Ascension Seton Austin Marathon Elite Athlete Program

To be accepted into the Elite Athlete Program, athletes must meet the standards listed below.

Eligibility Standards for the Austin Marathon Elite Athlete Program:
– Male: 2:24 (full) or 1:07 (half)
– Female: 2:49 (full) or 1:17 (half)

Marathon Elite Field Standards:
No greater than 15 minutes from Elite Athlete Program Standards

Full Program and Prize Money Details

Allison Macsas

PR Marathon (2:39:41)


Allison Macsas has been a mileage junkie since the age of 15 when she was convinced to (reluctantly) join her high school cross country team. That decision has led to a life built around running: a successful collegiate career at the University of Tampa, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers, a coaching position with Rogue Running in Austin and, most recently, a 2017 Austin Marathon win and an FKT on the 93-mile Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier.

Her ProFile after her 2018 Olympic Qualifying win at Austin Marathon.

Training tip: “Embrace discomfort! Nothing about running 26.2 miles is comfortable, and any number of things could happen on race day: hot weather, rain, wind, a bad night of sleep, a sour stomach. I think that it’s good to have these things happen in training because it gives you a chance to figure out a solution or an adjustment. Then if something goes wrong on race day, you can deal with it – you’ve done it before.”

David Fuentes

PR Marathon (2:27)


Davis Fuentes has been racing competitively for the last 12 years. He has been on two USA Mountain Running National Teams, ran in the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials, and is a three-time Austin Half Marathon champion.

Quote:I am excited to toe the line for my first ever Austin Marathon next year and hopefully come away with the win.

Joey Whelan

PR – Marathon (2:25:04)


Joey Whelan lives in Spring Branch, Texas, an hour south of Austin. Whelan grew up in Buffalo, NY (Go Bills). He was a student-athlete at Syracuse University where he competed on four NCAA qualifying teams, with his highest finish being 55th at the 2012 NCAA Championships. Whelan says he’s spontaneous and enjoys traveling, nature, and drinking beer.

 Training tip: “If you struggle with the mid-week workout, don’t stress, focus on the weekend long run. Consistency is key.”

Caitlin Batten

PR Marathon (2:49:03)

Caitlin Batten is a physical therapist from Charleston, SC. She is a relative latecomer to competitive running, Batten did not start running until after she graduated from college. Though she competes in races of all distances, the marathon is definitely her favorite distance. Her goal is to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials in the marathon. She recently ran the Chicago marathon, but had a bit of a shoe mishap at mile 16 and ended up running 2:51. Batten says she would love to give it another shot at the Austin Marathon. On a less serious note, she was also the FloTrack 2016 Beer Mile World Champion.

Training tip: “Use your training and workouts as an opportunity to learn how to hurt and push through it. There is inevitably going to be a point in the race where you start to suffer and feel bad, if you have practiced pushing yourself through this in training you will be much more successful than if you stay in your comfort zone. Instead of looking at bad workouts and discomfort in training as bad things, embrace them as a chance to practice pushing yourself past perceived limits.”

Craig Leon

PR Marathon (2:13:41)


Craig Leon is a college walk-on turned professional runner who has found a calling with the marathon. He has twice been top-12 at the Boston Marathon (10th in 2013 and 12th in 2014) and twice finished amongst the top-11 finishers at the New York City Marathon (8th in 2015 and 11th in 2016). In 2015, he represented the US in the Pan Am Games, finishing 5th. In addition to his running endeavors, he also holds a full-time job as MBA Program Manager for the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon.

Quote: “I’m looking forward to returning to Austin, this time to run the full marathon. Austin is one of the nation’s most active and fit communities and this attracts runners from all over the US who are looking for something to keep them motivated to train through the winter months. I’m excited to be a part of the 2018 Austin Marathon elite field and am looking forward to testing myself on a challenging course. I’m also excited about the opportunity to escape the rainy Oregon winters for a weekend of Texas sunshine!”

