Can’t wait to try out the brand-new 1.1-mile Boardwalk once it opens up for business on June 7th . I’ve looked at it longingly through every stage of construction and even tried to jump start things last Sunday by hopping on a section in back of Joe’s Crab Shack on Riverside. But I’m a little too old to jump fences and decided it might not be a wise thing to do. Guess I can wait another two weeks.
Like most of Austin’s runners, I’m not going to miss pounding the cracked sidewalk along Riverside and then, wait to cross over I-35, before connecting to the Butler Trail along Lake Shore. But I have gotten so used to the short, hilly climb on the sidewalk that I barely notice it anymore. On the weekends, the sidewalk gets crowded with long-run groups heading in both directions and the homeless guys at I-35 can get a little aggressive, but once the Boardwalk opens up, there will be so much more room and we can finally bypass 35 entirely.
To me, the opening of the Boardwalk will accomplish two things right off the bat: It will open up the east end of the trail to a lot more runners, especially women, who have avoided that section because of a safety issue. (At least I hope it does that.) The other advantage of the Boardwalk is sheer aesthetics. Instead of the rough sidewalk, traffic along Riverside and the grossness of crossing 35, we’ll now be able run on water! Or, nearly so.
The Boardwalk is just a few feet off the water and it will be an unmatched experience to run practically at lake level without worrying about the uneven sidewalk, exposed roots or traffic.
Our friends at The Trail Foundation have done such an incredible job getting this project done and on schedule. Hopefully, this will create an entirely new dynamic for Austin runners circling Lady Bird Lake.
I’m counting the days down.
- Our own Kelly Williamson has been one of the top rivals on the national circuit for several years, winning plenty of 70.3s (including a national championship), but until last Saturday’s Texas Ironman in The Woodlands, the 37-year-old had never won an IM. Williamson, who is originally from Indiana and swam collegiately at Illinois, was first woman out of the water (51:49), but gave it all away on the bike (5:03:51) which has never been a strength of her’s. But Kelly’s running off the bike sure is. One of the best pure runners among the pros, Williamson laid down a 2:54:46 marathon, by far a PR, to easily win in 8:54 which is also an IM best.
- Bevan Docherty was the overall winner of the Texas Ironman in 8:09:37, including a 2:49 marathon. (Interestingly, only five male pros ran faster than Williamson.) Brandon Marsh of Austin had a promising start with the fastest swim (46:38) of the day and one of the better bikes (4:28), but melted in the heat on the run (3:10) to drop back to eighth overall in 8:31:38.
- Congratulations to Bernard and Verra Manirakiza on the birth last Friday of their first child: Brielle Belle Manirakiza. Mom, daughter and dad are all doing well. Bernard now leads the training groups out of 1379 on Exposition
- David Fuentes was down in The Woodlands for the Texas IM race expo (he works for PowerBar) so he moseyed over to Houston for the Impact A Hero 5-K at Reliant Stadium and was the overall winner in 14:51. His Team Mizuno teammate Kiya Dandena of Houston was second in 15:23.
- Up in Pflugerville at the Deutschen Pfest 5-K, Aaron Contreras was the winner in 17:52, followed by Alex Salgado in 18:31 and Joe Croshaw in 19:03. Felix Rippy was the first masters runner and fourth overall in 20:22. Kimberly Palmer-Contreras was the women’s winner in 21:13 with Lisa Feller second in 22:01 and Amanda Mills third in 22:58.
- The Texas women, who won the Big 12s last weekend, moved up a spot to claim the No. 1 collegiate ranking in the country. The UT men went from 10th to seventh nationally. The Longhorns have 31 total qualifiers for the NCAA West Prelims May 29-31. UT women Morolake Akinosun (100), Courtney Okolo (400), 4 x 400 relay, Shanay Briscoe (high jump) and Kaitlin Petrillose (pole vault) all have the best marks in the country. Ryan Crouser has the top shot put in the nation.
- Parker Stinson of Cedar Park, now a 22-year-old senior at Oregon, helped his Ducks win its sixth straight PAC-12 track championship last weekend by finishing second (and scoring eight points) in the 10,000 in 29:18. His PR is 28:34 from last year when he finished second in the PAC-12s and sixth in the NCAAs. Stinson, who considered redshirting his senior year, isn’t quite done in Eugene. He still has eligibility for the 2015 indoor season and will probably compete in a couple of meets for the Ducks. The other Cedar Parker at Oregon — Chris Mulervhill — is finishing up his freshman year but didn’t qualify for the PAC-12s.
- Matthew Maton of Bend, Oregon, who is the brother of Ashley Maton (former Westlake HS’er who is a sophomore on the Oregon women’s team and girlfriend of Stinson), continues to tear up the track. The junior from Summit HS, who grew up in Austin, is the reigning state champ in the 1500 and 3000 meters with the state champs coming up this weekend. A couple of weeks ago, Maton won the 3000 in the Oregon Relays at Hayward Field in Eugene in 8:18.66 (third nationally) which is the ninth fastest time in Oregon history and puts him within reach–possibly–of Galen Rupp (8:03.67) and Steve Prefontaine (8:07.9). Maton, who is also ranked second nationally in the 1500 (3:49.3), has as his personal coaches Jim and Carol McLatchie who were key figures in the Houston-area running scene for so many years.
- Went down to Seguin yesterday for the dedication of a plaque to my late friend Bruce Wasinger. Bruce, a dedicated and long-time runner who once ran from Austin to Boston, died last April after a long bout with cancer. A prominent water-rights attorney, Bruce, at the time of his death, was an in-house counsel for the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority and his co-workers there installed a plaque in his honor at the base of this beautiful 200-year-old live oak on the GBRA grounds. A touching tribute to a caring, witty man who always had a joke or story and who died much too young at the age of 61.
- Jack & Adam’s big move to a new, bigger store on South Lamar has been pushed back a few days. Looks the grand -reopening will now be the first week of June.
- Carmen Troncoso has run the Friehofer’s Run for Women in Albany, New York, she’s practically as much an institution at that race as she is around these parts. Carmen is headed there again this weekend for Saturday’s women’s national 5-K championship. Carmen, who is now 55, is a five-time national masters 5-K road champ. She’ll have her hands full in her age group as she’ll duel with 57-year-old Joan Samuelson, the queen of the roads, who is coming off the Boston Marathon.
- The Austin Marathon revealed the results of a study, conducted by St. Edward’s School of Management and Business, which estimates the race had an economic impact of $22.4 million on the Austin business economy in February. The study estimated that runners had a $6.2 million direct economic impact and another $16.2 million in indirect business activity. The study did not include spectator spending.
- More Austin Marathon: For the third straight year, Conley Sports, which produces the Austin Marathon and plenty of other races, presented scholarships to Austin-area high school seniors (and runners) who are college-bound. The winners this year who have been awarded the scholarship money are Casey Garcia from the Ann Richards School for Young Women and Brandon Fielder from Austin HS. Casey’s headed to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, while Brandon will attend Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.
- What I’m listening to this morning: Road to Escondido, by the late J.J. Cale and Eric Clapton.