3 Days of Syllamo Preview

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Three Days of Syllamo is the only stage race hosted in The Natural State.  For some it is a yearly pilgrimage to the land of the unknown, Arkansas.  Last year, 31 runners completed the stage. Others opted to do one or two days.  It wouldn’t be surprising if most chose the first day (50k) and third day (20k) as opposed to any combination of the second day (50 mi.).  For a recap of last year’s shenanigans, check out my summary of each day.

Of the 31 that completed the stage, 13 are returning this year.  Back-to-back overall winner, Nick Lewis will not be defending his title.  Rumor has it he will be cooking instead.  I’ll assure you he cooks as well as he runs.  At the time of this writing, 111 are signed up for the stage this year from 15 states.   Any guesses on how many will complete the stage?

Female favorites

Ashley Nordell returns for her sixth year.  She’s been the first female every year she’s made the trip. She’s clearly the female favorite. Her husband, Joshua will be accompanying her.  He’s no stranger to 3 Days of Syllamo.  In 2008, the Nordell’s swept the titles.

Syllamo Favorite, Ashley Nordell
Syllamo Favorite, Ashley Nordell

Other females to be on the lookout for:

  • Ellen Byron (Urbana, IL)
  • Katie DeSplinter (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Susan Donnelly (Oak Ridge, TN)
  • Sarah Flores-Valdez (San Antonio, TX)
  • Katie Helms (Fayetteville, AR)
  • Liza Howard (San Antonio, TX)
  • Stacey Shaver-Matson (North Little Rock, AR)

Male favorites

With Nick Lewis not running, who is the male favorite? There are plenty of runners with experience on the trails.  PoDog Vogler is fresh off an Arkansas Traveller 100 Slam (Western States 100, Vermont 100, Leadville Trail 100, Wasatch Front 100, and Arkansas Traveller 100). Needless to say he was busy last summer and fall. He’s never won the 3 Days of Syllamo, but has performed well in the 4 years he’s done it.

As I mentioned earlier, Joshua Nordell has won before and Paul Schoenlaub has two victories.  Along with Stuart Johnson, Paul is the only other person to complete the stage every year since the race’s inception.  Will Joshua or Paul add to their wins this year?

Other males to be on the lookout for:

  • Jake Anderson (Wake Village, TX)
  • Ben Creehan (Springfield, MO)
  • James Holland (Memphis, TN)
  • Damian Nathaniel (Richmond, IN)
  • Robert Wehner (Hubertus, WI)

Weather

The unpredictability of the weather in Arkansas forces one to be prepared for almost anything.  The temperature this weekend looks to be in the mid to upper 70s for Friday and Saturday.   Sunday plummets into the 50s and brings with it the possibility of rain.  It was drizzly last year on Sunday.  That will add some difficulty to the course.  On the bright side, runners will not have any confusion or uncertainty of the start time for Sunday’s 20k.  Last year, daylight saving time left some pondering.

Courses

The race director mixes it up every year by modifying the course.  According to the race update, the 50k is a new course primarily on the Syllamo Trails again going through Sick Rock Hollow (although downhill this year) and finishing up on the Sylamore Trail. The 50-mile is on both the Sylamore and Ozark Highlands Trails and is the same course as ran in 2010, very rough and rocky.  The 20k is the same as last year, yet reversed.

I know the runners will be smiling as they tackle the course.  Katie Childs will be capturing greatness on the trails with her camera.  Jonathan Childs will be shooting video footage for a short documentary on 3 Days of Syllamo.  Anyone want to be famous or infamous?  Here’s a good opportunity.

Wrap-up

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I wish everyone involved with this race whether running, pacing, cheering, volunteering, cooking, etc. the best.  It’s going to be a great weekend!  Just enjoy being outside in Arkansas!

When I’m not running, volunteering, or writing, you can usually find me lurking on Twitter @absolut_zer0 or blogging at ICEdot Athletes.

 

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