D’Ann Arthur

PR Marathon (2:46:50)


D’Ann Arthur was born and raised in Texas and spent her childhood as a competitive gymnast. She walked onto the cross country team at Trinity University her sophomore year and quickly fell in love with running. After graduation, she shifted her focus to triathlons and raced as a professional triathlete while she was in medical school. Arthur then moved out to Los Angeles in 2014 for residency and is currently a third-year resident in orthopedic surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. She ran her first marathon in May of 2016 and is hoping to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials.

Race day tip: “When it starts to get tough, smile and remind yourself that you signed up for this and push yourself to run a race you can be proud of.”

Sphamandla Nyembe

PR Marathon (2:28)

Sphamandla Nyembe was born in a small town Dannhouser, in the Province of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Nyembe started running when he was 13 years. His favorite athlete who inspires him the most is Kenenisa Bekele. Nyembe says that he enjoys participating in the Austin Marathon and that the fans/spectators on the side of the road are amazing!

Training tip: “Athletes must ensure that their long runs at least cover the distance they will run or race day.”

Austin Marathon Elite Field

Daniel Bishop

PR Marathon (2:27:41)


Daniel Bishop is currently applying to medical school and is a graduate of the University of Utah. Bishop has a BS in Exercise and Sports Science and currently works at Recreation Equipment Inc. (REI) and in a hematology research lab. He has run the Austin Marathon four times now and has been fortunate to finish top three for the past three years. Aside from running, he enjoys skiing, biking, and hiking; essentially anything that gets him into the mountains.

Quote: Preparing for marathons is challenging and exhausting at times but I always keep in mind that I do it because I just plain love it.”

Matt McCurdy

PR Marathon (2:28)

Matt McCurdy is a radiation oncologist and integrative oncologist, incorporating the whole person’s – mind, body, and spirit – as part of cancer care. At age 40, McCurdy’s goals are to stay fit and injury-free and most of all to be in the present moment enjoying the training and racing.

Training tip: Try new foods and drink fluids during your long workouts to find a formula that works for you.”

Patrick Aucoin

PR Marathon (Debut)


Patrick Aucoin is a runner from New Orleans and just turned 30. He is in the MBA program at Loyola University in New Orleans and works in enterprise software for financial services. Aucoin trains and competes for the Power Miler Track Club. Back in the day, he ran cross country for Spring Hill College (Go Badgers!). When Aucoin is not working, running, or going to class, he enjoys spending time with his wife Emily and their greyhound Hoss.

Quote: I am excited to experience Austin, and what better way to do that than to run the marathon. I love to compete, so I will be bringing my best effort on race day.

Julia Vegas

PR Marathon (2:58:22)

Julia Vegas is a former collegiate athlete for FSU. Vegas took seven years off from running to start a family and has been running marathons since 2013. She has qualified for Boston 13 times, run the Boston marathon 3 times, and run Austin marathon/half marathon five times.

Quote: Austin Marathon means a lot to me because it was where I got my first Boston Qualifier (3:21 in 2014) and where I finished the highest (3rd place in 2016, 3:06:59).”

Brooke Torres

PR Half Marathon (1:25)

Brooke Torres was born and raised in Austin, has been running since middle school, and went on to run at The University of Texas for two years before getting injured and taking a break. Aside from running, she loves to spend time with her dogs, two of which are rescues from the Austin Animal Center (one was picked as one of Austin’s Fittest dogs this past March by Austin Fit Magazine). Torres is a West Lake Hills police officer and enjoys protecting and serving her community and being able to help those who can not help themselves or need some extra help. Torres was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma cancer at the end of 2015 and has been going through treatment since. Running has helped her get through the rough times and having cancer has also taught her to live in the moment and to go after your dreams because tomorrow is never promised to you.

Quote: It takes courage to fulfill your dreams. Never give up or lose sight of your goals, not every race or workout is going to go your way, what matters most is that you never give up and stay focused on the big picture.

