Bryant places third in 100km mountain run
Jason Bryant, an accomplished mountain runner from Elkin, added another stellar performance to his resume over the weekend.
Bryant placed third in the USA 100K Trail Championships, held Saturday just outside of Bandera, Texas. His time of 8:57:19 was one of four that beat the existing course record.
Dave Mackey, 41, of Boulder, Colo., won the race in 8:16.48 — shattering the former course standard by more than an hour.
Bryant also finished third in the 2008 and 2009 USA 100K Trail Championships. This was Bryant’s sixth third-place showing in a national championship trail or ultra-marathon type event since 2007.
“I feel God has blessed me just to run such races,” Bryant said. “But I make no apologies for being a competitor. I was hoping for a higher finish … I keep hoping to move up a couple of places, but I seem to be a third-place man.”
Bryant described the Texas hill country course as hilly and rough, making it tough to get solid footing. Runners had to complete a pair of 50K loops.
“The technicality of the course just eats your legs up,” Bryant said. “I like highly technical courses, so I felt it was a good course for me. I had decided to take a little more risk at this race, trying to take a shot at the win. I went out faster than I normally would, but all the top guys went out absurdly fast, as we talked about afterwards.”
Bryant raced in sixth or seventh position most of the first 50K. He moved into fourth around the 24th mile. One runner dropped out and that left Bryant in third place. He fought off another runner to hold on to third place by 23 seconds.
“The second loop was just surviving and fighting to keep third,” Bryant said. “The guy behind me stayed within two minutes or less for the last 37 miles. I told myself, ‘No regrets’ throughout. This race was about taking a calculated risk and then paying the price if necessary. Which I am still paying the price and will be for a few days. I am absurdly sore, but life needs to include a few calculated risk from time to time.”
Bryant is hoping to recover in time to make a run at the 50-mile trail championships in March. That race will be in Texas as well.
Bryant’s wife, Alison, also ran in the 100K race. She dropped out at the 50K mark because of stomach issues, Jason said. “One of the top guys had to drop for the same reason,” Bryant said.
For more information on the race or the sport of ultra-running, visit http://www.usaultrarunning.com.