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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.

Ascension Seton Austin Marathon Continues Expansion Beyond Race Day

Growth continues beyond race day for Austin Marathon

High Five Events continues to grow the footprint of the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour® beyond race day. The Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented several screenings of an award-winning documentary, is involved with several Under Armour runs and demos with the community, and added numerous new partnerships, activations, and race-weekend events. Nearly 16,000 runners from all 50 states and 35 countries will run the 28th annual Austin Marathon on Sunday, Feb. 17th.

Our associates have been energized by this partnership. We have more than 350 Ascension Seton associates running in the various races and 80 medical team members supporting this weekend,” said Adam Bauman, vice president of business development at Ascension Seton. “I am excited how this partnership has woven Ascension Seton into the fabric of the Austin running community.

Austin Marathon race week actually began on Friday, Feb. 8th, when the Austin Marathon presented several screenings of Skid Row Marathon, an award-winning documentary. There were two Q&As with the producers, Gabi and Mark Hayes, and one of the inspirations of the film, Judge Craig Mitchell. Under Armour will keep the party going during race week, demoing their HOVR shoe line at group runs hosted by various Austin running clubs. Their activations will culminate in the UA HOVR Shakeout Run on Friday, Feb. 15th. There are several official post-race parties where runners can keep the good times rolling after the finish line festival.

The two-day Austin Marathon Health & Fitness Expo (Feb. 15th – 16th) will feature more than 100 vendors, Official Austin Marathon Under Armour gear, and interactive activations. Some of these include: the Austin Marathon’s 1972 Winnebago, Ascension Seton’s sport medicine van, Carvana’s DeLorean, several photo booths, Mr. Peanut and the Planter’s NUTmobile, and various food samplings. Participants can get stretched, a quick massage, or taped for race day at several locations. They can also meet the Austin Marathon pace team and watch the course preview on the Jumbotron.

“The collective buzz during Austin Marathon race week has us excited to support numerous community engagements alongside some of the most influential groups in town,” said Ari Perez, Fleet Feet Austin’s Operating Partner. “The Eastside Beer Runners, RAW Running, and the UA HOVR Shakeout Run will offer runners opportunities to further connect with the community, all culminating in the weekend’s expo, races, and post-race fun.”

Saturday, Feb. 16th, is once again highlighted by the Manzano Mile presented by Dole, named for Leo Manzano, Austin Marathon Ambassador and Olympic silver medalist. Elites will race for a $6,000 prize purse, children will run in the Future Milers of America heat, and families will complete the untimed mile together. Also on Saturday is the newly added Raise Riders Family Bicycle Weekend. The inaugural event is presented by woom bikes USA and Buddy Pegs Media. There are two free children’s bike rides during the Manzano Mile. Families will enjoy family-friendly group rides, woom bike demos, Buddy Pegs Bicycle Playdates (for children 6 and under), author readings, raffles, bicycle scavenger hunts, and more.

The Austin Marathon will celebrate its 28th year running in the capital of Texas in 2019. Austin’s flagship running event annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 30+ countries around the world. Having start and finish locations in the heart of downtown Austin puts participants and spectators near all the action and within walking distance of restaurants, hotels, and shops. Finishing with the picturesque Texas State Capitol as your backdrop is icing on the cake for the perfect running weekend destination. Registration is open for all distances.