2021 Austin Half Marathon Signals Austin’s Successful Return to Running

The running community celebrates Austin’s successful return to running

On Sunday, April 25th, the Ascension Seton Austin Half Marathon presented by Under Armour signaled Austin’s successful return to running. Nearly 5400 registered for the Austin Half Marathon or KXAN Simple Health 5K benefitting Paramount Theatre. Austin’s successful return to running was highlighted by first-time runners, costumes, countless smiles, and an energetic atmosphere. Participants have been training for months, including decorated Texas Longhorn athletes Leo Manzano and Nate Boyer. Even though the 3-block-long finish line festival was left out this year due to the Mitigation Plan, finishers were encouraged to celebrate at one of the dozens of Austin restaurants and bars that provided deals and discounts for the virtual goodie bag. 

Credit: Scott Flathouse.

“The Austin Half was my first race in 12 years and I couldn’t have asked for a better event to bring me back into running,” said Jack McBee, who finished in 2:06:32. “The energy was incredible — clearly everyone was ready to get back to running Austin! I’m sure I speak for most runners today when I say kudos to the Austin Marathon team for making this an unforgettable experience!”

Successful return to running

Temperatures began in the mid-50s. The rest of race day was picturesque, without a cloud in the sky. Twelve local bands performed on the 13.1-mile course, giving participants a taste of The Live Music Capital of the World. Social media confirmed participants were blown away by their goodie bags which included a custom Under Armour shirt, pint glass, bandana, sunglasses, and more. Finishers received a virtual goodie bag that includes exclusive deals at more than 30 sponsors, partners, and local Austin businesses. 

“After the year we’ve had I’m so grateful I ran with the Austin running community today,” said Andrea Mee, who’s celebrating finishing her third Austin Half Marathon in a row at Star Bar. “The Austin Half Marathon is hands down one of the best races I’ve ever done and I’m so thankful they were able to host it today!”

Jordan West is the Austin Half Marathon champion (1:07:31). Michael “Slim” Morris (1:07:56) and Jared Schatz (1:08:04) crossed the half marathon finish line after him in second and third place. Michelle Murray is the Austin Half Marathon female champion (1:24:21). Carrie Birth-Davis (1:27:45) and Julia Rhie (1:29:25) were the second and third females to cross the half marathon finish line.

Credit: Scott Flathouse.

“After so many canceled races it felt great to toe the Austin Half Marathon start line,” said Murray, who says she earned her first major victory. “This was an experience I will never forget and I’m thankful that race organizers went above and beyond in making today as safe as possible!”

Austin Marathon Gives

The 26 Central Texas nonprofits that are part of Austin Marathon Gives charity program have raised more than $700,000. Austin Marathon Gives will receive a grant from presenting partner the Moody Foundation for the sixth year in a row. The grant will match donations raised, up to $10,000, for each participating organization. Since 2014, Austin Marathon Gives has raised $3.8 million for numerous worthy Central Texas nonprofits. Through their grants, the Moody Foundation has given $1.2 million to the program since 2016.

Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar.

“This was an absolutely incredible day and experience, especially considering I nearly beat my friend and Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano,” said Nate Boyer, who helped raise more than $20,000 for Dell Children’s. “I’ll never forget how the running community came together at the Austin Half Marathon to mark Austin’s successful return to running. Training begins to get my revenge against Leo in 2022!”

Extended 30th anniversary

Registration is open for the Austin Marathon’s extended 30th anniversary, scheduled for February 20, 2022. Special pricing is set at $119 for the marathon, $99 for the half marathon, and $49 for the KXAN Simple Health 5K. These amazing deals will be available for a limited time only. Don’t miss your chance to Run Austin, the #1 city in America. 2021 participants can see their results on the Austin Marathon website and continue to share their memorable experiences on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Runners can expect their FinisherPix race day photos to be ready in 24-48 hours after the race.

Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar.

