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2018 Austin Marathon Showcases Revamped Marathon Course to the World

Allison Macsas qualifies for 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials with 2:43:11 on revamped marathon course

The Austin Marathon unveiled the revamped marathon course for marathoners and the entire world on Sunday, February 18th, showcasing the city of Austin throughout the entire FloTrack livestream. More than 15,000 participants registered for the Austin Marathon, half marathon, and 5K, coming to Austin from all 50 states and 35 countries. Tens of thousands of spectators lined the Austin streets cheering on runners, waving hilarious signs, and providing endless energy. The highlight of the day featured Allison Macsas qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials on the revamped marathon course, finishing in 2:43:11, in front of family and friends.

Allison Macsas, 2018 Austin Marathon female champion (2:43:11)

“Winning the Austin Marathon for the second time was even more magical than the first,” said Macsas. “The amount of hometown support coupled with a deeper field and cool weather helped me feel stronger than I had thought possible, and ended with an OTQ which was a huge surprise! The entire event was incredibly well-executed and I can’t think of a more rewarding place to win a marathon than here in Austin.”

FloTrack’s live coverage followed the men’s and women’s elite fields for the marathon and half marathon. The forecasted rain stayed away and start time temperatures hovered in the low 50s. Drizzle was on and off and low-hanging clouds helped keep race temperatures ideal for great times and hundreds of PRs. Aid stations hydrated runners with nuun performance, Clif Bar handed out Clif Shots at two Clif Zones on course, and runners celebrated with friends and family in the Oskar Blues beer garden at the finish line festival.

Syracuse alumnus Joey Whelan (2:21:37) crossed the finish line first, besting 2017 Austin Marathon champion Joe Thorne’s time of 2:32:05. Craig Leon (2:23:24) and Daniel Bishop (2:26:27) rounded out the men’s marathon field, respectively. The male half marathoners finishing in the top three consisted of Patrick Smyth (1:04:16), Ryan Root (1:08:51), Luke Humphrey (1:08:54).

Joey Whelan, 2018 Austin Marathon male champion (2:21:37)

I kept it simple and tried to keep an even pace while working the hills on the course. I make ranch roads in the Texas Hill Country for a living so I do a lot of hill training,” said Whelan, who also won the 2018 3M Half Marathon (1:09:06). “It was great to have people yelling my name on the course; I love the Austin running community!”

Austinite Allison Macsas (2:43:11) shaved more than five minutes off her 2017 winning time.  Ashley Paulson (2:46:11) and D’Ann Arthur (2:49:37) finished second and third respectively. The top three female half marathon finishers were Hillary Montgomery (1:16:15), Allison Mendez-Cleaver (1:16:19), and Jocelyn Todd (1:17:19).

Participants can see their results on the Austin Marathon website and continue to share their memorable experiences on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Runners can expect their FinisherPix race day photos to be ready in 24-48 hours after the race.

The Austin Marathon would like to thank the volunteers, spectators, and participants who made the race so special. They would also like to thank the City of Austin, Austin Police Department, Department of Public Safety, CapMetro, Travis County EMS, Under Armour, H-E-B, Under Armour, Clif Bar, nuun, Dole, Medicine in Motion, Oskar Blues Brewery, Ben Phillips – Engel & Völkers Austin, Qualcomm, SPIbelt, ALVIES, FloTrack, Austin Sports Commission, FitRankings, Keep Austin Beautiful, Goodwill Central Texas, and Austin Massage Company.

2018 Austin Marathon Set to Debut New Marathon Course

High Five Events is ready to showcase the revamped Austin Marathon® course. The race will begin at 7 a.m., feature a highly-competitive elite field, and be livestreamed by FloSports so spectators and loved ones around the globe can watch. Runners from all 50 states and 34 countries will run the 27th annual Austin Marathon on Sunday, Feb. 18th.

“The new Austin Marathon course will present different challenges and require a different strategy than the old course,” said Allison Macsas, 2017 Austin Marathon female champion. “I’m really looking forward to racing through a new mix of neighborhoods and more of the awesome hometown support that helped get me to the win last year!”

The new Austin Marathon course was designed to provide a better participant and spectator experience and allow enhanced traffic flow along the new marathon course, while still finishing with the picturesque Texas State Capitol as every runner’s backdrop. The first half of the Austin Marathon will remain unchanged. After Mile 12, half marathoners will head south to the finish line while marathoners continue east before turning north and running on Guadalupe St. through the heart of the University of Texas campus. The new marathon course will highlight Austin attractions like the University of Texas Tower and historic Hyde Park neighborhood, while taking marathoners on a tour of East Austin’s restaurants, murals, and landmarks.

new marathon courseFloSports, a sports media based in Austin, Texas, will highlight the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon’s Elite Athlete Program by following the men’s and women’s elite leaders throughout the race. They will also have a camera capturing finishers as they cross the finish line. In addition to being available to watch online for free, the feed will be displayed on the finish line Jumbotrons.

“Excitement has been building around the new Austin Marathon course and we’re ready to host thousands of runners from around the world during race weekend,” said Stacy Keese, co-owner of High Five Events. “With the addition of the Manzano Mile we’ve expanded race weekend to further showcase the city of Austin as a true running destination.”

The following is a sample of the athletes in the Elite Field competing for the $20,000 prize purse: Allison Macsas (2016 Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier), Craig Leon (2016 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier), David Fuentes (2016 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier), Becki Spellman (3-time Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier, 2008, 2012, 2016), Luke Humphrey (3-time Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier, 2008, 2012, 2016), Patrick Smyth (8th place 2016 Olympic Trials – 2:15:26), Allison Mendez-Cleaver (2016 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier), Amanda Scott (2-time Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier, 2012, 2016), Hillary Montgomery (2016 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier).

