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Explore these 7 East Austin Highlights Near the Austin Marathon Course

Explore some of our favorite East Austin highlights and learn about their rich history

There are numerous legendary, significant, and beautiful locations in East Austin. From Huston-Tillotson University, Austin’s first institution of higher learning, to the many green spaces, parks and trails, East Austin is brimming with places you should visit. We whittled down our favorite East Austin highlights to those that are in close proximity to the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon course. We’re proud that the course runs through historic East Austin once again. On Feb. 16th, runners from around the world have a chance to soak in all that East Austin has to offer. That’s something we enjoy on a daily basis. Check out our list of the seven East Austin locations you must visit!

Huston-Tillotson University

Huston-Tillotson University's beautiful campus makes it one of the Austin Marathon's favorite East Austin highlights.

Huston-Tillotson University is Austin’s first institution of higher learning.

Established in 1875, Huston–Tillotson University was the first institution of higher learning in Austin. It is a private, historically black university. The university’s history resides with two schools,  Tillotson College and Samuel Huston College, which merged in 1952. During Labor Day Weekend, the university plays host to Six Square’s The District Cultural Arts Festival. It’s an exciting celebration that honors the rich legacy and cultural contributions of Central Texas’ Black community and provides a gathering place for everyone to enjoy Austin’s unique black arts, music, history, and culture. Photo credit: Huston-Tillotson University Facebook page.

Yellow Jacket Stadium

Yellow Jacket Track is a stone’s throw from the Boggy Creek Trail. This track is a haven for the East Austin community and those doing speedwork during their Austin Marathon training. It was restored by L.C. Anderson High alum Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson The former Dallas Cowboys linebacker is heavily invested in the track, fundraising twice to improve the track, and East Austin.

Rosewood Neighborhood Park

Near Mile 19.5, Rosewood Neighborhood Park offers numerous amenities when you visit. This East Austin highlight offers plenty of open space for a picnic, a couple of baseball fields for a pick-up game, and a splash pad.

Six Square

The Peterson Brothers headlined Six Square's Blues Music Showcase, a true East Austin highlight.

The Peterson Brothers headlined the 2018 Austin Marathon’s finish line festival.

Six Square’s mission is to preserve and celebrate the cultural legacy of the African American community that once thrived in Central East Austin through cultural arts, education, economic development, and historic preservation. They have a gallery that highlights up-and-coming artists. Six Square provides historical tours, hosts The District Culture Arts Fest, and showcases Austin’s best musicians during Black Music Month with blues, R&B, hip-hop, and jazz showcases. The Peterson Brothers headlined the 2019 Blues Music Showcase. They also headlined the 2018 Austin Marathon finish line festival!

Boggy Creek Trail

Want a short recovery run while training for the Austin Marathon? Leave Rosewood Park, walk across the railroad tracks, and hop on the Boggy Creek Trail. This out-and-back trail is ideal for stretching your legs on Sunday after your Saturday long run.

George Washington Carver Complex

Front-facing view of one of the Austin Marathon's favorite East Austin highlights, the George Washington Carver Complex.

We’re fortunate to have the Carver Complex and its dedication to the past, present, and future in Austin.

Known as the “Drumbeat of the Black Community,” the Carver Complex is an institution that is dedicated to the collection, preservation, research, interpretation, and exhibition of historical and cultural materials reflecting all dimensions of experiences of persons of African descent living in Austin, Travis County, and in the United States. The 36,000-square foot facility is also a key source of information on the history and celebration of Juneteenth. Visit this East Austin highlight and explore the George Washington Carver Museum, Carver Branch Library, and Carver Genealogy Center. Photo credit: George Washington Carver Complex Facebook page.

Texas State Cemetery

Establishment of the Texas State Cemetery (909 Navasota St.) began in 1851. The 18-acre site is just three blocks from the final mile of the Austin Marathon course. The Texas State Cemetery is the final resting place of many influential individuals, including former governors, Senators, and people instrumental with Texas gaining its independence. It has a meditation area and features monuments honoring Texans who have served the United States of America. If you’re a history buff or want to pay your respects, the cemetery is open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Was the above list of East Austin locations not enough? Visit these Google Maps of our favorite murals and other places we love around Austin!