“I just know that Austin’s successful return to running today is going to springboard into an even more amazing experience at the Austin Marathon’s 30th anniversary in 2022,” said Manzano, Austin Marathon Celebrity Race Ambassador. “The running community is a special one, and to see them come together and support one another, local businesses, and nonprofits after months of training truly exemplifies how amazing this community is.”

The Austin Marathon would like to thank the volunteers, spectators, and participants who made the race so special. They would also like to thank title sponsor Ascension Seton, Under Armour, The Moody Foundation, Super Coffee, Camp Gladiator, GU Energy Labs, Nuun Hydration, Tacodeli, Siete Foods, Fleet Feet Austin, KXAN, Paramount Theatre, SPIbelt, Dole Packaged Foods, H-E-B, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Goodwill Central Texas, FloTrack, FinisherPix, Life Time, Boy Scout Troop 49, the City of Austin, Austin Police Department, Department of Public Safety, CapMetro, Austin Public Health, and Travis County EMS.

2021 Austin Half Marathon Marks the Return to Running in Austin

Excitement is brewing for Austin’s return to running

The Ascension Seton Austin Half Marathon presented by Under Armour is putting the final touches on Austin’s return to running. This year’s event was postponed from its original date of February 14th. Formal approval was issued by the City of Austin on March 23rd for the Austin Half Marathon and KXAN Simple Health 5K benefitting Paramount Theatre. Austin’s return to running will feature more than 5300 runners, overflowing goodie bags, live music, and a Mitigation Plan. The Austin Half Marathon, owned and produced by High Five Events, will take place on April 25, 2021.

“The return of the Ascension Seton Austin Half Marathon and 5K is extremely important to our city and a great start to bringing back large-scale sports events,” said Drew Hays, Director of the Austin Sports Commission. “The Austin Marathon was one of the last events held in 2020 and now one of the first to return in 2021 and we are excited to welcome athletes to Austin.”

Austin Half Marathon perks

The Austin Half Marathon course will feature 12 local bands who will perform live music on the 13.1-mile course, giving participants a taste of The Live Music Capital of the World. In-person participant goodie bags will feature custom swag including an Under Armour shirt, pint glass, bandana, sunglasses, and more. In addition, each participant will be emailed a virtual goodie bag. It will include exclusive deals from sponsors, partners, and local Austin businesses. 

“The Austin Marathon has positively impacted Austin in so many different ways for many years,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events. “We’ve worked tirelessly to bring this year’s event to life and we’re excited to produce the Austin Half Marathon and 5K alongside our many partners, sponsors, and the City of Austin.”

Mitigation Plan

High Five Events and their sponsors and partners like Ascension Seton, Austin Public Health, and the City of Austin are all fully committed to the Mitigation Plan. The full COVID-19 Mitigation Plan is available to view and includes:

  • Participation capacity reduced by 53%
  • Density reduction by 88%
  • Assigned start times extended over a longer time frame
  • Enhanced sanitation
  • Adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols
  • Elimination of mass gathering activities
  • Discourage spectators from attending to reduce COVID transmission risk

Participants have been fundraising on behalf of one of the amazing 26 Central Texas nonprofits as part of the Austin Marathon Gives charity program which has a goal of raising more than $700,000. Austin Marathon Gives will receive a grant from presenting partner the Moody Foundation for the sixth year in a row. The grant will match donations raised, up to $10,000, for each participating organization. Since 2014, Austin Marathon Gives has raised $3.8 million for numerous worthy Central Texas nonprofits. Through their grants, the Moody Foundation has given $1.2 million to the program since 2016.

Austin Half Marathon Advice from the Austin Marathon Pacers

Comedor Run Club Reveals their Favorite Places to Carb Load

This is an exclusive list of places to carb load from the experts: Comedor Run Club

Carb load. Runners often list this as their favorite part of training. For the uninitiated, you essentially load up on carbohydrates before your race. This provides the fuel your body will need to complete what you’re about to ask of it. Austin is well known for its food scene. Who better to ask where to carb load before race day than the amazing and talented individuals who work in the restaurant industry? We reached out to Comedor Run Club and asked for their expert opinions and favorite places. And they delivered!

