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The Life-Changing Impact of Running

Life-changing journey brought runner to the streets of Austin

Running is life-changing. That is undeniable. It impacts runners of all shapes, sizes, and speeds. Running’s positive effects can be felt in veteran runners and newbies. It impacts everyone differently. For Jose Antonio Santiago, it all began with trying to complete 100 meters. It wasn’t easy, but it took him on a life-changing journey. Learn how that 100-meter run brought him to the streets of Austin and introduced him to his favorite marathon, the Austin Marathon.

From 100 meters to the Austin Marathon

Jose Antonio Santiago poses at the 2019 Austin Marathon finish line with a Mexican flag. His life-changing journey began when he started running nine years ago.

Jose Antonio Santiago poses at the 2019 Austin Marathon finish line.

It all started nine years ago, trying to run 100 meters continuously. I found it difficult. After I did that I increased the distance to 200 meters. Six months later I ran my first 5K. After crossing my first finish line, I felt an emotion so strong that my life changed completely. Running is life-changing. In the following weeks, I ran my first 10K. Two years after I began running I completed my first marathon in Monterrey, Mexico, where I live. I crossed the finish line in 5:01. 

Austin Marathon love

I went to Chicago in 2018 and ran the marathon in 4:16, a 45-minute improvement. My most recent marathon was the 2019 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Everything allowed me to experience the city of Austin in a different way, the course, the people, the State Capitol, the finish line festival. I’m excited to return to Austin and run my favorite marathon on February 16th! One reason I love my annual visit is I get to soak up all of Austin while running the Austin Marathon.

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. Other My Running Story submissions include Kayleigh Williamson, Kirsten Pasha, Michael Coffey, Samantha Santos, Tom Hamann, Erica Richart, Angela Clark, Rebecca Galvan, Jeremy Tavares, Axel Reissnecker, Blair Nagel, Brittany Drennan, Rene Arguello, Christy Thomas, and Shawn Livingston.

Lifestyle Change Introduces Mother of Two to Running

Lifestyle change leads to running, becoming more of a role model for her kids

Think back to when you started running – what was the reason? Just like every runner is different, so is the story of how every runner became a runner. Watching her boys grow up, Christy Thomas, mother of two, decided to make a lifestyle change. Read her edition of My Running Story to learn what led to this lifestyle change and what distance she’ll run during Austin Marathon weekend.

My running story is extraordinary because it has changed me inside and out

Image of Christy Thomas at a running event. She began running because she wanted to make a lifestyle change. Christy will run the 2020 Austin Half Marathon!

Christy started running after deciding to make a lifestyle change.

In 2015, I realized that I needed to make a lifestyle change. I would watch my two amazing little boys and be happy because they were mine. And then I would start thinking that if I wanted to be able to enjoy them as much as I could and as long as I could, I needed to change my habits and my health. There weren’t any major medical issues, but I was a bit overweight and pretty sedentary. I was ready to change my lifestyle.

I started with just a few miles at a time. During the Texas summer. And IT WAS HOT. Some would say it was the perfect time to begin. I was miserable. Then it got a bit better. And I found friends who ran. Better yet, friends that lived close, ran the same pace, and had kids about the same ages. It all clicked. 

Can’t stop running

I haven’t stopped running. In fact, my friends have pushed me to run farther and faster (not at the same time) than I ever thought I could do myself. Since I decided to make a lifestyle change and began running, I’ve become a healthy and happy role model for my kids. And I know I’ll be around for a long time to see my boys grow up. I’m excited to run the Austin Half Marathon and continue to be an excellent mother and role model.

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. Other My Running Story submissions include Kayleigh Williamson, Kirsten Pasha, Michael Coffey, Samantha Santos, Tom Hamann, Erica Richart, Angela Clark, Rebecca Galvan, Jeremy Tavares, Axel Reissnecker, Blair Nagel, Brittany Drennan, and Rene Arguello.

Manzano Mile Returns to 2019 Austin Marathon Race Weekend

 Manzano Mile celebrates milers of all speeds and abilities, from elites to children

The Manzano Mile presented by DOLE® will take place on Saturday, February 16th, during Austin Marathon weekend. Dole Packaged Foods’ return marks the second year of the $6,000 prize purse, continued race-day support, and increased involvement with the popular mile-long race.

Registration opens Monday, July 30, 2018. Participants can register for the timed mile for $30. It will cost $10 for the Future Milers of America (9 and under). Current Austin Marathon and half marathon registrants will receive a 50% discount when they add the Manzano Mile during their registration. Participants can register, read Manzano Mile details, and review prize purse breakdown on the Mazano Mile webpage.

“On behalf of Dole Packaged Foods, we are proud to support Leo and his efforts to encourage others to lead a healthy and active lifestyle,” said Matt Ingram, Director of Sales for Dole Packaged Foods. “We look forward to supporting Manzano Mile participants of all ages and abilities on February 16, 2019!”

The event will begin at 11:00 a.m. and take place entirely on Riverside Dr. The course is next to the Health and Fitness Expo at Palmer Events Center. Participants will receive a bib and a Manzano Mile race shirt. Packet pick up will take place on-site and begin Saturday at 9 a.m.

“I’m thrilled that Dole Packaged Foods will continue their support of Manzano Mile and be involved during the popular Austin Marathon weekend,” said Leo Manzano, Austinite and two-time Olympian. “Manzano Mile highlights athletes of all abilities, including elites, up-and-coming runners, families, and the next generation of milers!”

Photo finish

Last year’s male elite field created a buzz with their photo finish. Daniel Herrera (4:11.35) crossed first. Yasunari Kusu (4:11.69) and Dylan Blankenbaker (4:11.84) took second and third. Dana Mecke (4:47.08) finished as the first elite female. Austinites Jennifer Hall (4:51.72) and Mary Beth Hamilton (4:56.67) rounded out the elite female field.

The Austin Marathon will celebrate its 28th year running in the capital of Texas on February 17, 2019. 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, Austin Half Marathon, Austin Marathon 5K, Manzano Mile, or the Austin Marathon VIP Experience.

Manzano is a highly decorated track star, four-time USATF National Champion, seven-time Team USA member, two-time Olympian, and silver medalist in the 1500m at the 2012 Olympic Games. He was the first American to medal for USA in the 1500m since 1968. Manzano attended Marble Falls High School where he was a nine-time Texas 4A State champion in track and cross country. Manzano was accepted to The University of Texas and won five NCAA National Championships and was a nine-time All-American.