Kayleigh Williamson made history on February 19th at the 2017 Austin Marathon® presented by NXP. She became the first female participant with Down syndrome to complete the Austin half marathon. Despite warmer than normal temperatures, Williamson finished the 13.1-mile course in six hours and 23 minutes. All throughout the course, Kayleigh had thousands of cheering supporters, including a race official and a local police K-9 unit. She approached the finish line in a dead sprint surrounded by her mother, amazing friends, and her RunLab coaches.
“I loved the race and that I was able to race with all of my friends and inspire others,” said Williamson.
Roughly 125,000 participants, spectators, and volunteers enjoyed the 26th annual Austin Marathon, produced by High Five Events. Former Austinite Joe Thorne (2:32:05) and Austinite Allison Macsas (2:48:16) both won the marathon; while South Africa’s Sphamandla Nyembe (1:11:36) and former Austinite Allison Mendez (1:21:42) won the half marathon. FloTrack provided live coverage of the marathon and captured everyone as they crossed the finish line.
“Coming back to Austin was wonderful because it holds a special place in my heart,” said Thorne. “Being able to race and win the championship is amazing.”
Second and third place in the marathon for the men went to Daniel Bishop of Salt Lake City (2:33:02) and former Austinite Jared Carson (2:35:11). Central Park Track Club’s Caroline Veltri (2:58:36) and Austinite Jennifer Harney (3:07:26) finished the marathon second and third respectively.
“Although I’ve been involved in the Austin Marathon as a pacer for years, nothing could have prepared me for what a special experience it would be to race it for the first time,” said Allison Macsas, female marathon champ. “The local support out on the course and behind the scenes (thanks FloTrack!) was incredible, and played a huge part in carrying me through some very tough spots to the first marathon win of my life – a win made even more special by the fact that it was here at home!”
Adam Waldum of Cedar Park (1:12:33) and Nicholas Sterghos of Colorado Springs (1:16:05) finished second and third in Sunday’s half marathon. The second and third place females in the half marathon were Beth Panke (1:24:48) and Tracie Akerhielm (1:26:10).
FloTrack’s world-class coverage followed the men’s and women’s elite field throughout the race and watched as every participant crossed the line. At times they had a trio of announcers highlighting the Austin Marathon and interviewing staff, sponsors, and the winners live. Participants and spectators were both able to enjoy the enhanced finish line festival that included a beer garden, TriggerPoint Recovery Zone, two Jumbotrons that displayed FloTrack’s live coverage, and several local food trucks.
Official Race Ambassador and two-time Olympian Leo Manzano pumped up the runners before they began their race. He was also the inspiration for the Manzano Mile, which was the final marathon, half marathon, and 5K. Manzano is known for his signature kick, which helped him win the silver medal at the London Games in 2012. Every participant kicked for their last mile and finished with the heart of a lion.
To cap off the amazing day Chikage Windler, CBS Austin Chief Meteorologist and Austin Gives Miles Charity Chaser, started the marathon in last place. As the Charity Chaser, she ran on behalf of Camp Kesem – University of Texas and raised $1.25 for every marathoner she passed. She finished in 926th place and raised $3671.25.
“The weather didn’t do us any favors, but I was humbled to run on behalf Camp Kesem UT,” said Windler. “And I’m already looking forward to next year!”
Participants can see their results on the website and continue to share their amazing experiences on the Austin Marathon’s social media channels. For those planning ahead to February 18, 2018, next year’s registration is open and set at the low price of $90 (marathon) and $70 (half marathon). This amazing deal will be available until January 25th. Runners can find their race day photos on Marathonfoto.com. Search for ‘Austin Marathon 2017’ and enter your last name or bib number.
The Austin Marathon would like to thank the volunteers, sponsors, spectators and participants They would also like to thank NXP CEO Richard Clemmer, Mayor Steve Adler, silver medalist Leo Manzano, and former race directors John and Stacey Conley for their race day support.