Comedor Run Club. credit: Elmer Ferro

Comedor Run Club has created a new and inclusive space for Austin’s food community to connect through running. The runners below are staples in this community so you know their recommendations are on point! This crew is also fundraising for The Mike & Sherry Project, an Austin Marathon Gives nonprofit that offers high-quality and accessible mental healthcare to service industry employees. So if you love the recommendations below thank them by donating to this amazing cause! Now let’s learn about the best places in Austin to carb load. Not sure where some of these places are, Carb Load with Comedor Run Club Google Map at the end of this blog will point you in the right direction.

14 best places to carb load in Austin

Annie Dukes – Old Thousand

Salt and Pepper Tofu

Carb-loading is one of my favorite activities, so it’s such a bonus that we are SUPPOSED to do it for race day! My favorite carbs to consume, race or no race, weekend, weekday, lunch, dinner, or breakfast leftovers is Old Thousand’s Salt and Pepper Tofu dish. First of all, this is the best-prepared tofu dish I’ve had in Austin. As a plant-powered athlete, I’ll scour the city for the perfect combo of protein and carbs. And I think I found it at Old Thousand. I have dreams about this dish. In fact, I just recently ate it. Don’t sleep on their many veggie appetizer options too! 

Megan McQuaid – Old Thousand

My very favorite post-race carbo reload is the chicken and waffles at Old Thousand. I had Sunday brunch there the first time I ran 16 miles (my longest run to date at that time). The Old Thousand chicken and waffles dish is a perfect combo of sweet, salty, and spicy with a mix of great textures—think crispy chicken nuggets and moist, chewy bubble waffles. It also provides the perfect nutritional refuel with carbs from the waffles and protein from the chicken! I also love that they make the waffles and chicken into bite-sized pieces so that when your brain is fried after running hard, you don’t have to fumble around with a knife and fork.

Florian Opaska – Lucy’s Fried Chicken

Chicken and Waffles

When I think of carb-loading before a race I think of chicken and waffles! Flaky yet crunchy, sweet Belgium waffles and tender fried chicken smothered in maple syrup. Healthy? I think not, but plenty of easily digestible carbs for race day and absolutely delicious! The first place that comes to mind is Lucy’s Fried Chicken right off of South Congress on 2218 College Ave. Lucy’s has been one of my favorites since I moved to Austin in 2014. Right down the street from Big Stacy Pool and Park, Lucy’s always hits the spot after a long run and/or swim. PS – my daughter also approves!

Elmer Ferro – Fixe Southern House

Served with Steen’s butter, preserves, and honey Fixe’s biscuits are by far one of my top carb-loading secrets! Fueling up with a delicious lunch at Fixe is key for those crucial moments on my run when things get tough. I can always fall back on the fact that these biscuits are a piece of heaven on earth. You can eat your way there, one biscuit at a time. Pro tip: get a dozen for your post-run snack and save a few for the morning after. That southern comfort is soothing.

Leigh Ennis – Pinthouse Pizza

Honey Bear Pizza

Now open for dine-in, curbside, or delivery, Pinthouse Pizza offers a laid-back and casual atmosphere perfect for someone looking for fun and relaxation. Offering a wide variety of appetizers, salads, pizzas, and desserts, Pinthouse is the prime place for carb loading. My personal favorite is the Honey Pear Pizza. Loaded up with a genius combination of crisp pear slices, caramelized onions, blue cheese, prosciutto, fresh basil, and local honey, this pizza’s flavor makes it impossible to have just one slice!

James Robert – Old Thousand

Nothing beats race day vibes, but pre-race rituals are almost just as cool. Hydrating the day prior, laying out your race kit the night before, and definitely the good ol’ carb load. Austin offers so many great choices for a pre-race meal but one that springs to mind, for several reasons, is Old Thousand. First, because Chefs Jeff Brown and Rhys Davis are good friends and fellow Comedor Run Clubbers – it’s all about keeping it in the family. Second, the 11th Street location is in my neighborhood and one of my favorite spots in town. Third, there are carbs aplenty. My go-to would be brisket fried rice or, if in season, XO crawfish fried rice. Dan Dan noodles would be the clear winner, but sadly are not on the menu all the time. Hey boys, bring back the Dan Dan!

