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Ride and Run Austin with Project Connect

How Project Connect can help make Austin an even better city

For the past several years, High Five Events, owners and producers of the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon, have worked in tandem with CapMetro. We’ve partnered to ensure that runners and fans can move about promptly and safely on big race days. But our partnership with CapMetro goes beyond that. High Five Events and CapMetro have a shared vision of what the future of Austin can be—cleaner, safer, faster, more equitable. We believe Project Connect will achieve that

Austin runners number in the hundreds of thousands. Most of the time our daily run starts and ends right outside our front door. But it’s beneficial, even essential, for fitness, training, and emotional health to have some variety. The solution is to run through any of Austin’s iconic environs like circling Ladybird Lake, flying past foliage on the Barton Creek Greenbelt, or tackling the difficult terrain of the Brushy Creek Trail. 

Bettering Austin

If you’ve been a runner here for a few years, you know that those places are harder and harder to get to. It takes longer to get there and back, probably longer than the run itself. Austin traffic pollutes the air we breathe. Traveling, whether by car or on foot, is not as safe. Traveling by rail will help to reduce traffic fatalities.

If runners across Austin support Project Connect and Prop A, we’ll all reap the same benefits. More access to trails, greenbelts, and parks. Cleaner, more breathable air. And a safer run or bike ride along often-used corridors. A good example of improving safety is the planned construction of a new bridge over Ladybird Lake. The plans will reduce foot and bike traffic along Pleasant Valley Road and Longhorn Dam.

Thinking about the future

Austin’s runners often travel on weekends to events around the country and that, too, will return once the pandemic is over. Project Connect makes getting to the airport much less of a Heartbreak Hill, no matter where in Austin you live. 

For running families, our children are facing a real challenge if they want to continue to live here. Two million additional people will move to Austin by 2040, four million total. Austin can certainly remain the best place in the country to work and live. However, we need to think about what life will be like in 20 years if we don’t act now to solve our traffic problems. 

If you want to learn more about Project Connect and how you can offer your support, visit TransitNowATX.com

High Five Events has long worked with CapMetro and the City of Austin transportation department to create event plans and race routes that minimize disruption to the transportation network. CapMetro planners collaborated with High Five Events on the redesign of the Austin Marathon route, which was introduced in 2018. The new route resulted in a significant decrease in the number of affected bus stations and allowed for less disruption to the overall bus network.

Run Austin Virtual Series Introduces Third Event, Round the River 4-Miler

Round the River 4-Miler is named after popular loop on Austin’s Hike and Bike Trail

In July, the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour and 3M Half Marathon presented by Under Armour created the Run Austin Virtual Series. Everyone is invited to participate in the 6-month-long virtual series. The events provide monthly milestones as participants train for Austin’s two most beloved running events. The Run Austin Virtual Series began with the Wildflower Mile in July and the Armadillo 5K in August. The series will continue in September with the Round the River 4-Miler. Future events will be revealed at the beginning of each month, finishing with a 10-miler in December.

“The Run Austin Virtual Series gives us something to look forward to and a reason to keep pushing (literally),” said Samantha Santos, who has completed the first two events pushing her kids in a stroller. “We talk about the races and the kids know when we’re “racing” and we celebrate our finishes with smoothies or donuts!”

Run Austin Virtual Series perks

Participants of the Run Austin Virtual Series receive themed, downloadable personalized bibs, digital finisher medals, and finisher certificates. Participants will also enjoy fun extras like an online finisher photo booth and virtual reality filters for social media. Registration is open for each of the events for $18. Free entry to the entire six-event series, a $108 value,  is available to participants of the 2021 3M Half Marathon or the 2021 Austin Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K. New distances are launched at the beginning of each month. Limited-edition merchandise customized for each event will be available for purchase throughout the series.

“Participants love the Run Austin Virtual Series because it’s provided them with fun and engaging monthly milestones,” said Stacy Keese, co-owner of High Five Events. “This month’s Round the River 4-Miler is named after the popular 4-mile loop on Austin’s famous Hike and Bike Trail on Lady Bird Lake.”

Run Austin 2021

Austin’s flagship running event, the Austin Marathon, will celebrate its 30th anniversary on February 14th. It annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 35+ countries around the world. The start and finish locations are just a few blocks apart. They are within walking distance of many downtown hotels and restaurants. The finish line is in front of the picturesque Texas State Capitol. The Austin Marathon is the perfect running weekend destination. Registration is currently open.

The 3M Half Marathon boasts one of the fastest 13.1-mile courses in the country. It will celebrate its 27th year running on January 17th. Runners will enjoy a point-to-point course with mostly downhill running. The 13.1-mile course showcases some of Austin’s finest locations. Participants start in north Austin and finish near the Texas State Capitol. Many participants set their 13.1-mile PR because of the 300’ net elevation drop. Registration is currently open.

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