PROfile: Rachel Baptista, 2019 Austin Half Marathon Elite Athlete Program

Rachel Baptista has overcome injuries and is ready to race the Austin Half Marathon

Rachel Baptista has been accepted to the Austin Half Marathon’s Elite Athlete Program. She will compete against other top runners for a prize purse that totals $26,000 on Feb. 17, 2019. Baptista gives some insight as to who she is below. Run with her on race day, cheer her on, or watch the FloTrack live stream on race day from anywhere in the world.

About Rachel Baptista

Rachel Baptista, Austinite and 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier.

Rachel Baptista, Austinite and 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier.

Half marathon PR (1:12:39)

Born and raised in Austin, so I guess that makes me a unicorn in modern Austin terms! I ran for Austin High School, Go Maroons! After high school, I attended and ran for The University of Colorado and The University of Tulsa. I endured quite a few injuries in college. I’m healthy again and have figured out the right mix of high-level, healthy training. When I’m not running I work at Rogue Running. I enjoy the finer things in life like chips and queso, playing with my bulldog Chunky, hanging out with my homies, and listening to Justin Bieber.

*Earned “B” standard for 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials at 2018 Silo District Half Marathon (1:12:39)

Training tip: Find awesome peeps to run with that will push you and inspire you to go places you didn’t think you could. One thing that helps me get up at 4:45 in the morning is knowing I’ll get to do one of my favorite things with some of my favorite people. #bettertogether

Race day tip: Keep it simple and don’t over complicate it. That is one of the biggest things I have learned about racing. I used to get so nervous and psych myself out. Now I try to stay as relaxed as possible, almost like I am not even about to run a race. I make sure to have friends and good music around me to try and enjoy the moment. In the end, you are just putting one foot in front of the other, no need to overthink it!

Social media: Facebook and Instagram

Meet the Olympic Trials Qualifying ‘B’ Standard Pacing Group

Trio of runners will pace female marathoners to ‘B’ standard qualifying time

High Five Events introduces a pacing team that will lead female elites to an Olympic Trials Qualifying ‘B’ Standard time at the 2019 Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour®.

The trio of Austin runners will reach the finish line in 2:44:59 (“B” Standard time is 2:45:00). The team consists of Bryan Morton (2x “B” Standard pacer), Will Nation (2016, ‘20 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier), and Rory Tunningley (2016 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier).

Female elites are invited to apply to the Austin Marathon’s Elite Athlete Program. The goal of this pacing group is to guide as many females as possible to an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying time. The Elite Athlete Program focuses on creating a field of elite male and female runners with a competitive nature and discovering emerging talent, while helping the existing talent pool reach Olympic standards. Allison Macsas qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials at the 2018 Austin Marathon.

“The addition of this pacing trio underscores the goal of the Austin Marathon’s Elite Athlete Program, to help elites reach Olympic standards,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events. “Our 2017 – ‘18 female marathon champion Allison Macsas proved you can qualify on the streets of Austin when she qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials on Feb. 18, 2018 (2:43:11).

Rory Tunningley

Rory Tunningley is a member of the "B" standard pacing group at the Austin Marathon.

Rory Tunningley is a member of the “B” standard pacing group at the Austin Marathon.

Tunningley is a 2013 graduate of The University of Texas, serving as cross-country Team Captain his senior year. A three-time All-South Central Region performer, Tunningley helped the UT men win back-to-back regional titles. Tunningley ran an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying time of 1:04:51 at the 2015 Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. He finished a solid 89th at the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials in 2:35:53, his first marathon ever. During his time with the Longhorns, Tunningley recorded personal bests of 29:30.36 in the outdoor 10,000m and 14:15.87 in the indoor 5,000m. His 50th place finish at the 2012 NCAA Cross Country Championships (second among UT runners) helped propel the team to a 9th place finish overall.

“When I qualified for the Olympic Trials in 2016 I had the help of a friend who paced me half way through a half marathon in which I ran a qualifying standard,” said Tunningley. “I look forward to helping others achieve their goal of qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials.”

Will Nation

Will Nation is a member of the "B" standard pacing group at the Austin Marathon.

Will Nation is a member of the “B” standard pacing group at the Austin Marathon.

Nation is a lifelong Texan who moved to Austin in 2010 to attend The University of Texas. He earned a B.S. in Computer Science and competed on the track and cross country teams. Upon graduating in 2014, Nation began his post-collegiate career with a first-place finish at Austin’s own 3M Half Marathon. Since then, he has qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials twice (2016 and 2020). His most recent qualifying time coming from the 2017 USATF Marathon Championships (2:16:59). Will currently trains in Austin under the guidance of his longtime coach, Steve Magness. When he’s not running, he works as a web developer for FantasyPros.

