I happen to be one of those runners who loves to race. Always have. And the distance I love to race the most is the half marathon. I’m certainly not alone in my affinity for the half as it is the fastest growing road race distance. In 2014, more than 2 million of us finished a half which is an all-time high and more than triple what it was 10 years ago.
That Boston is the greatest marathon in America (much less the world) is pretty much incontrovertible. It's the oldest marathon, held on the same historic course and played out in front of wildly enthusiastic crowds that absolutely lives for Patriot's Day. Boston is the one race every marathoner dreams of running and I've always felt every marathoner should get that chance once - qualifier or not.
The Austin Marathon means a lot of different things, but one of the best aspects of the race is its charity-driven tradition. There are 25 official charities that take part in Austin and raise funds, boosted in no small part by the Moody Foundation which matches all donations up to $10,000 for each charity.
Paul Perrone, one of the long-time stalwarts of our running and triathlon community, is heading out of town soon for a new job. I mention this because Paul is someone who has run the gamut from top college at UTSA and open runner (a sub-four minute miler) to shoe company rep to race director to owner of his own rep agency. He is truly one of the good guys who would give you the shirt (and jacket) off his back.
As we approach the final weeks of ownership of the Austin Marathon (February 14) by Conley Sports, the future of the race is still very much undecided. The number one question that so many Austin marathoners have (judging by the number of times I was asked last Sunday at the 3M Half) is whether or not the new owners of the race—High Five Events—will make substantive changes to the course in time for the 2017 race.
I was down in Houston last weekend for the marathon and there were so many Austinites in evidence cheering and running (more than 450 ran), felt like I never left home. I don't know whether anyone from High Five Events was there taking notes, but hope someone was in Houston paying close attention. (High Five purchased the Austin Marathon last fall from John and Stacey Conley and will be taking over the race next year.)
I hate to train. Really, I do. Can’t stand stomach it. While I’m at it, I also despise working out and absolutely never run workouts. Never. Don’t get me wrong: I love running. Probably just as much as you do. But what I despise is the “training” word. Maybe it’s a case of semantics, but I equate training and working out with...work.
On the New Year's Day runs and long runs last weekend, there was a lot of chatter about New Year's Resolutions, but I didn't hear many runners - actually any - who had made a single one. It seems those types of annual resolutions are for other people to make, not us. The old stand-byes of starting an exercise program, quitting smoking, losing weight, running a marathon, ad nauseam - just doesn't seem to float with too many of us.
Tell me if this hasn't happened to you: You and/or your training group follow a hard long run with a few short laps around the parking lot just to even out the mileage on your GPS because a round number and looks a lot better than say 18.7.
After finishing the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon on Sunday and dawdling around in the Alamodome parking lot socializing for an hour or so, I jogged back to my hotel, backtracking along the course. I've always secretly hated these guys who finish a race way ahead and seem to be taunting me by doing their cool downs on the course while I'm still struggling to the finish. On Sunday, I was that guy.
I try not to get too political in this forum, but after yet another massacre, it's impossible to think of anything else this morning. The politicians in the bag of the NRA have been quick to comment and caution us against over reaction and how now is not the time to talk about banning the type of automatic weapons and armor-piercing bullets like so many of our mass murderers use to slaughter children and so many others caught in their cross hairs.
Can running make us smarter? Sadly, the answer is no. Running or any exercise (or even smart water) can't contribute to exceeding whatever our innate intelligence is. I've been running most of my entire life, but my innate intelligence still hovers around Cro-Magnon man.Can running make us smarter? Sadly, the answer is no. Running or any exercise (or even smart water) can't contribute to exceeding whatever our innate intelligence is. I've been running most of my entire life, but my innate intelligence still hovers around Cro-Magnon man.
The University of Texas has a long, distinguished track history and, over the years, has won 11 NCAA team championships. But UT has never been a distance power comparable to such historically strong programs such as Oregon, Stanford, Colorado, Wisconsin or Arkansas.
Tuesday's announcement of the sale of Conley Sports, which has owned and directed the Austin Marathon for nine years, to locally owned High Five Events, was met with a mixture of relief and sadness by the Austin running community. Sorry to see John and Stacey Conley sold their marquee event, but elated that the race is remaining in the capable, experienced hands of the High Five crew.
One of the aspects I like the most about marathoning is you can't fake it. Unlike other sports where you can make a lucky basket, get a fluke hit or just happen to connect on a great drive or putt, there is no luck involved in the marathon.