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, email@example.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.”
An Athlete’s Perspective is a blog series of event and/or training experiences written firsthand by the athletes themselves. An Athlete’s Perspective is a completely unscripted and raw look into the mind and daily life of an athlete as they prepare for their next race. Readers will discover training regimens, eating tips, gear recommendations, and an uncut perspective into the lives of people like you and me.
New Course Insight from the Professionals
By: Erik Stanley and David Fuentes
Erik Stanley: After a week of seeing Austin runners debating whether or not they liked the new Austin Marathon course, I decided to get together with our Trail Roots roadrunners on Sunday (9/17) to test it out. I also called up my buddy David Fuentes to join as well.
David Fuentes: The times they are a-changing. The Austin Marathon has done something that we all wanted, they expanded Austin’s pride and joy race to more of Austin. On Sept. 17, myself and Erik, with Trailroots, set out to preview the course just a couple of days after it went live to the public. To my knowledge, we are the first (that we know of, and non-High Five Events employees) to have run the new second half of the course.
ES: We connected on Enfield near Lamar to make sure we didn’t miss any of the new hills. The Enfield climb was just as tough as normal. Once we hit Guadalupe I got excited. I could imagine tons of people and college folks out cheering along the drag. I imagine this section will be full of energy and help the marathon runners during the second half of their race. I also like that this route gives runners a great tour of the UT campus, including the UT Tower.
DF: We started out around Mile 10 of Enfield and began the preview of the course. The downhills of Enfield into the light 100 ft. climb once you cross the Lamar bridge is early enough into the race that you will still have enough for the last half marathon. Turning left on Guadalupe you have about 2.25mi to get back into your rhythm and find your pace. The UT Campus section is sure to have screaming crowds out front which will help you find the energy and drive.
ES: Guadalupe north of campus should still be pretty energetic and action-packed. Once runners hit Hyde Park the route is flat and downhill with lots of shade from the huge oak and pecan trees.
DF: Heading right onto 45th street will be a nice steady downhill, with a short jaunt up before turning onto Red River. A right, then a left, and you are on the awesome downhill of Duval. If any momentum was lost before, this is where you need to make it back up.
ES: Dean Keeton will be tough no doubt, but each climb is followed by an immediate downhill.
DF: Remember that once you get up Dean Keeton, across Manor, then turn on Chicon, there are no steep hills like the Dean Keeton climb until you get to a mile or two from the finish. Webberville, Tillery, and 5th Street are going to be great, light downhill sections to get back into your rhythm if any was lost.
ES: Running through the eastside brings a new feel. I really like running back down on Cesar Chavez towards Austin. The road narrows a bit closer into town and I imagine the bars and restaurants will all be open with people cheering. This part is super flat and has a great view as you are approaching downtown. Make sure to save just a little bit of energy to get up the 11th st climb. It is steep. I do like that the hills are in a few distinct sections rather than a long slow climb. I can’t say yet if this course will be “faster,” but I do for sure like the energy and excitement that this route will bring to the race.
DF: Cesar Chavez (one of my more favorite sections) is going to be a flat road that will hopefully aid in keeping your pace for the last ~4 miles of the race. Right on Waller, left on 6th Street (short downhill), right on Red River, and then left on the last quick steep hill on 11th St. Once you crest that, it’s an all-out sprint, hobble, walk, or crawl, to the finish.
ES Take Home Notes: Enfield and Dean Keeton are the big hills for the 2nd half. I imagine people will feel energized running through campus, but will be recovering from the Enfield climb. Don’t get too amped up here. Keep your pace steady. Dean Keeton will tear many people down. This is a long, tough climb and is pretty exposed. You still have 8 miles to go as well. Plan on catching people on Dean Keeton. It’s a long straight shot. You can see far ahead in front of you. Use that to your advantage and catch some people. The 11th St. hill climb is tough, but it’s so close to the finish. I wouldn’t forget about it though. Keep it in the back of your mind, so you aren’t surprised when it hits you right before the finish line.
DF Take Home Notes: Looking at the data, the sections of the course, the possible temps, and physically running the course, I really think this could be a great day for a lot of people and the city. Austin has always had temperamental climate and been blessed with rolling hills. The new route, with new neighborhoods, is really going to make this race even better than prior years. There is a mental aspect to running a marathon that most know about, most have heard about, and most have lived through, if you have ever run the race. The thing to remember is to always keep moving forward and train for what you will be racing on. Austin is a city that people want to visit, run in, drink our delicious beer, treat themselves to our tacos, swim in our springs, and stuff their faces with our infamous BBQ. There is no better time for these activities than Austin Marathon weekend. (Beer, tacos, and BBQ after the race of course.)
Erik Stanley and David Fuentes are both highly decorated Austin runners with deep ties to the Austin endurance community.
Stanley was the 2015 Cap10K champion, 2014 3M Half Marathon champion, and an All-American and Big XII champion while at the University of Texas (2004-2008). He still competes locally and is the founder of and coach at Trail Roots. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Fuentes is a Skecher’s sponsored athlete and a member of the gold-medal winning team at the 2016 World Mountain Running Championships, a 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, and three-time winner of the Austin Half Marathon. He still competes and coaches local runners with Durata Training and Austin Running Academy. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.