We reached out to a number of current elite runners and former Statesman Capitol 10,000 winners for their advice on how to run this Sunday’s race. Each had their own unique perspective, ranging more than three decades of experience from the 1992 to 2012 men’s champions. The consensus, however, was to stay under control within the first few miles of the race due to the hills. Along Enfield/15th Street is one of the toughest stretches in Austin.
Here’s what they had to say:
Steve Sisson – Cap 10K Champion (1992)
My strategic, race-related advice is very simple. Run conservatively (dare I say, cautiously) the first mile. It is a sneaky climb from the river to the Capitol, one that many underestimate. In the 2nd & 3rd miles it is important to establish a sustainable rhythm up & down the hills. If you run the first half within yourself, you can really roll the final 5K & catch all those who bit off more than they could chew.
Gilbert Tuhabonye – Cap 10K Champion (2002)
You have to start slow and finish fast. Divide the race in half and go out above your desired finish pace even though it might feel too easy. The best runners wait until they get to Mopac after mile 3 to “drop the bomb” where it’s mostly downhill and a relatively flat Cesar Chavez. This is where you start passing people who got sucked in to a fast first mile going up Congress because they went with the crowd rather than staying within themselves.
Cassandra Henkiel – 4 x Cap 10K Champion (1994, 1995, 2005, 2009)
Be patient! Race start will be crazed and chaotic. Make sure you’re in the correct race corral/position. It will take awhile after the gun goes off to find your space and rhythm. Work the up hills though easy does it on the down’s – especially the 15th Street/Enfield hill! Running that too hard will come back to haunt you later in your race. Keep pushing up that last little climb up Caesar Chavez for a strong finish across the bridge and finish line.
Scott MacPherson – 2 x Cap 10K Champion (2011, 2012)
My advice to those running Cap 10K is, don’t worry too much about the first mile; you will either be too fast because of adrenaline, or too slow because it’s up hill. So just relax and save some energy for the last 2 miles. Also, use the downhills, they are your friends.
Desiree Ficker – 3 x Cap 10K Champion (2008-2010)
With such an exciting start to the Cap 10k, keep your heart rate in check as you make your way up Congress and San Jacinto to 15th street, the slow uphill will serve as a great course warmup. Enjoy the rollers along 15th Street and use your arms to power up the long hill crossing over Lamar. Once you crest the hill you have accomplished the hardest portion of the course, so let yourself go on the downhill of the Mopac access road towards Austin High. You can look forward to a booming crowd once you round the bend towards home over the 1st Street Bridge. Evil’s familiar voice will bring you into the finish!
Betzy Jimenez – Cap 10K Champion (2013)
Cap 10k is a fun course that tests your fitness and toughness. Hang in there between miles 2-4 and you’ll have a great race! Don’t forget to hydrate and check the weather. Most importantly, enjoy the challenge and run happy!
David Fuentes – 4 x Top-5 finish at Cap 10K
There are only two big uphills, but those follow with two big downhills. You can make up the lost time by crushing the downhills. Stay strong on the long straight down Cesar Chavez. Have fun, it’s one of the biggest 10k’s in the nation!
Erik Stanley – 2nd Place at 2012 Cap 10K
Keep your goal attainable- set an A and B goal. Start with your B goal and if that is going smooth after the first 3 miles then start working towards your A goal. Start off conservatively- the hilliest parts of the race are in the first half.
If you can stay comfortable through there you should be able to finish strong. Stay confident and positive and write down a few motivational thoughts that you can look to if you need them.
Chris Kimbrough – 5 x Top-5 Finish, 2 x Masters Champion
The Capital 10k is an Austin “classic” event. I moved here from Montana in March of 1996 and just two days in to relocation my cousin said, “You have to run the Cap10!” It was definitely an amazing experience and something everyone should experience whether you are an avid runner or just a walker. It is not an easy course by any means. A lot of ups and downs along with unpredictable weather. Make sure that if you have a goal pace that you find the pace group you need to be in. If not, you will find yourself dodging runners and walkers for the first 2 miles. The course is exciting, but challenging! Run hard, enjoy the sights, and have fun!