Running’s Positive Impact Turned Around this Addict’s Life

Former veteran uses running’s positive impact to help others

The positive impact running has on people is widespread and far-ranging. Runners of all speeds and abilities have bettered their health, become better role models for their kids, and uprooted stigmas set by society. Shawn Livingston uses running’s positive impact to make up for lost time. Learn how he went from hitting rock bottom to being featured in a documentary and giving hope to those living the life he used to live in his edition of My Running Story. Experience running’s positive impact firsthand and join Shawn at the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon!

What running has done for me

Shawn Livingston crosses the finish line of the 2019 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. His edition of My Running Story talks about the positive impact running has had on his life.

Shawn Livingston crosses the finish line of the 2019 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon.

Running has had a positive impact in every single aspect of my life. It has become the best medicine I could ever hope to find for both my physical and mental health. It’s also introduced me to a community the likes of which I have never seen before. The friends I have shared and endured so many miles with has left a bond that will last for life. Most importantly, running has given me the ability to help others.

As a combat veteran of the US Army, I lost my way once departing the service. I was plagued by symptoms of PTSD, the loss of close friends, injuries that led to opiate addiction, and legal trouble. I hit rock bottom. Eventually, I discovered running. It’s positive impact completely transformed my life. 

Woke the Monster

Andrew Shebay, with Pipeline Films, began filming a documentary called Woke the Monster (trailer below) a year ago. He just wrapped up production. This documentary would tell my story and highlight running’s positive impact. That film would provide a platform and show me I had the ability to help others by using my experiences. This would allow me to show individuals similar to me what’s possible. Addicts who still suffer, their families, and the rest of the world can see that people can change. They can accomplish feats beyond their wildest dreams. However, those who’ve led a life similar to mine often can’t change on their own. They need a pacer in the marathon of life. Someone with the ability to help inspire and motivate them to the finish line. 

The positive impact of running

I’ve started a movement, Be Somebody’s Pacer, so people can use their experiences in life to help others who are having similar troubles. If those of us who have suffered hardships and persevered aren’t using our experiences to educate others, then, in my opinion, it was all a waste. The ability to help others has become the most rewarding part of my life. If it wasn’t for running I would have never discovered that I had this special ability to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Follow my journey and stay up-to-date with Woke the Monster on Instagram.

My Running Story is a series of blog submissions from runners just like yourself. They submitted their inspirational running stories as part of a contest to win an entry of their choice to the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Their stories range from crossing their first finish line to drastic lifestyle change due to running. Everyone’s story is different and unique, impacting them in a specific way. While each story is specific to the author, everyone can resonate in some form or fashion because of the power of running. Other My Running Story submissions include Kayleigh Williamson, Kirsten Pasha, Michael Coffey, Samantha Santos, Tom Hamann, Erica Richart, Angela Clark, Rebecca Galvan, Jeremy Tavares, Axel Reissnecker, Blair Nagel, Brittany Drennan, Rene Arguello, and Christy Thomas.

Austin Marathon Introduces The Moody Foundation as Sponsor

Since 2016, The Moody Foundation has contributed nearly $1 million to Austin Gives Miles

Austin Gives Miles, the philanthropic program of the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour, introduces The Moody Foundation as its presenting sponsor. The Moody Foundation has given nearly $1 million to Austin Gives Miles since 2016. More than 25% of that total was given to 36 Central Texas nonprofits during the 2019 Austin Marathon. The 2020 Austin Gives Miles presented by The Moody Foundation is already working to increase those numbers and further the positive impact on the Central Texas community. The 29th annual Austin Marathon, owned and produced by High Five Events, will take place on February 16, 2020.

The Moody Foundation logo.“The Moody Foundation is proud to partner with Austin Gives Miles for the fifth consecutive year to match funds raised for the AGM Central Texas causes,” said Ross Moody, trustee of the Moody Foundation and chairman and CEO of National Western Life Group. “This initiative is near and dear to our hearts and has been for many years. We’re so excited to support a program that gives runners the opportunity to make their miles meaningful and encourages donors to give back to the Central Texas community.”

Austin Gives Miles continues to grow

Austin Gives Miles will receive a grant from The Moody Foundation for the fifth year in a row. The money raised annually through Austin Gives Miles significantly impacts a wide array of local nonprofits. Austin Gives Miles fundraised $1,187,000, recruited more than 1200 runners, and provided 1500 volunteers during the 2019 Austin Marathon. Austin Gives Miles’ six-year fundraising total is nearly $3.2 million.

“This is a thrilling addition to Austin Gives Miles because The Moody Foundation has meant so much to this program for so many years,” said Carly Samuelson, Austin Gives Miles Charity Manager. “The Moody Foundation’s previous contributions have had a far-reaching, positive effect on Central Texas nonprofits and this announcement will allow us to further that positive impact.”