Jamie Stroffolino

PR Marathon (2:37:38)

Jamie Stroffolino has been running competitively since 2014. In that time he has placed in the top tiers of major marathons and half marathons and has extended his talents into the world of ultramarathon running. Aside from racing, Jamie volunteers as a pace leader in marathons throughout the United States and takes great pleasure in helping others achieve their goals. Jamie is a high school music teacher in Westchester County, New York, and is also the head coach for the varsity girls track and field team. When not teaching or racing, Jamie enjoys working as a professional musician and has found great success performing at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York City. He is looking forward to racing the 2018 Austin Marathon.

Quote: Running a marathon is the most rewarding experience. It is personal, yet shared by all participants. I am excited to train, participate in, and run the Austin Marathon because of its excellent reputation, beautiful city, and fantastic people. I look forward to sharing the experience with everyone!

Katie Walter

PR Marathon (3:03:23)


Katie Walter played soccer at Duke University until she sustained multiple concussions. She switched over to marathon running her senior year of college in 2014 to stay active and competitive. Walter has run six marathons, including the Boston Marathon, which she intends to do again this year. She ran her first ever marathon with a friend and quickly realized running was something she could be pretty good at if she pushed herself. In her free time, she likes to run with the local running clubs. 

Training tip: Practice running on hills as much as possible as Austin is a hilly course.

Cecile Daurat-Thompson

PR Marathon (2:54:21)


Twelve years ago, Cecile Daurat-Thompson ran her first U.S. marathon in Austin. As a Frenchwoman living in New York, she was instantly smitten by the city, its outdoors and its crowd. Now she’s returning with 12 more marathons under her belt, looking to best her younger self and — perhaps — her fellow competitors.

Quote: I’m a late bloomer, having started seriously competing in my 30s. But don’t count me out: Experience counts when you run 26.2 miles.”

Drew Johnson

PR Marathon (2:39:19)


Drew Johnson, a 24-year-old athlete, is currently living in Fremont, CA (San Francisco Bay area). Johnson works as a Process Engineer at Cargill, in Newark, CA. He graduated in May 2017 from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, with a Bachelors of Science in Chemical Engineering. During his time in Duluth, he competed on the cross country and track teams (3000m steeplechase, 5000m, 3000m). Currently, Johnson is trying to transition to half marathon/marathon racing. In his free time, he enjoys golfing, camping, fishing, and basically everything else outdoors.

Quote: I’m very excited to run an early season marathon after adjusting my training plans over the winter. The Austin Marathon caught my eye last year and I’m super pumped to have the opportunity to run there this year. I can’t wait to compete against the great runners that have already committed to this high-profile marathon.

Brent Martin

PR Marathon (2:23)

Bret Martin teaches high school students and coaches cross country and track and field in Ohio. He recently ran the Akron Marathon is looking to run fast in Austin. Martin tries to run about 80-95 miles each week and get in two workouts per week.

Quote: I’d like to be competitive in the Austin Marathon and looking forward to participating for the first time. It is tough to train through the winter in NE Ohio, but am really looking forward to a warm weather trip to Austin in February.

Daichi Tanaka

PR Marathon (2:32:13 )

Daichi Tanaka is from Oita City, Japan which is known for its beautiful nature. Tanaka says that he’s always been an avid runner, which is ultimately the reason why he took up marathoning. The cheers from the spectators along the marathon course are a great source of his power and encouragement. He also counts cycling as one of his hobbies and will sometimes get on his bike and go off on faraway excursions. Tanaka is also looking forward to jogging, canoeing, and experiencing Austin’s nature during my stay.

Race day tip: “I personally do not have any specific rituals that I do on race day. I just try to stay as relaxed as possible and enjoy myself.”

Junko Sakamoto

PR Marathon (3:07:29)

Junko Sakamoto’s first introduction to marathoning was through a friend. Sakamoto says one of her favorite memories is running the Honolulu Marathon with her husband during their honeymoon. Her hometown of Oita City, Japan, is blessed with beautiful mountains and is located right on the ocean, making it an ideal place to train for a marathon in a natural setting. Sakamoto says that she is excited to run the Austin Marathon and enjoy the scenery along the course, which is sure to be much different than Japan!

