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2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon Opens Elite Athlete Program

$26,000 Elite Athlete Program prize purse includes Austin Marathon, Austin Half Marathon, and Manzano Mile

High Five Events is accepting applications from elite runners for the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour’s Elite Athlete Program. Returning for its fourth year in a row, the Elite Athlete Program creates a competitive field of elite male and female runners while discovering emerging talent, pushing the entire talent pool to reach Olympic standards. Several Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers have expressed interest in running the Austin Half Marathon as a tune-up for the Trials.

Heather Lieberg, 2019 Austin Marathon female champ, was a member of the Elite Athlete Program.

Heather Lieberg, 2019 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon female champ!

“After winning the Austin Marathon last year and being embraced by the Austin community, I can’t wait to come back and compete in the half marathon this year,” said Heather Lieberg, who was the 2019 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon female champ (2:42:27) with an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying time. “The Austin Half Marathon will be my tune-up race for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials!”

2020 field

Runners accepted to the 2020 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®. Athlete’s applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until December 31, 2019.

“We had a specific vision for the Elite Athlete Program when we re-launched it four years ago,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events. “Since then we’ve seen the competition grow, overall times get faster, Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers, and emerging talent like Joey Whelan truly shine when given a chance to showcase their talents on Austin’s streets.”

Olympic Trials Qualifiers

Joey Whelan, the 2x (2018-19) Ascension Seton Austin Marathon champ!

Joey Whelan (2:17:03) won the 2019 Austin Marathon for the second year in a row. He also hit the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials B Standard. James Ngandu (1:04:32) and Caroline Rotich (1:13:24) won the Austin Half Marathon. Allison Macsas, 2017-18 Austin Marathon female champ, ran an Olympic Marathon Trials B standard qualifying time (2:43:11) in 2018.

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

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

2020 will mark the Austin Marathon’s 29th year running in the capital of Texas. Austin’s flagship running event annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 30+ countries around the world. Having start and finish locations just a few blocks apart, being within walking distance of many downtown hotels and restaurants, and finishing in front of the picturesque Texas State Capitol makes the Austin Marathon the perfect running weekend destination. Participants can register for the Austin Marathon website.

Austin Marathon Announces Fifth Round of Accepted Elite Runners

Fifth round of elite runners will compete during race weekend for a prize purse that totals $26,000

High Five Events is excited to announce the fifth round of accepted athletes for the 2019 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour®. Returning for its third year in a row, this opportunity creates a competitive field of elite male and female runners while discovering emerging talent, pushing the entire talent pool to reach Olympic standards. FloTrack’s live coverage highlights the competition amongst the elites, following male and female marathoners and half marathoners.

“After winning the Austin Marathon the past two years, I’m really excited to speed things up and take on the half marathon for the first time ever,” said Allison Macsas, who secured the Olympic Marathon Trials B standard at the 2018 Austin Marathon (2:43:11). “I think it’s important to regularly cycle through different race distances and the Austin Half Marathon will provide a fresh challenge with stiff competition.”

The fifth round of 2019 marathoners include:

  • Patrick Rizzo – male Elite Athlete Program (4x Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier)
  • Arturs Bareikis – male Elite Athlete Program (2nd place 2017 Madison Marathon – 2:23:14)
  • Khrystyna Bohomiahkova – female Elite Athlete Program (2:46:40 at 2018 Belfast City Marathon)
  • Mitchell Germann – male Elite Field (2018 Decker Challenge champion – 1:16:11)

The fifth round of 2019 half marathoners include:

  • Allison Macsas – female Elite Athlete Program (2017 – ‘18 Austin Marathon female champion – 2:43:11)
  • Julian Florez – male Elite Athlete Program (2nd place 2017 Victoria Half Marathon – 1:06:04)
  • Mike Lowe – female Elite Athlete Program (2nd place 2018 Shreveport Half Marathon – 1:04:54)
  • Kimi Reed – female Elite Athlete Program (1:14:43 at 2018 Bjorklund Half Marathon)
  • James Ngandu – male Elite Athlete Program (1:02:43 at 2018 Philadelphia Half Marathon)
  • Caroline Rotich – female Elite Athlete Program (1:10:34 at 2018 Boston Marathon)
  • Sipho Ngxongo – male Elite Field (2018 Koala Wellness Houston Half Marathon champ – 1:10:08)
  • Hope Hill – female Elite Field (2nd place 2018 Columbia Gorge Half Marathon – 1:24:06)
  • Alana Kopelson – female Elite Field (1:24:06 at 2018 NYC Half Marathon)
  • Kaitlyn Johnson – female Elite Field (1:20:10 at 2017 3M Half Marathon)
  • Kate Hails – female Elite Field (2:54:08 at 2015 Boston Marathon)
  • Fontaine Haskell – female Elite Field (1:23:35 at 2016 Tuscaloosa Half Marathon)
  • Ryan Taylor – male Elite Field (1:10:55 at 2018 Philadelphia Half Marathon)
  • Alex Dantzler – male Elite Field (1:20:01 at 2018 Decker Challenge)
  • Lindsey McDonald – female Elite Field (1:23:16 at 2016 Rock the Parkway Half Marathon)
  • Rebecca Marrou – female Elite Field (2018 Run the Alamo Half Marathon female champ – 1:24:18)
  • Tim Rackers – male Elite Field (1:06:46 at 2016 Dam to Dam Half Marathon)

The fifth round of 2019 Manzano Mile presented by Dole participants include:

  • Dana Mecke – female Elite Field (2018 Manzano Mile female champ – 4:47.08)
  • Jake Edwards – male Elite Field (3:58.26 at 2018 Westchester Mile)
  • Joshua Traynelis – male Elite Field (4:02.9 at 2016 UAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship)
  • Jessica Purtell –  female Elite Field (former Baylor track, 800m PR – 2:07)
  • Tansey Lystad –  female Elite Field (4:49.77 at 2017 Northwest Summer All-Comers Meet)
  • Jesse Chettle – male Elite Field (4:35 at 2017 Ad Astra Running Irish Mile)

The prize purse breakdown follows: $15,000 for the marathon, $5,000 for the half marathon, and $6,000 for the Manzano Mile presented by Dole. Runners not accepted into the Elite Athlete Program are still invited to run in the Elite Field.  Read about the first, second, third, and fourth round of accepted elite runners. The application process is closed.

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.