2011 McDowell Mountain Frenzy Report

Jamil Coury Race Report


The 3rd annual McDowell Mountain Frenzy trail runs again featured 50 kilometer, 25 kilometer, 10 mile and 5 kilometer courses primarily on the rolling and technical competitive mountain biking tracks.  These courses feature tight banked turns, lots of rolling hills, desert wash crossings, and several “stunts” along the way to keep things interesting.  In its second year, the Frenzy 50K leaves the competitive tracks and heads out towards the foothills of the McDowell Mountains, turning around at the Dixie Mine.

Runners couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day, as the glow of dawn revealed a beautiful cloudless sky and cool temperatures.  The 50 K runners gathered just before the 7am start as Nick gave out the final race day instructions.  Next thing we know, over fifty 50 K runners are heading off on the sport loop!


By the time I saw the 50 K runners for the first time around mile 3, the front pack had already disintegrated as the front runners were really pushing the pace on the super runnable mountain biking courses.  Tony Delogne from Sedona was in the lead, followed closely by Fred Thompson from Helena, MT, Scot Bajer of Flagstaff, Michael McCorgary of El Paso, TX and Jeremy Schmuki of Tonopah.

As the day wore on and the quick pace took its toll, it was Fred Thompson who came through the start/finish area in 1st place after mile 26.  He came through in 3:11, but was trailed closely by the Flagstaff duo of James Willis in 3:13 and Scott Bajer in 3:14.  Michael McCorgary was just being them in 3:18.  It was ultimately Willis who pushed hard on the final 5 mile stretch to finish 1st in a new course record of 4:00, followed by Bajer in 4:03.

In the ladies race, Aravaipa team member Kat Metzger of Prescott led early on and came through mile 26 in 4:05 just a few minutes ahead of Chrissy Parks of Tucson.  Kat was able to hold off Chrissy in the final miles to finish just under 5 hours in 4:59:28.  Chrissy finished 2nd in a close 5:03 and Lori Hickernell was 3rd place in 5:31, bettering her ’10 finish by almost 15 minutes.

The 3rd edition of the Frenzy 25K produces some great competition and fast times, with new course records for both men and women.   Paul Kramer led early on for the men, but was chased closely by Stephen Hannaman of Scottsdale and Jules Miller of Madison, WI.  By mile 10, Jules had taken the lead, followed by Kramer, Kevin Tuck of Salt Lake City, UT, and Hannaman in 4th (all within 4 minutes of each other).  In the final 5 mile loop, they all maintained there positions, with Miller setting a new course record of 1:42:25, taking 2 minutes off of Ian Moore’s time from the inaugural running. Kramer and Tuck finished just 5 minutes back and within 20 seconds of each other!

The women’s race started with Lauren Besenfelder of Scottsdale taking the early lead followed closely by Brittney Orkney of Tucson.  Lauren was out of reach by mile 10, coming through in 1:16 and Brittany 4 minutes back. Lauren finished in a new course record of  2:00:44, taking over a minute off of Angie Kell-Robertson’s time from ’10.  Brittany finished just 4 mintues back, not losing any time in the final 5 miles.

The 10 mile Frenzy course takes runners on a combination of the Sport, Technical and Long loops.  The course is also the first loop of the 25 kilometer course.  This year ASU runner Josh Walker from Tempe won the men’s race with a new course record of 1:05:26, taking almost 4 minutes off the previous record. Boris Granovskiy from New Haven, CT finished second in 1:09 and Cam Hill (who won the inaugural MMF 10 mile) was third in 1:10:29.

Lisa Raykowski came away as the women’s winner by finishing in 1:23, 7 minutes ahead of second place Lindsay Cavner of Colorado Springs, Colorado.  This was Lisa’s second win at a DRT series race (she previously won the 10K at Cave Creek).

Last, but not least, the 5 kilometer race takes place exclusively on the sport loop.  Just 31 runners joined us this year, but we had a good battle up front between Dan Brinkman and Tim Merritt who finished just 22 seconds apart.  Unfortunately, the rest of the field took a turn down a service road, adding a bit of distance and time to their run.  Sarah Kuzmiak of Tempe was the first female finisher in 31:00.

We’d like to thank Rand Hubbell and the staff at McDowell Mountain Regional Park for their continued support of this event and for helping to deliver aid station supplies out on the course. Our amazing volunteers were an integral part of our aid station and on course support.  We’d like to thank Justin Lutick for not only staffing the Dixie Mine aid station but also sweeping the back half of the 50K course!

We have some exciting changes in store for next year’s McDowell Mountain Frenzy scheduled for December 8, 2012 including a new 5 mile course replacing the 5K and another surprise that we can’t quite announce yet!  Hope to see you all back in the desert in December!