Friday, December 07, 2012

Napoleon Ultra - final results

100% completed the 230-mile, 7-day stage race. Outstanding efforts from all runners, whose average age was 55. Jenni and Christian showed great class, consistency and experience to lead the field.

Successfully completing her first stage run was the youngest runner Rachel Wasilewski; her previous longest week's running was only 70 miles! Klaus Neumann will go on to run the Dallas Marathon this Sunday. Everyone else will be relaxing and recovering.

Jenni de Groot (NL) 40hr07min
Christian Marti (CH) 44hr18min
Romain Valle (FR) 48hr36min
Dominique Chaillou (FR) 49hr45min
Klaus Neumann (DE) 50hr26min
Claire Secker (US) 51hr49min
Rachel Wasilewski (US) 53hr14min
Xavier Servel (FR) 56hr59min
Gérard Denis (FR) 57hr25min

It has been a privilege and a pleasure to get the whole group from Moscow to Paris (Texas). Huge thanks to the volunteers - Nicole, Klaus-Dieter, Anneke, Ursula, and my fantastic son Rob.

Location:Paris, Texas

Napoleon Ultra - photos from Paris, Texas

Napoleon Ultra - nearly done!

Awards ready!

Napoleon Ultra - last day

Before the start:

...and the Emperor and Emporess pass some time before running:

Napoleon Ultra - final day!

Yesterday's 42 mile stage was long and difficult for some of the runners...but everyone got it done! The weather was close to perfect, the road had a good shoulder, and the traffic wasn't too heavy. The finish was in the surprisingly beautiful main square of Sulphur Springs, now decorated dramatically for Christmas.

100% finishing in Paris today was our goal. Barring unforeseen problems, we will successfully achieve that rare ultra stage running goal.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Napoleon Ultra - day 6 finish

Jenni victorious again in beautiful downtown Sulphur Springs:

Napoleon Ultra - end in sight

Halfway today...

...38 miles more tomorrow.

Napoleon Ultra - day 6

Our race leaders Jenni (NL) and Christian (CH) at the start this morning, preparing to take on our longest stage of 43.2 miles (69.5km) to Sulphur Springs:

150 miles completed over the last five days. Tomorrow's final stage of 38.3 miles (62km) into Paris is almost in sight for all nine very tough runners!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Napoleon Ultra - latest photos

Jenni with her roadside "trophy":

Ursula finishing:

Romain and Christian finishing:

Klaus' non-matching shoes and socks (don't try this at home, kids!):

Chauffeur service to our Mill Creek park cabins:

Napoleon Ultra - day 5 results

Five days done, and still 100% have survived! Cumulative times thus far:

Jenni de Groot (NL) 26:18.45
Christian Marti (CH) 29:33.33
Romain Valle (FR) 30:22.10
Dominique Chaillou (FR) 31:49.18
Klaus Neumann (DE) 31:52.13
Rachel Wasilewski (US) 31:55.05
Claire Secker (US) 33:18.02
Xavier Servel (FR) 36:41.57
Gérard Denis (FR) 37:08.39

Napoleon Ultra - day 5 finish line

Like the sign says..."Leisure at its Finest"!

And tonight's dinner option:

Napoleon Ultra - day 5 underway

All nine runners plus stage runner Ursula left Athens this morning. Some aches and pains after 124 miles of running over the last four days...but today is short (26.4 miles), cool so far (64F / 18C), and the road has a wide, safe shoulder. It is Rt.19 all the way to Canton - getting lost will be tough.

We have set up aid station #1 in Meredith. The sign behind Nicole is significant - the French runners gorged themselves on Black Angus steaks in Athens last night!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Napoleon Ultra - day 4 photos

Napoleon Ultra - day 4 results

The day worked out well, despite some heat, narrow roads and traffic. Midway through, we had a welcome visit from Austin American Statesman journalist Pam LeBlanc.

Cumulative times thus far:

Jenni de Groot (NL) 21:47.10
Christian Marti (CH) 24:33.03
Romain Valle (FR) 25:21.40
Rachel Wasilewski (US) 25:37.35
Klaus Neumann (DE) 26:22.49
Dominique Chaillou (FR) 26:28.48
Claire Secker (US) 27:42.07
Xavier Servel (FR) 30:24.27
Gérard Denis (FR) 30:51.09

Jenni looks set to become our new Joséphine; Christian has mounted a strong challenge to become a latterday Napoléon.

Location:Athens, Texas

Napoleon Ultra - first blood

Claire managed to trip and fall this afternoon, but like the trooper she is kept on to the finish:

The last two weary warriors are now a mile from the finish. Some aches and pains (and blood!) today, but we stand at 100% still in the race after halfway. (Only 1/7th of Napoleon's army made it halfway, to Moscow, in 1812.)

Napoleon Ultra - nearly halfway

Whatever it takes to get to Paris...

Napoleon Ultra - Day 4 underway

37 miles ahead today. (Who knew? It's only 37 miles between Palestine and Athens!) The P'tite Armée is tired this morning but happy I think to be nearly halfway.

Maybe Napoleon would have had less problems had fluorescent clothing been invented?

Monday, December 03, 2012

Napoleon Ultra results - after Day 3

Jenni continues to run strongly and consistently. A battle royal for second place is developing between Romain, Rachel and Christian. Dominique and Klaus are running well, Claire is recovering from stomach issues, and Xavier and Gérard are getting the job done for France!

