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This One is for You Dad: Running to End Pancreatic Cancer

Tom began running after his father’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis

Tom and his wife, Laura, after running a race for Project Purple, a nonprofit whose mission is to find a cure for pancreatic cancer.

Tom and his wife, Laura, after running a race for Project Purple.

Everyone runs for a reason. Sometimes you run for yourself, sometimes you run for others, sometimes you run for a cause. Like many runners, Tom Hamann does all three. Tom runs to improve his health. He runs to honor his father’s memory. And he runs to end the disease that took his father (TBird), pancreatic cancer. Read Tom’s edition of My Running Story and learn why he lends his legs and his miles to a cause that’s near to his heart. Lend your legs and miles during your Austin Marathon training when you run on behalf of an official Austin Gives Miles charity.

Running to honor his father’s memory

In 2016, my dad – who I always referred to by his nickname “TBird” – was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I started running soon after. It helps keep me positive and healthy. Last February, I planned to visit TBird in Austin with my wife Laura and our boys Max and Joe. We live in Michigan. I thought this might be our last visit with my dad. I signed up to run the Austin Marathon 5K during our visit. My boys were registered for the Manzano Mile

Tom's father, TBird, with his two grandsons before he lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.

Tom’s father, TBird, with his two grandsons.

My dad didn’t make it that long. He declined rapidly the weekend before the race. Laura and I flew down right away to be with TBird. We were with him when he died on February 14, 2019. Worst Valentine’s Day ever. I decided to run as many events as I can to help raise money for pancreatic cancer charities. I’m doing this in my dad’s name and to help others suffering from this terrible disease. In May 2019, I did my first half marathon in Chicago, running for Project Purple.

Returning to Austin

My family is coming back to Austin to honor my dad on the first anniversary of his passing – Friday, February 14th. Max and Joe are going to do the Manzano Mile on February 15. I will run the Austin Half Marathon on February 16th. We’re excited for this trip back to Austin; I just wish my dad were still here to join in the fun. 

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, and Samantha Santos.

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.

2019 Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships

Watch the top collegiate athletes at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships

We’re HUGE fans of track and field and supporting the next generation of athletes. That’s why we’re excited our friends at The University of Texas are hosting the Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships on June 5-8.

Little known fact, Leo Manzano, the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour’s Celebrity Ambassador, is a 2x Outdoor 1500m Champ (2005 – 3:37.15; 2008 – 3:41.25). He ran for the Texas Longhorns and went on to win a silver medal in the 1500m at the 2012 Olympics!

Don’t miss a minute of the action in Austin! You’ll want to watch the best collegiate athletes compete against one another throughout four days of exciting competition. We think you’ll enjoy watching future professional and Olympic athletes compete at The University of Texas’ Mike A. Myers Stadium.

Buy your tickets, learn about the Fan Experience, plan your daily schedule, and more on their website. Who knows, you just might see one of these athletes running the streets of Austin at a future Austi Marathon, half marathon, or Manzano Mile presented by Dole.

About the Men’s Championships

The NCAA Division I Men’s Championships date back to 1921 when Illinois won the inaugural event in Chicago. Since then, USC has had the most success with 26 overall team championships and more than 100 individual titles. In recent years, Florida has been the dominant team with team championships in 2012, 2013, 2016, and 2017.

About the Women’s Championships

The NCAA Division I Women’s Championships began in 1982 with UCLA taking home the first two team titles. From 1987 through 1997, LSU recorded 11 consecutive team championships. Over the last six years, however, the field has been wide open with five different team champions, including LSU, Kansas, Texas A&M, Arkansas, and Oregon (who has won two team titles in that span).

Come out and join us in watching one of the most exciting track meets in the world!