Capt’n Karls Night Trail Race 20k – Frank Fisher

Race: Capt’n Karls Night Trail Races 20k

Runner: Coach Frank Fisher

Race Date: 06/25/2022

Location: Johnson City, TX

Results: 6th place 1:54:40

Strava Activity Link:

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

I like the night race, that was a fun experience. Lots of stars once the sun went down. Pretty good turnout and a nice setup. Course marking was excellent and easy to see.

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

It was HOT! 96* at 8:30 PM. Very dusty, been a long time since we had some rain in these parts. The longer distance races were running opposite direction on the same trails and getting lights shined in your eyes is no fun.

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

Maybe not weird, but definitely a product of our horrible hot and dry summer, was the fine dust particles just hanging in the air. It was really thick in some places and made for some interesting visual effects with the headlamps going about.

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

Highlight #1, did not fall or twist an ankle! It’s a fairly rocky course and my headlamp is not the greatest, so staying upright was awesome. I paced it pretty well and beat my goal time coming in. I was able to pass a lot of people on the second loop and managed to keep my core temp under control despite the warm conditions. I did start to overheat towards the very end, but I dialed it back and reset my pace a little bit and that got me to the finish.

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

Be smart in the heat. Start conservative and make sure you are well hydrated before you get to the start line. Keep drinking throughout the race and have some sort of cooling strategy ready. Be aware you will likely be slower if you’re not used to running in high temps. Good lights make a big difference on this course. There’s quite a few rocky and rutted sections that you will want to be able to see well once it gets dark.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I thought I could get away with my current headlamp, but I will have to get something more substantial for future races. Other peoples’ super bright lights were casting shadows over me and my little headlamp, which made it a lot harder to see what was in front of my feet.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

It’s rocky and rutted in places. Even though it’s a fast course as far as trail races go, it’s easy to get caught by some loose sharp rocks. I saw quite a few people eat it and/or turn ankles. Be ready for it to still be warm even with a late start.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Typical Texas hill country, although it would normally be greener at this time of year, it’s a pretty area. Not a lot of views on this course, but once the sun goes down the stars are amazing!

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

No, not a tough course at all. Potentially a very fast course. Uphills are very modest and downhills are gradual so you can really rip it. The hardest thing for me was the heat.

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

Well run. Tejas Trails put together an excellent race. Course was well marked, very smooth packet pick up, plenty of port-o-potties, race results posted quickly.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Much larger race than anticipated with some good runners. There are several different distances racing at the same time so it gets a little hard to tell who you’re racing against, but I thought there were plenty of good runners to keep you working hard.

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.

Easy to sign up for. Not too far out of town so an easy drive. Camping and day pass comes with registration so you can camp out after the race if you like. Plenty of parking. Great race for locals.

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

Seemed like standard fair. Only one aid on the 10k loop, and I’m not totally sure what was there since I didn’t stop on either of my two loops, but the start/finish aid was well stocked. Tailwind and water, oranges, cookies, chips, all the good stuff.

Weather and typical race conditions

Normally a little bit cooler this time of year. This just happened to be one of the hotter days we’ve had in this La Nina summer of hell. I think 104 was the daytime high, and as mentioned…around 96 at race start. I would think normal race conditions would be mid 80’s.

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

Good lights, plenty of water and a cup for aid stations (cupless race).

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yep. Very easy to get around the course. Plenty of stuff going on at the start/finish, and a kids race (my girls were upset that I did not take them once they found out there was a kids race). Food trucks and beer also, nice chill atmosphere with plenty of people hanging around.

How’s the Swag?

Pretty medal. Not much else.

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

I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars. Well run event, kind of pricey for what it is. Not the most challenging or aesthetically beautiful course, but it’s what we got. Great event to get some miles in, distances all the way up to 60k. Solid local race.

Frank is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with him, check out his coaching page.