Quote “I aim for a finish time of under 3:30!”

Wendes Gray

PR Marathon (3:19)

Wendes Gray is a native Texan currently living in Oregon. Gray says she’s gotten into the habit of using the Austin Marathon as an excuse to visit home. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2013, and got more serious about running after achieving a Boston Qualifying time in 2016. Gray dabbles in trail ultra-marathons and loves doing her long runs in the wine country outside of Portland. Gray claims the hills there are great practice for the hills in Austin!

Quote “I am thrilled to be returning to Austin with new goals on a new course. This will be my fourth Austin Marathon and ninth marathon, and Austin is by far my favorite race.”

Alex Kramer

PR Marathon (NA)


Alex Kramer is a former collegiate mid-distance runner from Cambridge, MA. The Austin Marathon will be Kramer’s first marathon. Kramer says that long runs and tempos have always been his favorite workouts, so he’s hopeful that the marathon will be a great event for him. Kramer was the University Athletic Association champion in the mile and 1500 meters while competing for Brandeis University, and a top finisher in the America East 5000m while competing as a graduate student at Stony Brook University. When he’s not running, Kramer is a healthcare technology researcher and consultant, helping hospitals and healthcare insurers improve care by adopting digital technologies.

Race day tip: “Stay focused on the moment to avoid being overwhelmed by what is left in the race. This is easier said than done, so it’s an important skill to master during longer workouts.”

John Corona

PR Marathon (2:35:39)

John Corona currently works and lives in Portsmouth, NH. Corona is originally from Connecticut, but moved to New Hampshire after attending The University of New Hampshire. He started running when he was 14 and ran his first marathon in November of 2015. Corona says he is very excited to run the Austin Marathon!!

Training tip: “Take the easy days easy, and workout days hard.”

Austin Half Marathon Elite Athlete Program

Allison Mendez-Cleaver

Half Marathon PR (1:13:20)


Allison Mendez-Cleaver is currently a nursing student hoping to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in her future. Cleaver runs for RabbitElite and is coached by Steve Magness (UH Distance Coach). Cleaver says that she has a lot of running ambitions and knows that she has a lot more left in the tank, which is why she wants to give it another go-round for the Olympic Trials 2020! Her husband and family help her believe that she can do anything she sets her mind to.

Quote: “I love the Austin running community! I feel racing one of the toughest half marathon courses (in my opinion) is very special and its in my backyard so WHY NOT race it?!”

Amanda Scott

Half Marathon PR (1:17:12)


Amanda Scott says that running, both training and competition is her passion and part of her lifestyle. Following a collegiate running career at Vanderbilt University (2005-2009) and an exciting first marathon (2:56:08) in London while studying for her masters at University of Cambridge, Scott has qualified for and competed in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials with a marathon PR of 2:42:45. Scott pursues her running goals under the guidance of former marathon world record holder, Steve Jones, in Boulder. CO.

Race day tip: “I often get nervous before a race and waste some of that excess taper energy. My tips are to try and stay calm, be confident in your training, and just have fun. When I let the stress of a race go and just run, the result and the experience are much better!”

Anita Perez

Half Marathon PR (1:18:27)


Anita Perez is a single mother of two living in San Antonio. She runs for Skechers Performance Racing Team and is also sponsored by Generation UCAN, Sports Nutrition. Aside from her lifetime PRs in the marathon from 2015, Perez also qualified and competed in the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials, placing 33rd in a time of 2:44:16. Perez recently ran the 2017 Chicago Marathon and ran 2:44:04 and qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials.

Training tip: “Be patient and don’t rush your fitness. A well-thought out training takes time to produce results, nothing happens overnight.”

