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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 Opens Elite Athlete Program Application

Elite athlete program continues to grow

The 2019 Austin Marathon® presented by Under Armour® is accepting applications for the Elite Athlete Program from elite runners.The Elite Athlete Program creates a competitive field of elite male + female runners while discovering emerging talent. This pushes the entire talent pool closer to Olympic standards.Elites will compete for $26K during the #AustinMarathon, #AustinHalfMarathon, and #ManzanoMile pres. by @dolesunshine. Click To Tweet

Joey Whelan was accepted to the 2018 Austin Marathon Elite Athlete Program.

All smiles for Joey Whelan as he accepts his check.

“As a Texas resident, competing in and winning the 2018 Austin Marathon in my own backyard was a tremendous confidence boost, inspiring me to train harder and set higher goals for my running career,” said Joey Whelan. “I have since qualified for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and am looking forward to returning to the streets of Austin in 2019 to continue the positive momentum created here in 2018.”

Runners accepted to the 2019 Austin Marathon/Half Marathon Elite Athlete Program will compete for a $20,000 prize purse. The Austin Marathon prize purse will total $15,000 and award the top five male and female finishers. The Austin Half Marathon purse will total $5,000 and award the top three male and female finishers. An additional $6,000 is up for grabs for elite milers in the Manzano Mile presented by Dole®. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until December 31, 2018.

Headed in the right direction

“Rebuilding the Elite Athlete Program has taken a great amount of time, vision, and dedication, but it makes it worth it to witness an amazing human and talented athlete like Allison Macsas qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials on our brand new marathon course,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events.” “Having other elites, like our champ Joey (Whelan) and Jocelyn Todd (3rd place female, half marathon) set PRs, gain confidence, and eventually run an Olympic Trials Qualifying time indicates our program is headed in the right direction.”

Patrick Smyth ran with the 2018 Austin Half Marathon Elite Athlete Program.

Patrick Smyth misses the half marathon OTQ B standard by 16 seconds.

Joey Whelan (2:21:37) and Austinite Allison Macsas (2:43:11) both won the 2018 Austin Marathon. Macsas won her second Austin Marathon title in a row and qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials. Patrick Smyth (1:04:16) and Hillary Montgomery (1:16:15) won the Austin Half Marathon. Smyth barely missed out on an Olympic Trial Qualifying time. Review last year’s marathon and half marathon times.

Athletes accepted into the Elite Athlete Program must meet the program’s standards. Those that meet standards will receive a comped entry, standards bonuses, comped entry to the 3M Half Marathon, and be eligible for hotel and transportation reimbursement up to $350. Runners could still be accepted into the Elite Field if their times fall within a 10-15 minute window of Program standards. They would receive a comped entry only.

To be eligible for reimbursement athletes must be accepted into the Elite Athlete Program and start the race. All athletes are subject to random drug testing pre- and post-race. Read more about program details, including eligibility standards, here. Interested athletes with questions can contact elites@youraustinmarathon.com.

PROfile: D’Ann Arthur, 2018 Austin Marathon 3rd place female

D’Ann Arthur continues to masterfully blend her professional and running career

About: UPDATE – I’m working at a hospital near downtown LA until the end of June, so I’m enjoying exploring the parks and running routes near Griffith Park and the Hollywood sign. I’m currently focusing on strength and speed work for the early months of summer. There are plans to race a few 5K and 10Ks before gearing up for a marathon this fall (which one is still to be decided). I’m currently scheduled to be one of the chiefs for the Orthopedic trauma service from February 2019 to April.

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

Training tip: Don’t underestimate the importance of figuring out your nutrition plan before the race. Your stomach and your body will thank you for it.

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.

Upcoming Races: A few summer 5K and 10Ks.

Returning for 2019 Austin Marathon: As a chief for the Orthopedic trauma service (during February 2019) travel will be difficult due to the call schedule. If I can make it out to Austin, then I’ll definitely race as it’s a top notch event!

Social media: Facebook and Instagram