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Frankenthon and Hill Country Kick Off Texas Marathon Season This Weekend

There’s a nasty rumor going around that summer is finally over and done with. Thank goodness. Marathon season has started all over the country. Two weeks ago was Twin Cities, St, George and Portland. Last weekend there were 26.2-milers in Chicago and Scranton and this weekend offers marathons in St. Louis, Columbus, Baltimore and Hartford. Soon to come are such established races as Marine Corps, New York City, Philadelphia as well as San Antonio, Las Vegas, Sacramento and Dallas on December 7th.

But here in Texas, the kickoff for marathon season is this Saturday (October 18th) up in Cedar Park with the Frankenthon Marathon and on Sunday, there’s the second Hill Country Marathon in beautiful Marble Falls. Still to come, is Marathon2Marathon (which starts way out west in the tiny southwest Texas town of Marathon) and the Chosen Marathon in New Braunfels, both on October 25th.

The Frankenthon Monster Marathon is the brainchild of Austin’s Mr. Marathon—Frank Livaudais—who wanted to establish a little local 26-miler. Now, in its fifth year, the Frankenthon is held entirely on the Brushy Creek Trail in Cedar Park which is mostly crushed granite and some pavement. The mostly flat course consists of three loops of 8.77 miles which makes it ideal for spectators.

This gem of a race is all sold out and has been for a couple of months.

Expect about 250 runners at the start at 7 a.m. The course is certified and a BQ. Packet pickup for the Saturday race is at Rogue in Cedar Park (2800 E. Whitestone Blvd.) on Friday from 4 until 7 p.m. There is also raceday packet pickup at Brushy Creek Trail park from 6-6:50 a.m.

Questions, contact Frank@frankenthon.com. Or go to the website: www.frankenthon.com.

The Hill Country Marathon will have about 500 runners on Sunday, starting at Marble Falls HS’s Mustang Stadium at 7 a.m. (There’s also a half and 10-K.) The marathon course is an out-and-back design with plenty of hills. Like the Frankenthon, the Hill Country Marathon course is certified and a BQ.

Packet pick up is also at Rogue in Cedar Park from 4-7 on Friday. On Saturday, packet pick up shifts to Marble Falls’ Mustang Stadium from 1-6 and there’s also same day pick up at the start from 4:30-6:30 a.m. For more info, go to www.runthehillcountry.com.

Marathon2Marathon is rural running at its best. No bands, cheerleaders, balloons, hoopla or much of anything else. You won’t have to worry about starting grids or trading elbows with 5000 other marathoners. Not in Marathon. Plenty of Austinites will be heading out there next weekend (October 25th) for one of the low key races (5-k, 10-K and half).

The race’s motto is; “The hard part is getting there.” Indeed. Marathon (population 600) is a ways off. It’s in tiny Brewster County and it isn’t too close to much of anything. Heck, the nearest commercial airport is Odessa/Midland and that’s 170 miles to the north. From Austin, it’s a haul (about 375 miles due west) but it’s worth it for the unique running experience that M2M offers.

First off, it isn’t likely to be warm. Even though it’ll probably still be a little toasty for marathoning next weekend in Austin, Marathon is on a high plateau with an average mean temperature this time of year of 62 degrees. No humidity to speak of either. If it isn’t windy (and it often is), M2M has almost perfect marathoning conditions for this time of year.

But the friendly temperatures (and low humidity) are counterbalanced by the altitude. It isn’t Pike’s Peak high, but Marathon’s elevation is 4040 feet which is lofty enough that flatlanders will certainly notice of it. Still, Marathon is lower than Denver, but higher than Buda.

M2M isn’t a PR course, but the race makes up for it with hospitality and small-town charm. (There’s a pasta dinner Friday night.) A small marathon like this would barely be a blip in Dallas or Austin, but in Marathon this is a huge event for this community which bills itself as “The Gateway to Big Bend National Park” as it is just 40 miles south of town.

Marathon doesn’t have much of a running history. In fact, it doesn’t have any. The marathon is about it. But the way the town got its name has everything to do with the marathon.

Seems in 1882 a retired sea captain and local resident by the name of Albion Shepard said the the high desert plateau reminded him of the famed Marathon in Greece from which Phidippides ran to tell Athenians of the victory over Persia in 490 B.C. And then promptly dropped dead.

Thus, Marathon, Texas was so named.

For more information, go to www.marathon2marathon.net.

The 5th annual Chosen Marathon (October 25th) in New Braunfels is a little closer to home than Marathon. The flagship race for a small national series of marathons that benefit adoptive families and orphans, the Chosen, which runs along the Guadalupe River, is also certified and a BQ.

It gets going at 7 a.m.

Packet pick up and last-minute registration is at three locations on Thursday and Friday: Jack & Adam’s in Austin on Thursday from 11-7, iRun in San Antonio on Thursday from 11-7 and U Run in New Braunfels on Friday from 11-8. But you needed to select a specific store option to pick it up at that store. There is no race morning packet pick up.

For more info, go to www.chosenmarathon.com.

Although not a marathon, Austin’s premier fall 10-mile race – and second leg of the Austin Distance Challenge – is also next weekend. We’ll have a full preview for the 8th annual Run for the Water 10-Mile, 5K and Kids K in the coming days.