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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 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon Set for Epic Race Day

The stage is set for Sunday, Feb. 17th, to be an epic race day

High Five Events is putting the final touches on what will be another memorable Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour®. The world-class event has many highlights, including a 2:45 pace group for female elites to hit the Olympic Marathon Trials B standard, Lance Armstrong as the Austin Gives Miles Charity Chaser, a highly-competitive elite field, and the return of the FloSports livestream. Nearly 16,000 runners from all 50 states and 35 countries will run the 28th annual Austin Marathon on Sunday, Feb. 17th.

“Austin has such an amazing fitness community and we have a marathon that reflects that,” said Will Nation, member of the 2:45 pace group and 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier. “It’s my hope that I can assist talented individuals in achieving their goal of hitting an OTQ and demonstrate that the Austin Marathon is a race where you can do just that.”

The 2019 course is the same as when the Austin Marathon unveiled their new course in 2018. The course is designed to provide a better participant and spectator experience and allow enhanced traffic flow along the course, while still finishing with the picturesque Texas State Capitol as every runner’s backdrop. Race-day highlights include nuun performance at every aid station, two Gatorade nutrition stations, live music on course, athlete tracking, the infamous and energetic RunLab Bridge at Mile 7, and much more.

FloSports, 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. The 3-block-long finish line festival features the Under Armour recovery zone, the Oskar Blues Austin beer garden, live music, and several local food trucks. Austin’s own, Delivery Service, will rock two post-race sets. The two-day Austin Marathon expo will take place on Friday, Feb. 15th, and Saturday, Feb. 16th.

“Unveiling the new Austin Marathon course last year generated a lot of positive buzz, showcased Austin to runners from around the world, and propelled us to new heights in 2019,” said Stacy Keese, co-owner of High Five Events. “Working with amazing sponsors like Ascension Seton and Under Armour has allowed us to further enhance our customer’s experience, making race day one they’ll talk about for some time.”

The following is a sample of the athletes in the Elite Field competing for the $20,000 prize purse: Joey Whelan (2020 Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier), Anita Perez (2x Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier), Jameson Mora (2x Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier), Patrick Rizzo (4x Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier), Heather Lieberg (2020 Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier), Jocelyn Todd (2020 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier), Ryan Miller (2x Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier), Samantha Calderon (2020 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier).

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.

Universal Advice from an Elite

Rizzo’s universal advice can be used by every runner

Patrick Rizzo is one of the most decorated and versatile distance runners in the United States. In December 2017, he ran 2:17:27 at the U.S. Marathon Championship in Sacramento, California. This made him a four-time Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon; a remarkable and almost unprecedented achievement which solidifies his running legacy. To honor this accomplishment, Colorado Running Magazine named Rizzo its runner of the month. Rizzo is competing in the Austin Marathon’s Elite Athlete Program on race day. He’s sharing some tips that have led to his success. His universal advice can be applied to all runners!

An Athlete’s Perspective – Issue 15

by: Patrick Rizzo

Race day for the Austin Marathon (Feb. 17th) is rapidly approaching. We’re in the final month of training now. This is where the fatigue sometimes gets the best of us. The mileage starts to think it’s winning. Nerves start to sneak into our thoughts. Taper madness is trying to set in. All of those things are normal though. It means you’ve been working toward a goal and you care enough to push yourself in order to achieve it.

Congratulations on getting this far! This is the metaphorical peak of the hill and now it’s time to come downhill. With that said, mistakes can still be made. Having covered the marathon distance 20 times myself, I’d like to share some universal advice. This universal advice is applicable to runners of all speeds and experience levels. Implement this universal advice to run your best and have a positive experience at the 2019 Austin Marathon.

One

Decide what you’re eating the night before the race and practice eating that same food before quality days. When a friend asks what you thought of the course, it’s better not to answer in terms of how frequent the port-o-potties were spaced on the course. Especially if it’s within your control to practice.

Two

Sticking with the specifics, have you tried nuun hydration? nuun performance will be the on-course hydration. Same with Gatorade gels and blocks. There will be two stations on the marathon course handing out nutrition. If it doesn’t suit your preference, plan ahead! Experiment with what DOES work and how you can carry that on race day. Gels pinned to the inside of shorts is a great way to carry your calories.

Three

What kind of shape are your shoes in? Will they make it to race day or are you 50/50? Now is the time to plan ahead. Nothing is worse than befriending the medical staff because your forefoot grafted to the insoles of your new shoes (yes, that happened to me at the London Marathon in 2013).

Four

Know your pace and stick to it. You shouldn’t be training more than five seconds faster than race pace and that’s even limited. If your regular runs are faster than goal marathon/half pace, either your goal is too slow or your training is too fast. Also, on race day, it’s easy for emotions to start out high (and take your pacing plan right with it). Prepare ahead of time to start at a pace that you plan to still find achievable in the last 5K.

Five

HAVE FUN! Really. If training has become “work” then you’re doing it wrong! I train 100 miles a week, with a wife, a kid, and a full-time job. It’s still something I “get to do” and not “have to do.” Dads and moms, you can’t be afraid to get that running stroller out for the easy days and chat with the little one while you’re out there. My son and I have solved the world’s problems while we run together. It also gives me time to bond with him and gives my wife a break to do her workout. Fun comes from having balance and perspective.

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.