Patrick Smyth

Half Marathon PR (62:01)


Smyth, 31, was a seven-time All-American who won three Big East titles while at Notre Dame, and he set a 10,000-meter school record of 28:25.85. Post-collegiately, Smyth ran a 62:01 (his PR) at the Houston Half Marathon, competed in the 2010 IAAF World Cross Country, and finished 3rd at the 2010 U.S.A. Track and Field 10,000m Championships. Over the next several years he logged several top-3 finishes at U.S. Road Championships and competed for Team U.S.A. at the 2015 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in China. He was a strong 8th place at the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials, solidifying himself as a national class marathoner. He has since diversified his running resume, competing across several trail running disciplines. The Nike-sponsored Smyth hopes to kick off his 2018 with a win in Austin!

Quote: “Training has been going well and I hope to start 2018 off with a win in Austin!”

Jason Ayr

Half Marathon PR (1:06:59)

I hope to qualify for the Olympic Trials marathon during the 2018 season. I currently work as the controller for Tracksmith, a running apparel brand based in Boston, MA. I am absolutely in love with the sport and have been involved as a club founder, an event organizer, a coach, and an athlete.

Training tip:

Becki Spellman

Half Marathon PR (1:16:05)


Becki Spellman is a three-time Olympic Trials Qualifier (2008, 2012, and 2016) marathon and plans to qualify for 2020. Spellman has twin 3-year-olds and an online coaching business. Spellman says she loves people more than running, and coffee almost as much!

Quote: “After running my first marathon in Austin 2008 and qualifying for the Olympic Trials, this race has a special place in my heart.”

Ryan Root

Half Marathon PR (1:07:03)


Ryan Root ran collegiately at North Central College. He was a part of three National Championship Titles in cross country and earned All-American status in the 3000m Steeplechase. Root received an offer to run professionally for ASICS Greenville Track Club Elite out in South Carolina. He ran for the program for a year before he decided it was time to go back to coaching and he took the Graduate Assitant position at the University of Tulsa.

Training tip: “Consistency is the key to everything in running! It’s what you do day to day that makes you better, not just one or two special workouts.”

Jocelyn Todd

Half Marathon PR (1:15:32)


Jocelyn Todd is a Ph.D. student in Bioengineering at the University of Utah. Her research focuses on investigating cartilage mechanics in the hip to improve treatment strategies. Todd’s interest in the area stems from her curiosity about health, activity, aging, and preventing joint degeneration. Todd says that she is grateful that she can use competitive distance running as a mental and physical outlet, and to bring together a great community of people. She also enjoys trail running, yoga, and exploring by snowshoe or skis!

Quote: “This will be my first half marathon that I’m training for specifically, rather than running mid-cycle for a marathon – I’m excited to see what I can do (and also to get a break from the Utah winter)!”

Alfred Kiplagat

Half Marathon PR (65:06)

Alfred Kiplagat has been running road races all over the United States. Kiplagat says that he believes it’s a talent God has given to him, and he loves doing it. Kiplagat ran track and field in college and now specializes in running middle distances. This will be his first year running the Austin Half Marathon and he is looking forward to participating in the race.

Race day tip: “Do an easy run for about 20 minutes before the race. It will help prepare your legs and your chest for the race. “

Samantha Roecker

Half Marathon PR (77:57)


Originally from upstate New York, Samantha Roecker currently resides in Philadelphia by way of Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. Roecker received her undergraduate degree from Providence College and is now working to become a Nurse Practitioner at The University of Pennsylvania. When she’s not running or studying, Roecker enjoys re-reading Harry Potter and drinking seltzer (or a glass of wine).

Training tip: “A friend once gave me marathon advice saying, ‘get to halfway feeling like you haven’t run anything.’ I now think of this in both training and racing; get halfway through the race, the workout, the repetition, etc.”

Luke Humphrey

Half Marathon PR (1:03:58 )


Luke Humphrey has been a member of the Hanson’s Brooks Distance Project since 2004 and has qualified for three US Olympic Trials in the marathon (2008, 2012, 2016). While still running competitively, Humphrey has started the online coaching group Hanson’s Coaching Services. Along with Kevin and Keith Hanson, he has put together a field guide to the Hanson philosophy.

