The 39th annual Austin American Statesman Capitol 10,000—Austin’s annual spring fling and one of the largest 10-Ks in the country—gets underway Sunday morning (April 10) at 8 a.m. at its traditional starting point on S. Congress Avenue at Barton Springs Road on the Ann Richards Bridge, right across the street from the Austin Statesman. Nearly 20,000 runners, walkers and a wide variety of other costumed things are expected. Last year, more than 18,000 participated in the Cap 10.
Conditions for Sunday morning look pretty good. According to Jim Spencer at KXAN, the long-range forecast is for cloudy skies with temps in the low 70s when the race begins. And, like many recent Cap 10s, the humidity will probably be high.
On-line registration for the Capitol 10,000 closes Saturday at 2 p.m. but late registration will also be available, beginning Friday at noon until 7 at the Cap 10K Health and Fitness Expo at Palmer Events Center (900 Barton Springs Rd.) and Saturday from 10-5 p.m.
If you’re one of the handful of Austin runners who has never run the Capitol 10,000, you are in for a treat. But be forewarned: The Cap 10 course is not an easy one. Right from the starting line, there are all sorts of ups and steep downs, which when compounded with the expected humidity, can make for a challenging run.
In the first mile, the Cap 10 course climbs north on Congress to the Capitol. From there, the course goes around the Capitol to 11th and then heads north on a short up-and-down stretch on San Jacinto before the real fun begins on 15th Street. Heading west on 15th, begins the most difficult part of the course with a series of long, grinding hills with the steepest ascent on Enfield between the second and third mile.
The Enfield hills are very tricky and must be climbed carefully. After that though, the running gets much easier on a relatively easy, slightly downhill stretch of Winsted (miles three to four) along MoPac which brings the massive field down toward Lake Austin. Just like the past four years, the course heads a couple of hundred meters west on Lake Austin Boulevard before barreling down the steep hill at Veterans (across from Magnolia’s at about mile 4).
After swinging around Austin HS, the final 1½ miles goes east along Cesar Chavez where the familiar series of devilish little uphills in the final half mile will test your resolve. After the course flattens out around City Hall, the course swings across the South 1st Street Bridge in the last stretch to the finish at the traffic circle on Riverside along Auditorium Shores. That’s where the post-race party begins.
There will be plenty of food at Auditorium Shores from a wide variety of local food trucks. Also, live music will be provided by the Nightowls and Quiet Company. Each band will play two sets with the first beginning around 9:30.
The course records are Eric Chirchir’s 29:24 (set in 2013) and Natalie Nalepa’s 33:43, set in 1997. Neither record is likely to be threatened this year.
Parking is always an issue for a race of this size. Best places to park are the free TexDot lots off Riverside but those fill up quickly. OneTexas Center has paid parking at South 1st and Barton Springs as does Palmer Events Center and City Hall. There’s also plenty of parking west of Congress on the south shore of Lady Bird Lake.
Lyft is one of the sponsors of Cap 10 and will have access to the Statesman parking lot (right at the start) to drop off passengers. If you choose to ride a bike, there will be free bike parking at the corner of South 1st Street and Riverside.
This year’s race benefits The Trail Foundation which will receive $1 for every entrant. Plus, the Statesman will match up to $10,000 of donations from runners’ donations.
Again, packet pickup, pre-race registration and the runners’ expo begins on Friday at the Palmer Events Center and continues through Saturday. There is no packet pick up or registration on race morning.
For more info go to www.cap10k.com.