The Austin Marathon will celebrate its 27th year running in the capital of Texas on February 18, 2018. Austin’s flagship running event annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 34 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.

An Athlete’s Perspective – Issue 7

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.

New Course Insight from the Professionals

By: Erik Stanley and David Fuentes

Athlete's Perspective

AUSTIN

Erik Stanley: After a week of seeing Austin runners debating whether or not they liked the new Austin Marathon course, I decided to get together with our Trail Roots roadrunners on Sunday (9/17) to test it out. I also called up my buddy David Fuentes to join as well.

David Fuentes: The times they are a-changing. The Austin Marathon has done something that we all wanted, they expanded Austin’s pride and joy race to more of Austin. On Sept. 17, myself and Erik, with Trailroots, set out to preview the course just a couple of days after it went live to the public. To my knowledge, we are the first (that we know of, and non-High Five Events employees) to have run the new second half of the course.

UT Tower

ES: We connected on Enfield near Lamar to make sure we didn’t miss any of the new hills. The Enfield climb was just as tough as normal. Once we hit Guadalupe I got excited. I could imagine tons of people and college folks out cheering along the drag. I imagine this section will be full of energy and help the marathon runners during the second half of their race. I also like that this route gives runners a great tour of the UT campus, including the UT Tower.

DF: We started out around Mile 10 of Enfield and began the preview of the course. The downhills of Enfield into the light 100 ft. climb once you cross the Lamar bridge is early enough into the race that you will still have enough for the last half marathon. Turning left on Guadalupe you have about 2.25mi to get back into your rhythm and find your pace. The UT Campus section is sure to have screaming crowds out front which will help you find the energy and drive.

ES: Guadalupe north of campus should still be pretty energetic and action-packed. Once runners hit Hyde Park the route is flat and downhill with lots of shade from the huge oak and pecan trees.

DF: Heading right onto 45th street will be a nice steady downhill, with a short jaunt up before turning onto Red River. A right, then a left, and you are on the awesome downhill of Duval. If any momentum was lost before, this is where you need to make it back up.

Til Death Do Us Part

ES: Dean Keeton will be tough no doubt, but each climb is followed by an immediate downhill.

DF: Remember that once you get up Dean Keeton, across Manor, then turn on Chicon, there are no steep hills like the Dean Keeton climb until you get to a mile or two from the finish. Webberville, Tillery, and 5th Street are going to be great, light downhill sections to get back into your rhythm if any was lost.

7th St. bridge over Tillery St.

ES: Running through the eastside brings a new feel. I really like running back down on Cesar Chavez towards Austin. The road narrows a bit closer into town and I imagine the bars and restaurants will all be open with people cheering. This part is super flat and has a great view as you are approaching downtown. Make sure to save just a little bit of energy to get up the 11th st climb. It is steep. I do like that the hills are in a few distinct sections rather than a long slow climb. I can’t say yet if this course will be “faster,” but I do for sure like the energy and excitement that this route will bring to the race.

DF: Cesar Chavez (one of my more favorite sections) is going to be a flat road that will hopefully aid in keeping your pace for the last ~4 miles of the race. Right on Waller, left on 6th Street (short downhill), right on Red River, and then left on the last quick steep hill on 11th St. Once you crest that, it’s an all-out sprint, hobble, walk, or crawl, to the finish.

ES Take Home Notes: Enfield and Dean Keeton are the big hills for the 2nd half. I imagine people will feel energized running through campus, but will be recovering from the Enfield climb. Don’t get too amped up here. Keep your pace steady. Dean Keeton will tear many people down. This is a long, tough climb and is pretty exposed. You still have 8 miles to go as well. Plan on catching people on Dean Keeton. It’s a long straight shot. You can see far ahead in front of you. Use that to your advantage and catch some people. The 11th St. hill climb is tough, but it’s so close to the finish. I wouldn’t forget about it though. Keep it in the back of your mind, so you aren’t surprised when it hits you right before the finish line.

Living the Good Life in Austin, TX

DF Take Home Notes: Looking at the data, the sections of the course, the possible temps, and physically running the course, I really think this could be a great day for a lot of people and the city. Austin has always had temperamental climate and been blessed with rolling hills. The new route, with new neighborhoods, is really going to make this race even better than prior years. There is a mental aspect to running a marathon that most know about, most have heard about, and most have lived through, if you have ever run the race. The thing to remember is to always keep moving forward and train for what you will be racing on. Austin is a city that people want to visit, run in, drink our delicious beer, treat themselves to our tacos, swim in our springs, and stuff their faces with our infamous BBQ. There is no better time for these activities than Austin Marathon weekend. (Beer, tacos, and BBQ after the race of course.)

Erik Stanley and David Fuentes are both highly decorated Austin runners with deep ties to the Austin endurance community.

6th St. view towards Red River

Stanley was the 2015 Cap10K champion, 2014 3M Half Marathon champion, and an All-American and Big XII champion while at the University of Texas (2004-2008). He still competes locally and is the founder of and coach at Trail Roots. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Fuentes is a Skecher’s sponsored athlete and a member of the gold-medal winning team at the 2016 World Mountain Running Championships, a 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, and three-time winner of the Austin Half Marathon. He still competes and coaches local runners with Durata Training and Austin Running Academy. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.