Race day tip: “My goal is simple. I’m coming to Austin to win. I love competition and I can’t wait to line it up with this great elite field the Austin Half Marathon has put together!”

Hillary Montgomery

Half Marathon PR (1:11:49)


Hillary Montgomery began running in junior high and was immediately hooked to the competition and challenge of running. She ran track and cross-country at Texas A&M and set the mile school record, became a cross-country All-American, and was an SEC champion in the 5K. When Montgomery graduated, she started racing half marathons and qualified for the 2016 marathon Olympic Trials. She was then selected to represent Team USA in the 2016 Half Marathon World Championships after running a personal best of 1:11:49 in the 2016 Houston Half Marathon. She is currently living and training in Houston, Texas, and is coached by Steve Magness. Montgomery is also a  first grade teacher.

Quote: “I can’t wait to race in our state’s capitol! The course is a fun but challenging one with some hills that will test my toughness. Training has been going really well, and I’ve enjoyed putting in a lot of good hard miles during the cool Texas winter. My goal is pretty simple: I want to compete for the win.”

Austin Half Marathon Elite Field

Luis Chavez

Half Marathon PR (1:14:46)


Luis Chavez ran at Northwestern Oklahoma State University and is now a graduate assistant there. Chavez has run nine half marathons and three marathons. Chavez is excited to visit Austin and be a part of the elite field. To prepare, Chavez ran two half marathons in the fall to improve his half marathon time. 

Race day tip: “Stay relaxed and do the normal routine that you’re used to.”

Daniel Gollins

Half Marathon PR (1:15)

Daniel Gollins currently works as Director of Finance for Texas Children’s. He ran for a short time at the University of Central Florida and mostly trained on his own in Florida and Houston.

Quote: “Enjoy yourself when you’re out there. If your not having fun with your training or race, then it’s time to hit the reset button. Life’s to short to not enjoy yourself.”

Cate Barrett

Half Marathon PR (1:21:30)


Cate Barrett says that competition is in her DNA, but the community around her has made is possible to reach her potential. Barrett trains at Rogue and RAW Running, she coaches at Rogue, and engages with various other gyms and health-related nonprofits in Austin.

Race day tip: “With all the hills, your splits are probably going to be all over the place. Don’t fight the momentum in the early miles of the race. It’s okay to be a little faster, just know that you have to really start working on the second half of the race.”

Jennifer Angles

Half Marathon PR (Debut)


Jennifer Angles has been running competitively since the age of 12 in Kansas. Angles was a three-time all-state cross country runner, two-time track all-state in high school. She ran for the University of Kansas cross country and track team from 2013-2017 as a long-distance specialist. Angles ran in multiple Big 12 championship races and was a scorer on the cross country team in 2015 that made it to NCAA Nationals. She moved to Austin in August and has fallen in love with the running community here and has been training with 2020 Olympic trials marathon hopefuls.

Training tip: “Run hard, sleep harder.”

Randi Burnett

Half Marathon PR (1:28:53)


Randi Burnett lives in Dallas, Texas, with her family. She started running with her husband as a way to meet new people. As fate would have it, she met at a local running group. Burnett was a full-time Pilates instructor but is now a full-time mom. Even though she no longer teach pilates, she still incorporates it into her exercise regimen.

Race day tip: “Trust your training! Stick to your plan and keep pushing forward. “

Sarah Lancaster

Half Marathon PR (1:25)

Sarah Lancaster is an attorney in downtown Austin and practices commercial litigation. After graduating from high school in San Antonio, she attended the University of Texas and played tennis (’06-’10) and basketball (’10-’11) for UT. Afterwards, she graduated from the University of Texas School of Law and stayed in Austin. Lancaster recently got into running because she wanted to run a sub 5-minute mile (which she was able to do). This is her first time running in a half marathon elite field. 

Training tip: “RAW Running is the best group in Austin. If you want to get fit, show up on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. at Barton Springs Saloon for a free workout.”

