High Five Events announces the return of the Visually Impaired (VI) Runner Division for the 2018 Austin Marathon®. The Visually Impaired Runner Division will highlight these athletes, work with the athletes and their guides to provide a safer race experience, and adhere to guidelines set forth by the United States Association of Blind Athletes.

The 2018 Austin Marathon will build upon a successful launch of the division in 2017 by working with athletes and local families to provide homestays if needed, putting together a pre-race dinner where athletes and guides can meet and talk strategy, and creating an opportunity for a VI running team to be created.

William Greer is in his second coordinator for the Austin Marathon’s VI Runner Division. Greer is also the Film Festival Director for the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities and an accomplished VI endurance runner. Greer has completed numerous events ranging from the mile to ultra marathons. Greer ran the 2017 Austin Marathon in 4:06:31 while coordinating the VI Runner Division’s first year. Assisting him will be Daniel Craven, an accomplished runner himself and guide for numerous visually impaired athletes.

We are continuing the success of the first year by inviting more visually impaired runners to the 2018 Austin Marathon and growing the division’s offerings,” said Greer. “Having a pre-race dinner will give VI runners and guides the opportunity to meet beforehand in a more relaxed setting and build a deeper bond leading up to race day.”

Athletes registering for the Austin Marathon’s Visually Impaired Runner Division will go through the same registration process and select either Visually Impaired Athlete or Guide when prompted. VI athletes will then select their classification; guides will select “Guide.” Classifications are B1, B2, and B3 and are determined by the United States Association of Blind Athletes. Upon successful registration, runners need to send their classification certification to Greer, williamwgreer@gmail.com. The certification can come from a doctor or low vision specialist. Athletes that have questions or are looking for more information can contact Greer.

“Year One of the VI Runner Division was a success with William at the helm and we will build upon that great experience,” said Stacy Keese, co-owner of High Five Events. “There are athletes of all abilities who come to Austin and we want them to feel welcome and have the best race weekend experience possible.”

High Five Events announces the first round of accepted elite runners for the 2018 Austin Marathon®. Runners not accepted into the Elite Athlete Program are still invited to run in the Elite Field. The Elite Athlete Program’s focus is to provide a clean and competitive environment, discover emerging marathon talent, and help the existing talent pool reach Olympic standards. The Program’s Year Two prize purse totals $20K with $15K for the marathon and $5K for the half marathon.

The first round of 2018 marathoners include:

  • Joe Thorne – Elite Athlete Program (2017 Austin Marathon Champion – 2:32:05)
  • Matt Daniels – Elite Athlete Program (2016 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier)
  • Joseph Whelan – Elite Athlete Program (led Syracuse Orange to 2015 ACC Cross Country Championship)
  • Matt McCurdy – Elite Field (5th place 2017 Austin Marathon – 2:44:29)
  • Brandon Jauregui – Elite Field (2015 Santa Clarita Marathon Champ – 2:35:18 [marathon debut while undergoing chemotherapy; eventually defeated leukemia])
  • Patrick Aucoin – Elite Field (marathon debut, 1:11:30 half marathon PR)

The first round of 2018 half marathoners include:

  • Ryan Miller – Elite Athlete Program (2016 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier)
  • Jared Carson – Elite Field (3rd place 2017 Austin Marathon – 2:35:11)

“I’m really looking forward to being back in Austin for the 2018 Austin Marathon,” said defending champion Thorne. “High Five Events did a phenomenal job with the event in 2017 and I’m interested to see what they have in store for everyone this year.”

Applications are arriving daily and more than 50 have already been submitted. The second round of athletes will be announced in a few weeks. Applications are still being accepted and elite marathoners can apply on the Austin Marathon’s website. Athletes that meet the program’s standards and are accepted will be given one comp entry to the 2018 Austin Marathon or half marathon, reimbursement eligibility, and standards bonuses.

“Re-launching the Elite Athlete Program added another layer of excitement on February 19, 2017,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events. “The continued growth of this program is a focus of ours and doubling the prize purse and the new course will attract even more runners for 2018.