The Donkey and Doggy Dash 5-K on Saturday in Sunset Valley might not be the biggest 5-K in town, but it certainly has one of the flattest, fastest courses.
Stuck right in the middle of the big box world of south Austin off Brodie Lane and in between the Uptown Classic and the Run for the Water next week, the Donkey Dash tends to get lost in the shuffle. And even though the field is small (about 400 runners and walkers), it draws some of the top runners in town who are drawn by the flat course, the prospect of PRs and even a solid prize money purse.
This is the fifth year Mr. and Mrs. Texas Iron—Jamie Cleveland and Andrea Fisher—have put on the Donkey and Doggy Dash which is as much about running with your canine as it is a full fledged competitive race. The two races are separate, but both have the same course and starting time at 8 a.m. The only two differences are there are separate awards for dogs who run the Doggie Dash with their owners, but the dog owners must carry a doggy bag.
No such rules apply to those running in the Donkey Dash. The course, which starts and finishes right in front of Doc’s Backyard in the Sunset Valley Shopping Center, is almost entirely flat with just a few turns, The only hill on the course is really a simple little rise at the 1.3-mile mark and nothing to worry about.
The times reflect the course, the level of competition and the prize money. The purse breakdown looks like this: $250 for first, $125 for second and $50 for third for men and women. The overall masters man and woman each get $100 and there’s a $50 bonus for course records.
The current records are 14:31, set by David Fuentes last year and 16:48, set by Kelly Williamson last year as well. The masters marks are 16:53 by Lon Breitenbach and 17:06 by Chris Kimbrough.
“To me, this is an old school race,” says Cleveland. “We have a great course for fast times, but we also really place a great deal of emphasis on the fun aspects. Many people come out to enjoy the morning and walk or run with their dog. There aren’t many races that pay as much attention to the dogs as the runners.”
In addition to treats for the canines, there’s also a post-race breakfast buffet provided by Doc’s.
Packet pick up and late registration is available at Hill Country Running at the south location (215 S. Lamar) on Friday from noon until 7 p.m. On race morning beginning at 6 a.m., there is late registration at Doc’s Backyard and you can pick up numbers there as well. Canines also have to register and must wear a timing chip on the collar (seriously).
The race beneficiary is the Sunset Valley Elementary School.