Putting Her Mark on the World through Running

Kayleigh is putting her mark on the world and improving her health through running

Sandy Williamson submitted My Running Story’s first entry. However, the story isn’t about her. It’s about Kayleigh, her daughter and the first runner with Down syndrome to cross the Austin Half Marathon finish line. Kayleigh’s health was trending in the wrong direction. She was faced with a difficult task, one she is still working towards today. Read how Kayleigh has greatly improved her health and is putting her mark on the world.

Kayleigh Williamson, the first runner with Down syndrome to cross the Austin Half Marathon finish line, is putting her mark on the world through running.

Kayleigh Williamson was surprised with her Austin Distance Challenge jacket at the 2019 Austin Half Marathon finish line.

The start of putting her mark on the world

Kayleigh began running shortly after she was diagnosed with ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura – low blood platelets) in 2008. Auto-immune disorders tend to affect individuals with Down syndrome. In 2012, she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. That was in addition to developing sleep apnea due to her weight and becoming pre-diabetic. In 2014, her diagnoses changed from hypothyroidism to hyperthyroidism (Grave’s Disease). 

In 2016, Kayleigh started training for the Austin Half Marathon (her first!) as part of the Austin Distance Challenge. However, along the way, her platelets dropped to a life-threatening level and she had to have her spleen removed. This affected her training due to her recovery. But nine months later, she stood at her first half marathon. That first race took her almost six and a half hours to complete, but she completed it. She did not earn her jacket for the Distance Challenge.

Running to succeed 

Not earning her jacket did not deter her from signing up two more times for the Austin Distance Challenge. On her third attempt, she earned her jacket. During her attempts to complete the Distance Challenge, she steadily lost weight resulting in the elimination of her sleep apnea. Kayleigh’s sugar count was back in a normal range and her Grave’s Disease went into remission. She did not develop any new autoimmune diseases and was taken off all medications. In 2019, not only did she earn her jacket, Kayleigh lost a total of 60 pounds.

Kayleigh Williamson’s book, It’s Cool to Be Me.

Through running

Kayleigh completed her first out-of-state half marathon last April. She helped found Kayleigh’s Club, a  nonprofit running group for runners with disabilities. Kayleigh was not raised to use Down syndrome as a reason for not trying something. She was raised to know that there are things she will be able to do just like everyone else (and we celebrate that). Just like everyone else, there will be things she won’t be able to do (and we celebrate that since that means it’s something for someone else to do and we want to cheer them on).

Running has empowered Kayleigh to the point of writing and publishing her first children’s book. It’s Cool To Be Me is about the experience of her first half marathon. Her first book signing will take place on Thursday, July 11th, in Austin, Texas, at Fleet Feet Austin. Kayleigh is an Athlete Ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society. She has goals to influence other individuals with disabilities to start running and make healthy food choices.

My Running Story is a series of blog submissions from runners just like yourself. They submitted their inspirational running stories as part of a contest to win an entry of their choice to the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Their stories range from crossing their first finish line to drastic lifestyle change due to running. Everyone’s story is different and unique, impacting them in a specific way. While each story is specific to the author, everyone can resonate in some form or fashion because of the power of running. Submissions will be accepted through July 31, 2020.

8 East Austin Restaurants Near the Austin Marathon Course

Check out some of our favorite East Austin restaurants near the Austin Marathon course

East Austin has no shortage of amazing and delicious restaurants, from Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, Eater Austin’s 2017 Restaurant of the Year, to the legendary, no-frills Sam’s BBQ. We’re proud to have the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon course run through historical East Austin. Runners from around the world have a chance to visit and taste want we enjoy on a daily basis. Check out our list below of East Austin restaurants near the Austin Marathon course!