Philip Speer – Thai Kun

Crab Rice with Nam Phrik Nam Plaa

Pre-race, I love to get down on Thai Kun‘s Roast Half Chicken with Boom Sauce and Nam Jim Jaew and their famous Crab Rice with Nam Phrik Nam Plaa. But first, you must start with the super delicious and unique Chive Cake with Serrano Nam Jim, one of my favorite bites in the whole city. Don’t forget to end with Mango Sticky Rice, but they only carry it when the mangoes are at the peak of the season! Chef Thai (Egnipont Changthong) and his crew are cooking some of the best food around in the spot nestled up in Rock Rose.

Mark Jackson – Via 313

If I’m psyching myself up and trying to get carbs into my system for a big effort the next morning, I choose Via 313’s Detroiter. Compared to a bowl of spaghetti, choosing to eat this slightly spicy, cheese and meat-laden pizza is objectively a crazy decision. But I just wanna be happy, not fast. 

Page Pressley – Tiny Grocer

Tiny Grocer

I like to pop into Tiny Grocer to grab coffee, water, and/or a healthy snack. Whether it’s a protein bar, a pastry, or something from the cold case, I can roll through, pre-, post-, or mid-run and re-fuel. To have a locally owned spot that’s so versatile in the neighborhood and on my favorite run routes has been such a welcome addition to not only my workout routine but also to my weekly shopping. The Austin Marathon will run right past my favorite fuel spot! They’re making big moves!

Anna Mendoza – Uncle Nicky’s

When I’m carb-loading, I wanna go somewhere with GOOD bread. As a pastry chef, I’m generally pretty high maintenance about it, but Uncle Nicky’s kills it with their sandwiches and toasts. The roasted porchetta on focaccia is to die for and I’m constantly craving the Classico tostada. And of course, you can never go wrong with pasta. 

Luis Benedetto – Comedor

Pambazo Torta

The Pambazo Torta is my favorite way to carb load. The dish is served at Comedor in downtown Austin (Comedor Run Club’s home base) and is available on their Sunday brunch menu. The reason I love this sandwich is it’s seasoned with spicy red chorizo and has guacamole, black bean puree, and fried egg. The flavors and size of this giant sandwich make sure you’ll not need to go back for seconds. The Comedor patio is my favorite spot to grab a bite and enjoy the beautiful secluded setting. 

Quentin Bates – Hopdoddy Burger Bar

Sweet potatoes are always my go-to carbo-load before a race. I reached a point where I wanted to change it up. So I got some sweet potato fries from Hopdoddy’s. A sweet and savory meal with just the right amount of sea salt. Excellent for carb-loading because it’s high in fiber, keeps you full, and easy to digest. 

Trisha Bates – Bufalina and Juniper

Bufalina pizzas

I try to choose restaurants first by local ownership, second by where they source their food, and third by what I want to eat. The night before a race, I tend towards something filling but not too heavy, which for me would include lots of fresh veggies and herbs. For the pre-race carbs, I have two favorite choices. Either Bufalina for pizza and their daily pasta special or Juniper for a pasta-centric meal that includes lots of light and fresh flavors. 

Sarah Jeter – Ceviche7

Rice and potatoes? All I’ve ever wanted. Owner and solo-chef (David) of this tiny Peruvian food truck brings truly authentic Peruvian food to Austin—and it’s amazing! Lomo saltado is a traditional Peruvian staple: beef, red peppers, onions, and cumin served with rice and house-made french fries. David cooks the beef perfectly so it melts in your mouth, and with rice and potatoes, you never leave hungry.

Yes, it was not easy to put this post together on an empty stomach. But we did it. Now you must decide which of these places will you visit to carb load? Comedor Run Club provided the insider information, now you must decide!