Now that marathon season is—finally–over and done with in Central Texas, we can turn our attention to shorter spring races. With all that hard-fought fitness in the bank, the shorter races are a good way to work on speed and leg turnover. Fortunately, we have a well-established circuit of several high-caliber races.
Here are my five favorites for spring:
Austin American Statesman Capitol 10,000 (April 6). Austin’s annual spring fling is as much a costume party as actual race. It is the one race nearly everyone in Austin runs or walks. With upward of 20,000 participants, the Cap 10,000 has been around for 37 years and is the largest 10-K in Texas and one of the biggest in the country. It’s also one of the most competitive as many of the top racers duke it out for honors. The Cap 10,000 course certainly isn’t an easy one as the first three miles of the course is very hilly. The race starts on the Ann Richards/Congress Avenue Bridge and heads north up Congress before looping around and finishing at Auditorium Shores. To register or for more info, go to www.cap10k.com.
Silicon Labs Sunshine 5-K and 10-K (April 27). For years, this was the Bun Run 5-K, but with a new sponsor—Silicon Labs—this race has been rebranded as the Sunshine 5-K or 10-K. The course, race date and beneficiary (Sunshine Camps) are exactly the same. Even though there are two distance options, most stick with the 5-K which goes west on Cesar Chavez and then turns around outside the Austin HS fields before finishing at Auditorium Shores. The 10-K follows the same course before turning around at Exposition on Lake Austin Boulevard. Both courses are relatively fast with an equal amount of uphill and downhills. For more info and to register, go to www.austinsunshinerun.com.
Lockhart Kiwanis 5-K Stampede (April 19). This is—by far—the smallest and most intimate of my favorite spring races, but also one of the best. I love this little race for its small town feel and community spirit. (I’m going to have to miss it this year as it clashes with the Boston Marathon.) Lockhart also has the flattest, fastest 5-K course in Central Texas and it’s the perfect course to try and set a PR. Most of the top high-school runners in town use this race to test their fitness so you know it’s fast. The Stampede starts and finishes near downtown (315 E. Prairie Lea Street) and even though Lockhart’s famed barbeque isn’t part of the race package, many eat an early lunch at one of the many places around town. The Stampede also has distinctive age-group awards (usually a cowbell). To register or for more info, go to www.bswarms.com/swarm285.
Chuy’s Hot to Trot 5-K (May 3). Sad to report that this will be the final Chuy’s race. Yes, it’s true that one of the best races in town is calling it quits. Still, we have one more left before saying good bye. The final Chuy’s will be held in South Austin location, just off MoPac at William Cannon, which is the site of one of the largest Chuy’s in its chain. The mostly flat course actually starts on Brush Country (just a few hundred meters from the Arbor Trails parking lot), goes up Convict Hill and then heads east on William Cannon before the finish in the parking lot right outside Chuy’s. Also a major part of any Chuy’s race is the kids K which precedes the 5-K. For more info or to register, go to www.chuys.com/#/events.
Deutschen Pfest 5-K (May 18). Part of the Deutschen Pfest in Pflugerville (at the Pfluger Hall), this little race has a terrific loop course (a couple of rolling hills) through a neighborhood and usually offers tasty post-race food and a beautiful shirt. Plus, the shirt gets you directly into the Deutschen Pfest at nearby Pfluger Park. For info or to register, go to www.pflugervilletx.gov/index.