Bandera 100k Race Report – Olin Berger

Race: Bandera 100k

Runner: Olin Berger

Race Date: 01/05/2019

Location: Camp Eagle, Texas

Results: 13 OA, 9:59:51

Strava Activity Link:

bandera 100k race report

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  1. Set in beautiful hill country
  2. Great course markings and use of a small space for a big race
  3. Great support from RD’s and volunteers

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

Felt like 80% of the course was on rocks or hard pack. The feet took a pounding.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

Nothing much out of the ordinary here.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

Not a great race for me. I tried to enjoy the scenery and learn lessons for the next one.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

  • Respect the course. I thought the minimal (in relation to many other ultras of the same distance) elevation would make Bandera much easier. But you still feel the climbs at the end and the hard pack and rocks really wear on you.
  • It’s January, but it still gets hot in TX, especially if you’re used to running in temperate climates.
  • An extra pair of shoes can be a big help. Just as a comfort for the feet or to switch to in case of a blow out.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

  • No matter how good you feel coming in, it’s going to feel bad at the end, be prepared.
  • Pacers can help you push yourself harder than you might on your own. Try to learn how to do the same without one.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Learn to run on rocks.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

  • Yes, beautiful Texas hill country. The course fits in a good amount of scenery in a small space.*
  • * – 2019 not run on the normal Bandera 100k course

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Coming into the race, I’d say no, especially in comparison to other courses with more elevation and/or technicality. But, at the end of the race, I’d tell you it’s plenty difficult.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Impressively well put-together, especially considering the very last minute venue change.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Very much so. Being a Golden Ticket race for Western States brings out the speed.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

Texas is big and races there can hold a lot of runners, so getting into the race is fairly easy. But the location is somewhat remote, so you’re either camping onsite or in for a longish drive the morning of the race.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?


bandera 100k race report

Weather and typical race conditions

Freezing in the morning, pretty hot (esp coming from Seattle in January) in the day, and back to cold as the sun starts to set.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?

Shoes that can protect you from pounding on rocks all day.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Absolutely. The course loops through most aid stations multiple times and the aid stations are a short distance (not via the course route) from each other.

How’s the Swag?

Standard. They go big for the top prizes though.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

It was certainly a different course than my standard and would be a good entry ultra given the lack of technicality. But it’s way out there in Texas, so you either have to really want to get to this particular race or have it be part of a larger trip.