Bettering Central Texas, one step at a time

The Moody Foundation, based in Galveston, Texas, has funded projects and programs that better communities throughout Texas. The grant that will match Austin Gives Miles donations will have a positive impact on the Central Texas organizations and their specific causes by matching their funds raised (up to $10,000 per Official Charity). One of Moody Foundation’s areas of support is community development. It directly aligns with the goal of the Austin Marathon: to better Central Texas. Austin Gives Miles is excited to expand this relationship and knows the positive effects will be far-reaching.

The Austin Marathon will celebrate its 29th year running in the capital of Texas in 2020. Austin’s flagship running event annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 30+ countries around the world. The Austin Marathon is the perfect running weekend destination. The start and finish lines are a few blocks apart, within walking distance of many downtown hotels and restaurants. The finish line backdrop is the picturesque Texas State Capitol. Austin Gives Miles presented by Moody Foundation is the perfect way for runners to get involved and give back to the Central Texas community. Registration is currently open.

Don’t Miss these 2020 Expo Highlights at the Austin Marathon Expo

Keep up with these 2020 expo highlights so you know what booths to visit

The Ascension Seton Austin Marathon Expo & Packet Pick Up will take place on Feb. 14th-15th! The expo is a chance for participants to visit our sponsors and partners and check out what they have to offer. The 2020 Austin Marathon Health & Fitness Expo will have more than 100 vendors introducing or selling all sorts of runners’ goodies. From on-course hydration to Official Austin Marathon Under Armour gear, below are the 2020 expo highlights you can’t miss. There are tons of prizes, giveaways, and discounts too.

The expo is open to the public on Friday, February 14th, from  1:00 p.m – 7:00 p.m and Saturday, February 15th, from 10:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m. Start making note of the 2020 expo highlight that you can’t miss!

Get in the Groove 2021 Tour 

It is never too early to get excited about running the 30th annual Austin Marathon! Get in the groove with us as we spread our love of Austin and running during our tour in our 1972 Winnebago, nicknamed Winnie. Come meet Winnie at the 2021 Austin Marathon booth!

Ascension Seton

Ascension Seton is part of the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and their doctors and nurses will be on course and at the finish line tent. They will also volunteer throughout the expo and be available on course. Say hi! Stop by their booth to talk about taking care of your body as your train, get free blood pressure readings, and more.


On Feb. 16th, KXAN will stream FloTrack’s live coverage of the 2020 Austin Marathon to all locals looking to watch from home. At the expo, they’ll provide healthy living and wellness tips and information from expert medical professionals as part of their Simple Health initiative. You will have the opportunity to learn hands-on CPR training. If you’re running the 5K make sure you say hey to the title sponsor of the KXAN Simple Health 5K benefiting Paramount Theatre!

Official merchandise

Visit our friends at Fleet Feet Austin and snag your Official Austin Marathon Under Armour gear before it’s gone! The official merch is awesome and will make you smile when you remember running the Austin Marathon or Austin Half Marathon. Check out the shirts, jackets, pint glasses, coffee mugs, and more!

Jumbotron and pacer booth

Take a seat and watch the big screen as we go over both the marathon and half marathon courses. Have questions or a goal time you are looking to meet? Be sure and stop by the Pacer booth and talk to our amazing pacers. There are 17 different pace groups available. Pace groups run based on marathon finish times and will run the first part of the course with the half marathon.

Smile at these photo opportunities

The Insta opportunities are at an all-time high at this year’s expo. There will be several fun photo opportunities set up throughout the expo including our GIF photo booth, a larger than life-size version of this year’s finisher medal, course maps, and more. Be sure to visit them all and tag us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Shopping & Giveaway Highlights

  • SPIbelt will have a spinning wheel out sporadically during the event where people can spin to win! Stop by, say hey, learn about their new products, and spin to see what you could win.
  • nuun hydration will be sampling a ton of their flavors including Orange Mango, which will be at all aid stations on race day.
  • Kerrville Triathlon – from awesome trucker hats to free shirts, The Most Scenic Triathlon in Texas will have a prize wheel full of great giveaways.
  • fitppl – while reducing plastic and cleaning the world, these superfoods combine plant-based protein, spirulina, alkalizing grasses, and phytonutrient-packed fruits creating a wholesome, all-in-one, nutrient-dense shake.
  • Jack’s Generic Triathlon – if you love generic giveaways you don’t want to miss this booth. Plenty of goodies and a sweet expo deal just for you!
  • Rookie Triathlon – make this sprint triathlon the first tri of your life or the first tri of your 2020 season. Visit their booth, test your skills at bag toss, and see what goodies you’ll win.

More 2020 vendors