Word on the street is that summer is finally over and done with in Central Texas. Thank goodness. Marathon season has started all over the country with such great 26 milers as Twin Cities, St. George, Portland, Chicago, Columbus and Hartford already in the books. Soon to come are such established races as Marine Corps (on Sunday), New York City, Philadelphia as well as a trio of Texas marathons in San Antonio (December 6) and College Station and Dallas on December 13th.

But here in Texas, marathon season began yesterday with the Hill Country Marathon in Marble Falls with Sabrina Little, the overall winner in 3:15:50—the first of several smaller Texas marathons. One of the smallest is the Frankenthon this Saturday (October 24) up in Cedar Park. That’s where the seventh running of the Frankenthon Marathon gets underway and then way, way out west there’s the Marathon2Marathon which starts in the tiny southwest Texas town of Marathon. On November 14 is the first running of the South Padre Island Marathon on November 14th and then, on November 21st, is the Chosen Marathon in New Braunfels.

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 seventh 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.

Registration is capped at 250 runners for the 7 a.m start. 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.

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 this weekend (October 24th) for one of the low key races (5-K, 10-K, half and marathon).

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 might 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 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.

This will be the first running of the South Padre Marathon (November 14th) and it boasts the flattest course in Texas with just one little hill. There’s also a half marathon. Both races begin by the lighthouse in Port Isabel and finish at Clayton’s beach bar.

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

The 6th annual Chosen Marathon in New Braunfels has a new date (November 21) and is a little closer to home than Marathon or South Padre. 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.