tracie Akerhielm, Duncanville, TX (3rd overall)


  • Jeff Ball, Duncanville, TX
  • Tracie Akerhielm, Duncanville, TX (5th overall)


  • Jeff Ball, Duncanville, TX
  • Tracie Akerhielm, Duncanville, TX (4th overall)

Altra Running is now the fourth-largest trail-running shoe brand sold in running specialty and have three of the top seven trail-running shoes, according to data from NPD: Altra Lone Peak, Superior and Olympus.

Altra’s running-shoe innovations are born from long hard runs in the Wasatch Mountains, just minutes from Altra’s Utah headquarters. Founder Golden Harper, a former All-American runner who loves to race trails and run to the top of difficult summits, invented a cushioned Zero Drop shoe and a foot-shaped toe box, features that are now found on every Altra shoe. Co-founder and VP of Sales Brian Beckstead finished UTMB and the Wasatch 100 in 2015 and will race Eco-Trail Oslo and Hardrock 100 in 2016. Altra®Footwear and iFit® technology are registered trademarks of ICON Health & Fitness, the world’s leading health and fitness innovator, based in Logan, Utah.

Follow @AltraRunning and #ZeroLimits on TwitterInstagram and Facebook. PR Contact: Colleen Logan, VP Marketing,

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