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Lance Armstrong Named Charity Chaser for Austin Gives Miles

Lance Armstrong will run 26.2 miles to benefit Central Texas nonprofits

High Five Events announces Lance Armstrong as the Austin Gives Miles Charity Chaser for the 2019 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour®. Armstrong’s involvement will highlight Austin Marathon’s continued support of the Austin community, elevate Austin Gives Miles’ profile, and help surpass the $1 million fundraising goal. The Austin Marathon will take place on Sunday, February 17th. Austin Gives Miles is the official philanthropic program of the Austin Marathon.

Lance Armstrong named Charity Chaser for the Austin Marathon's Austin Gives Miles program.“I’m honored to be the Charity Chaser and help Austin Gives Miles surpass it’s $1 million goal,” said Armstrong. “Training for the Austin Marathon has begun and I’m ready to amplify the positive effects Austin Gives Miles and its official charities have on our community.”

Lance Armstrong is an Austinite, philanthropist, cyclist, and an avid runner. He is founder and owner of WEDŪ, a content destination designed to provoke and equip people to embody an endurance lifestyle. Armstrong hosts two podcasts: The Forward, which features down to earth conversations between Armstrong and a myriad of personalities; and THEMOVE which offers listeners a rare, insider’s perspective on the world’s most iconic cycling races. WEDŪ also produces endurance cycling events Texas HŪNDRED and Aspen FIFTY. Armstrong has completed numerous marathons, half marathons, and triathlons.

“We’re thrilled to have Lance as the Austin Marathon Charity Chaser,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events. “The positive impact he’ll have means Austin Gives Miles will continue to raise its profile to better serve Central Texas nonprofits and AGM charities can raise more funds to better serve our community.”

Austin Gives Miles

During the 2018 Austin Marathon, Austin Gives Miles contributed more than $670,000 to the Central Texas community. The Moody Foundation pitched in for the third year in a row. They matched contributions made, up to $10,000, for each organization. Last year’s Austin Gives Miles Official Charities recruited more than 650 runners and provided more than 1500 volunteers.

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.

Austin Marathon Donates to Camp Kesem – UT for Second Year

The Austin Marathon® is proud to present Camp Kesem – University of Texas with a donation of $3,195. Camp Kesem is receiving this donation because they won the month-long Austin Gives Miles social media contest that determined Ricky Doyle, Spectrum News Austin Sports Director, would run the marathon on behalf of their organization. Austin Gives Miles is the Official Charity Program of the Austin Marathon. The check presentation will take place on Tuesday, March 27th, at 10:30 a.m. in front of the University of Texas Tower near Mile 13 of the new Austin Marathon course.

On February 18th, Doyle was the final marathoner to begin the Austin Marathon and finished in 310th place. Race day weather was ideal and Doyle finished his debut marathon in 3:35:44, earning $1.00 for every marathoner he passed. Doyle was the fourth Charity Chaser and was outstanding in increasing awareness for the Austin Gives Miles program. In addition to earning $3,195 for Camp Kesem, Doyle also raised $3,233 through his personal fundraising page and $256 by asking others to donate one penny to their favorite Austin Gives Miles charity for every marathoner he passed. This brings Doyle’s total 2018 Austin Gives Miles financial contribution to $6,684.

“I’m so thankful High Five Events allowed me to be this year’s Austin Marathon Charity Chaser,” said Doyle. “Once I got to know the Camp Kesem leaders, it was inspiring to see what they do and their dedication and passion for the camp. When the marathon got tough in the final miles, knowing I was running for such a great cause helped me keep pushing.

Camp Kesem at University of Texas at Austin was founded in 2011. They support children affected by a parent’s cancer diagnosis in the Austin community by providing a week-long summer camp experience and year-round peer support. Camp Kesem at University of Texas at Austin is operated by 75 student volunteers and serves 150 campers aged 6-16. They also offer a CIT (Counselor In Training) program in which campers aged 16-17 can apply for and prepare to become a counselor.

On behalf of all of the charities in the Austin Gives Miles program, we applaud Ricky for his dedication, thank him for his generosity, and congratulate him on his incredible performance at the 2018 Austin Marathon,” said Carly Samuelson, Austin Gives Miles Program Coordinator. “We are honored Ricky ran his debut marathon in conjunction with Austin Gives Miles and worked tirelessly to raise funds and spread awareness.

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 marathon, half marathon, or 5K beginning June 1st.

An Athlete’s Perspective – Issue 12

An Athlete’s Perspective is a blog series of event and/or training experiences written firsthand by the athletes themselves. An Athlete’s Perspective is a completely unscripted and raw look into the mind and daily life of an athlete as they prepare for their next race. Readers will discover training regimens, eating tips, gear recommendations, and an uncut perspective into the lives of people like you and me.

Beyond 26.2 Miles with All Blind Children of Texas

By: Cheryl Austin

Image of co-captains Janet Bean and Paula Willson (credit: Chrissy Cowan)

ABCTX co-captains Janet Bean and Paula Willson (credit: Chrissy Cowan)

“Unimaginable.” If I had to describe my experience with the 2018 Austin Marathon and Austin Gives Miles in one word, it would be “unimaginable.” I had run marathons before–four, in fact: one in each state I had lived–but this one was different. This time, the extent of my accomplishments reached far beyond myself, and would potentially impact the lives of the 9,000 legally blind children statewide.

As an individual with a congenital visual impairment (oculocutaneous albinism) and a teacher at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, I know well the unique educational needs of this population, and was pleased to learn about the efforts of All Blind Children of Texas (ABCTX). ABCTX is “a resource for the optimal physical, mental, emotional and social development” of these children, with a mission to fund and facilitate their participation in programs and activities that “provide hands-on learning experiences that help to master the skills needed to work alongside sighted peers.”

So, when I had to drop out of the Austin Marathon in 2017 due to an injury, I made myself a promise . . . If I ever ran another marathon, it would be for this charity, and I would not do it alone.

Image of ABCTX aid station at Mile 15. (credit: Chrissy Cowan)

ABCTX aid station at Mile 15. (credit: Chrissy Cowan)

Convincing the All Blind Children of Texas board to support my idea was easy, and the Austin Gives Miles application was straightforward and simple. What happened after we were accepted as a first-time Official Charity Partner was nothing less than remarkable. Under my leadership, a team of 59 runners and walkers came together and, with additional support from the Moody Foundation and Qualcomm, raised $33,500, more than double any previous ABCTX fundraiser. Some were experienced athletes; others had never participated in a road race before, and most had little to no fundraising experience. Local businesses opened their doors to host events and their hearts to donate goods and services, raising more dollars and building awareness of our mission and camaraderie within the community.

On race day, the miles seemed shorter and my legs less fatigued, as I reflected on this significant journey. With the support of more than 75 volunteers at Mile 15, my parents on the sidelines, and my husband at my side, I crossed the finish line with a sense of pride that I cannot describe. I had already won, so to learn that I had placed first in the female VI (B3) division was just icing on the cake!

For more information about All Blind Children of Texas, please visit www.abctx.org.