“Austin has such an amazing fitness community and it only makes sense to have a marathon that reflects that,” said Nation. “ It’s my hope that I can assist many talented individuals in achieving their goal of hitting an OTQ and demonstrate that the Austin Marathon is a race where you can do just that.”

Bryan Morton

Bryan Morton is a member of the "B" standard pacing group at the Austin Marathon.

Bryan Morton is a member of the “B” standard pacing group at the Austin Marathon.

Morton moved down to Austin in 2010 for his gig with Facebook. He’s been marathon training with Team Rogue ever since. Morton is a marathon veteran with 20+ races on his resume. He set his PB of 2:25 this past February in Tokyo. This is his fifth time pacing at the Austin Marathon and second time pacing the women’s Olympic ‘B’ Standard.

Austin’s endurance community has given me so much over the years, and I wouldn’t be the runner I am today without the support of many in it,” said Morton. “Races like the Austin Marathon afford the opportunity to give back and pay it forward to others with similar goals. It’s my hope that we can shepherd a large pack of women to a 2020 Olympic Trials qualifying time and pave the way for many others to follow in their footsteps.

Applications are still being accepted and elite marathoners can apply on the Austin Marathon’s website. Accepted athletes that meet the program’s standards will be given one comp entry to the Austin Marathon or half marathon. They’re also eligible for travel reimbursement and standards bonuses. Runners not accepted to the program but still invited will receive one comp entry. They’re also eligible to win prize money.

Austin Marathon Announces First Round of Accepted Elite Runners

Elite runners will compete during race weekend for a prize purse that totals $26,000

Elite runners will compete for $26,000 at the 2019 Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour.

Jocelyn Todd accepts her award for finishing 3rd place at the 2018 Austin Half Marathon.

Introducing the first round of accepted elite runners for the 2019 Austin Marathon® presented by Under Armour®. Elite runners not accepted into the Elite Athlete Program are still invited to run in the Elite Field. Returning for its third year in a row, this opportunity creates a competitive field of male and female elite runners while discovering emerging talent, pushing the entire talent pool to reach Olympic standards. The Program’s Year Three prize purse totals $26,000. FloTrack’s live coverage highlights the competition amongst elite runners, following male and female marathoners and half marathoners.

I’m excited to return to Austin again this year!” said Jocelyn Todd, 3rd place female at the 2018 Austin Half Marathon (1:17:19). “The steep competition, rolling course, excellent organization, and awesome crowd make the event a great component to my race schedule.

The first round of 2019 marathoners include:

  • Daniel Bishop – Elite Athlete Program (3rd place 2018 Austin Marathon – 2:26:27)
  • Jameson Mora – Elite Athlete Program (2020 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier)
  • Beth Marzigliano – Elite Field (3rd place 2017 Run for the Red Marathon – 2:58:58)
  • Nadia Tamby – Elite Field (3:00:56 at 2018 LA Marathon)
  • Cole Toepfer – Elite Field (1:12:23 at 2018 Garry Bjorkland Half Marathon)
Elite runners will compete for $26,000 at the 2019 Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour.

Daniel Bishop crosses the 2018 Austin Marathon finish line in 3rd place.

The first round of 2019 half marathoners include:

  • Jocelyn Todd – Elite Athlete Program (2020 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier)
  • Rachel Baptista – Elite Athlete Program (2020 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier)
  • Ryan Root – Elite Athlete Program (2nd place 2018 Austin Half Marathon – 1:08:51)
  • Megan Smith – Elite Athlete Program (2:50:19 at 2017 Twin Cities Marathon)
  • Matt McCurdy – Elite Field (2018 Austin Marathon Masters Champion – 2:42:27)
  • Brooke Torres – Elite Field (1:25:22 at 2018 3M Half Marathon)
  • Callie Bartel – Elite Field (1:25:16 at 2017 Marquette Half Marathon)

The first round of 2019 Manzano Mile participants include:

  • Cameron Villarreal – Elite Field (2017 Charlie Thomas Invitational – 4:04.6)
  • James Heilman – Elite Field (4:26.8 at 2018 Texas A&M Aggie Twilight)

“The 2018 elite field provided competitive racing, highlighted by Allison Macsas qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials (2:43:11),” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events. “We’re excited about the growth of this program and look forward to many more elites running the streets of Austin.

The prize purse breakdown follows: $15,000 for the marathon, $5,000 for the half marathon, and $6,000 for the Manzano Mile presented by Dole. Applications are arriving daily. More than 50 applications have been submitted. We will announce the second round of elite runners 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 2019 Austin Marathon or half marathon, reimbursement eligibility, and standards bonuses.