East Austin Eating

Kemuri Tatsu-Ya

A delicious spread at Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, one of the Austin Marathon's favorite East Austin restaurants.

A delicious spread at Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, don’t skip the Brisket Ramen!

This east Austin izakaya (informal Japanese pub) from the team behind Ramen Tatsu-Ya. Kemuri Tats-ya (2713 E. 2nd St.) was Eater Austin’s 2017 Restaurant of the Year. This spot marries Texas and Japanese ingredients and techniques. We recommend the Texas Ramen because it’s delicious and contains a Texas staple, brisket. Your tastebuds will thank you! Photo credit: Kemuri Tatsu-Ya Facebook page.

Historic Victory Grill

The Victory Grill (1104 E. 11th St.) was a hub of Black nightlife and music in East Austin for decades. During its heyday in the 1950s, the club hosted artists such as Etta James, Billie Holliday, and B.B. King. The Victory Grill was known as a place where music lovers could get a good meal and enjoy great music. The club attracted people from all over Texas and transcended racial restrictions imposed by legalized segregation. It’s currently open Thursday through Sunday.

Sam’s BBQ

This no-frills, East Austin staple was started in 1957 by Sam Campbell. It has been serving Austin’s original hot sausage since then! Dan Mays Sr. took over after Sam’s death in 1976. Brian Mays, Dan’s son, forges ahead with Sam’s vision: to make delicious, high-quality, home-cooked meals for all appetites. Sam’s BBQ is located near Mile 19.5 of the Austin Marathon course (2000 E. 12th St. 78702). Carnivores can enjoy everything from brisket to mutton. The sides are delicious as well!

Buenos Aires Cafe, Este

The craft cocktails at Buenos Aires Cafe are top-notch, one of the Austin Marathon's favorite East Austin restaurants.

You have to try the specially crafted cocktails at Buenos Aires Cafe.

Buenos Aires Cafe is a must-add to your list! They celebrate the holy trinity of Argentine cuisine: meat, fire, and seasonal ingredients. They are particular about the ingredients they make and sell and responsibly source them to ensure only the finest products make it to your table. Pro tip: they’ll open for brunch soon and their drinks are refreshing! Photo credit: Buenos Aires Cafe, Este Facebook page.

Bufalina

Is pizza your thing? Grab a Neopolitan-style pie and a bottle of wine from Bufalina’s at 1519 E. Cesar Chavez. You can’t go wrong with any of their appetizers. Brush up on your wine knowledge, the list is quite extensive. Pro tip: pizzas are 50% off during happy hour (4:00 p.m. – 5:30)!

Pitchfork Pretty

Looking for a spot to grab some regional and seasonal food? Pitchfork Pretty (2708 E. Cesar Chavez) is your answer. Their menu consists of everything from vegan options to the enormous BBQ beef rib. Often what you see on their menu is what has been grown in their garden that’s about a mile away.

Sour Duck Market

The outdoor seating is perfect for a group of runners at Sour Duck Market, one of our favorite East Austin restaurants.

The outdoor seating is perfect for a group of runners at Sour Duck Market.

With an on-site smoker, Sour Duck (1814 E. MLK) smokes all of their meats in-house. Swing by for breakfast during the week to grab something from their coffee shop and bakery. Their outdoor seating is great when your friends want to get together for happy hour (Sunday – Thursday, 2:00 – 6:00). Check out the extensive list of who they work with in the local food community! Photo credit: Sour Duck Market Facebook page.

JuiceLand

JuiceLand (2601 E. Cesar Chavez) was founded in Austin in 2011. They now have 25 locations in or around Austin! Their menu is award-winning, offering a delicious array of cold-pressed bottled juices, vegan cuisine, smoothie bowls, shots, and cleanses. Take your pick of fresh-squeezed juices, they’re the perfect antidote for a hot, Texas day!

Was the above list of East Austin locations not enough? Visit these Google Maps of our favorite murals and other places we love around Austin!