Jenni de Groot (NL) 15:12.17
Romain Valle (FR) 17:16.40
Rachel Wasilewski (US) 17:20.36
Christian Marti (CH) 17:24.43
Dominique Chaillou (FR) 18:23.48
Klaus Neumann (DE) 18:37.45
Claire Secker (US) 19:25.08
Xavier Servel (FR) 21:02.00
Gérard Denis (FR) 21:28.42

Four days to go - three longer stages and one shorter one (only 26.4 miles on Wednesday). Athens tomorrow, then Canton.

Napoleon Ultra - Day 3 underway

Nicole Denis and I await the runners at checkpoint 1, just north of Crockett, Texas. Everyone is in good spirits, and surviving the journey so far.

Tonight we will sleep in the very topically named Palestine, 34 miles from Crockett. This morning is cloudy and pleasant if a little humid, but temperatures will rise again later.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Napoleon Ultra - Day 2

First 7 finishers:








Napoleon Ultra - Day 2 halfway

Jenni was at the half-marathon point in 2hr10min. The last two runners are now through 13.1 miles in 2hr53min. A warm but very pleasant December day to be in East Texas!

Napoleon Ultra - Day 2 underway

From yesterday - Gérard (Gégé) Denis and Xavier Servel ring the bell to finish the first day:

Stage 2 has started where Stage 1 left off, everyone healthy and in good spirits. The road between Groveton and Crockett is straight and quite narrow...but it is Sunday, so traffic is light. The day so far is cool and cloudy, which is much appreciated by the runners.

Jenni de Groot is already leading again, and is running very comfortably. Everyone else has made a sensible, cautious start.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Napoleon Ultra day 1 results

A great effort from everyone on a very warm Texas day:

No major dramas, no bad injuries, and great support from Nicole, Klaus-Dieter, Bruce and Rob. Tomorrow will be another marathon-length day!

Napoleon Ultra - day 1 finish line

Note La Cloche de Nantes - the bell to be rung by each runner as they finish. Thanks to Dominique from, well, Nantes for the brilliant idea during his La Loire Intégrale race.

Napoleon Ultra day 1 halfway

First four places are the four women runners. Go ladies! A warm, sunny day - 25C, 77F - a bit too warm - but everyone is doing well so far.

Napoleon Ultra - and they're off!

After a large, leisurely breakfast, the runners were ferried to the start line in Moscow. Photos and calls of nature completed, the starting bell (la cloche de Nantes) was rung at about 9:50am, and things got underway.

The first runner, Jenni de Groot from Holland, is now approaching checkpoint 1.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmastime in Crockett

After a convivial send-off from the French Legation Museum (thanks again to Noel Freeze, its director, for her kindness and enthusiasm for our crazy project), we find ourselves this evening 190 miles north-east of Austin, in Crockett, Texas. We are staying at the wonderful Warfield House B&B, which is a veritable explosion of pre-Christmas cheer:

This is stage running grande luxe! Ten runners will toe the start line tomorrow in Moscow - 4 French, 2 Swiss, 2 American, a Dutch and a German. A leisurely 9:30am start time is dictated by our 7:30am breakfast seating. Quite the vacation!

Thanks again for support received from Rogue Running, Austin Runners Club and the FLM. Our European running guests are having a truly unique experience.

Napoleon Ultra Day 0

At least eight of the field are now assembled in Austin - race starts tomorrow in Moscow! Much French currently being spoken chez nous.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Austin Fit Magazine

Super piece about Napoleon Ultra by our good friend and excellent writer Leah Nyfeler. Find it at the Austin Fit website

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Napoleon Ultra - 3 days to go

Thanks to Rogue Running - to Erik, John, Chuck, and especially to Ruth and Carolyn - for all their Ultra-fantastic Napoleonic help and support. They have equipped our little army with a table for food, a cooler for water, and snappy drawstring Nike bags for our sweaty runners' clothes.

Good people!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lightnin' Hopkins and Crockett, Texas

Five days from now, the Napoleon Ultra heads off to our "base camp" in Crockett, 190 miles north-east of Austin.  An interesting sidenote is that Sam Lightnin' Hopkins frequently played there back in the day.  Lightnin' Hopkins was one of the classic blues figures my father introduced me to as a young kid, along with the likes of Brownie Terry, Sonnie McGee, Sonny Boy Williamson and Leadbelly.

According to the Houston Chronicle: 
Sam Hopkins was born in 1912 to a sharecropping family in Centerville, a few farms west of Crockett. His grandfather was a slave who hanged himself. His father, Abe, was a ruffian murdered after an argument over a card game.

In the 1930s Hopkins crisscrossed East Texas, playing for hat money in Buffalo, Brenham, Palestine, Leona and Crockett. On Camp Street, Crockett's hot entertainment district that somehow circumvented the county's prohibition on liquor, Hopkins found opportunity in music.

Hopkins served on a road gang for gambling and wrote up the experience in Penitentiary Blues. It was a song sung by many on Camp Street, where vice raids were commonplace. "When the police went in the front door, the gamblers were jumpin' all out the windows."
Conveniently, the jailhouse was down the street.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Groveton, Texas

The first stage of the upcoming Napoleon Ultra on December 1 will finish in Groveton, Texas.  Like much of Texas back in the early years of the state, Groveton has some pretty interesting history:

From the Cameron Herald, 2 May 1907

Shooting at Groveton

Last Friday, R. O. Kinley, an attorney, shot Texas State Ranger J. D. Dunaway six times. He also shot ex-county attorney Rabb, which he claimed was an accident. Neither man was killed on the spot. The shooting is an outgrowth of the killing of a Houston detective some time ago at Groveton.

Texas Governor Campbell had sent several rangers to Groveton to preserve order. Dunaway sent a masterfully understated telegram to the Governor saying: "Riot stopped. I am shot all to pieces. Everything quiet."