Hernan Rozemberg

Half Marathon PR (1:16:06)

Rozemberg has been racing competitively for about a decade mostly in Texas, distinguishing himself since joining the masters ranks. Most recently, he finished within the top 20 masters in 2:41 at the California International Marathon, which served as the USATF 2017 National Marathon Championship. Another highlight includes racing at the 2014 USATF Club Cross Country nationals. He has taken top master in various local and regional races, including the 2017 Capitol 10000 in Austin.

Training tip: “Particularly for us old farts trying to remain competitive, definitely consider quality over quantity and never ever forget that appropriate recovery is key.”

Braden Perry

Half Marathon PR (1:09:49)


Braden Perry graduated from Weber State University in northern Utah. While he was there, he competed four years in cross country and track and field. Perry mainly competed in the 5K and 10K in track. PR’s include 31:48 in the 10K and 14:52 in the 5K (at altitude.) Perry says that he loves road running, but spends a good amount of time training in the mountains in Northern Utah. Other hobbies include skiing, camping, backpacking, and golfing.

Quote: “I’m excited to make the Austin Half Marathon my true debut in the half. I hope to set the bar high for myself and run a fast time. This will be my first time visiting Austin.”

Natasha Van Der Derwe

Half Marathon PR (1:26)


Natasha Van Der Merwe has been racing as a professional triathlete since 2010. She frequents the top step on the podium in all local triathlons and most recently all local running races as well. She has many 70.3 and IRONMAN top 10 finishes with an IRONMAN personal best time of 9:29 and 70.3 personal best of 4:28. Outside of being a professional triathlete, Natasha is a new mom, a triathlon coach, and the Director of Team Programs for Bicycle world.

Training tip: “Just focus on being better than yesterday and don’t rush the process. A slow, steady and maintainable build will get you to the start line faster and fresher than if you had to rush the process of gaining fitness.”

Jonathon Lira

Half Marathon PR (1:13:14)


Jonathon Lira grew up in the very small town of Plains, Texas. He played all sports but quickly found out he was a runner. Lira ran for South Plains College for two years and then went on to run for Texas Tech University for three years and graduated in 2015. He is now the head cross country coach for Plains ISD and teaches world history. With teaching and coaching, Lira runs when he has the time.

Race day tip: “I like to get up three to four hours before the race and eat a light breakfast. Toast with peanut butter is usually my go to.”

Crystal Kent

Half Marathon PR (1:24:36)

Crystal Kent ran cross country and track for Colorado State University from 2000-2005. During her running career at CSU she sustained numerous injuries which contributed to taking time off from racing after college. She began training again last summer with Erik Stanley and placed third at the 2017 San Antonio Marathon. She is excited to be injury-free and training again. Crystal is a psychotherapist, maintains a private practice in Kyle, and has three children that keep her very busy.

Quote: “I tend to be very injury prone so my main priority is to make sure I stay healthy. I have recently started training under Erik Stanley with Trail Roots who has been key in helping me build up slowly and stay running!”

Rexi Parcells

Half Marathon PR (Debut)

Rexi Parcells currently lives and trains in Austin, Texas. Parcells competed at Arkansas State University from 2011-2015 where she raced any distance from the 1500m to the 10K, with the 5K being her primary focus. Parcells says that she loves the running community and everything that running has taught her!

Training tip: “Quality over quantity. Make sure everything you do has a purpose.”

Anthony Holshouser

Half Marathon PR (1:14:11)

Anthony Holshouser is a pharmacy student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He is also a student-athlete for the cross country and track and field teams. Since Holshouser is redshirting this school year for both cross country and track & field, he’s decided to run half marathons to stay in shape and experience this type of race. Holshouser is excited to come down to Austin and have a great race on February 18th!

Race day tip: “Make sure to pace yourself during the beginning of the race. Often times, if you start too quickly, you may find it extremely difficult during the latter half of the race even though you feel great during the first 5-10K.”