The Life-Changing Impact of Running

Life-changing journey brought runner to the streets of Austin

Running is life-changing. That is undeniable. It impacts runners of all shapes, sizes, and speeds. Running’s positive effects can be felt in veteran runners and newbies. It impacts everyone differently. For Jose Antonio Santiago, it all began with trying to complete 100 meters. It wasn’t easy, but it took him on a life-changing journey. Learn how that 100-meter run brought him to the streets of Austin and introduced him to his favorite marathon, the Austin Marathon.

From 100 meters to the Austin Marathon

Jose Antonio Santiago poses at the 2019 Austin Marathon finish line with a Mexican flag. His life-changing journey began when he started running nine years ago.

Jose Antonio Santiago poses at the 2019 Austin Marathon finish line.

It all started nine years ago, trying to run 100 meters continuously. I found it difficult. After I did that I increased the distance to 200 meters. Six months later I ran my first 5K. After crossing my first finish line, I felt an emotion so strong that my life changed completely. Running is life-changing. In the following weeks, I ran my first 10K. Two years after I began running I completed my first marathon in Monterrey, Mexico, where I live. I crossed the finish line in 5:01. 

Austin Marathon love

I went to Chicago in 2018 and ran the marathon in 4:16, a 45-minute improvement. My most recent marathon was the 2019 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Everything allowed me to experience the city of Austin in a different way, the course, the people, the State Capitol, the finish line festival. I’m excited to return to Austin and run my favorite marathon on February 16th! One reason I love my annual visit is I get to soak up all of Austin while running the Austin Marathon.

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, Samantha Santos, Tom Hamann, Erica Richart, Angela Clark, Rebecca Galvan, Jeremy Tavares, Axel Reissnecker, Blair Nagel, Brittany Drennan, Rene Arguello, Christy Thomas, and Shawn Livingston.

January Running Playlist Additions – 10 Must-Add Songs

Spice up your tunes with these January running playlist additions

You want music? We’ve got music! Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World and we are big music lovers. That’s why we’ve created this #WeLiketheSoundofThat playlist! We share every song on Twitter. Follow us so you know what’s next. We’ve taken 10 of our recent additions and put them in this convenient blog. Listen to the playlist (100+ songs and counting) and refresh your music with these January running playlist additions. Learn how to protect your phone if the forecast calls for rain.

Sexy Back – Justin Timberlake feat. Timbaland

This is an absolute classic. No questions about it. If you stop running for a minute and start dancing, that’s okay. Just remember, you’re the one bringing sexy back!

Figure It Out – Royal Blood

Stuck in a training rut? Add this song to your playlist, take off on your run, and the electric guitar will help you figure it out!

You May Be Right – Billy Joel

Billy Joel has tons of hits, but we chose this tune because this is what long distance runners say when non-long distance runners claim they’re crazy.

Pearl Cadillac – Gary Clark Jr.

This slow, relaxing jam is ideal for the cool down portion of your long run. Plus, it’s our opportunity to ask Gary Clark Jr. if we can use his Pearl Cadillac as our lead vehicle. He’s from Austin too so you know we’ll let him drive!

Lyla – Big Red Machine

This collaboration between Aaron Dessner (The National) and Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) provides a steady tempo. Stay locked into your pace when this song comes on!

Good Times and Bad – Shiny Ribs

Playlists that have this tune from Austin’s own Shiny Ribs are scientifically proven to have more good runs than bad!

Texas Sun – Leon Bridges and Khruangbin

Let’s keep the Texas musician train rolling with this collaboration from Fort Worth’s Leon Bridges and Houston’s Khruangbin! You’ll enjoy the rise of the Texas sun at the start of the Austin Marathon.

Fire – Black Pumas

Keep your training on track and Sunday, February 16th, will be smooth sailing! Pro tip: we’re contemplating adding the entire Grammy-nominated album from Austin’s own Black Pumas to our playlist. It’s that good!

 Little Black Submarines – The Black Keys

If you need a jolt of energy add this jam to your playlist and wait two minutes. Use that time as your warm-up. Then prepare to crank up the intensity!

Rise To The Sun – Alabama Shakes

The lyrics of this song alone warrant a spot on this playlist. Wake up, remember your goals, and attack the day. Plus, Alabama Shakes are legit!

Add these January running playlist additions before you take off for your next run. These 10 songs can pump you up, allow you to catch your breath, or help you focus on the warm-up/cool-down. However you incorporate music, just make sure you can still hear your surroundings. It’s important to know what’s going on around you! Is there something you do that we didn’t list? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.

5 Austin Restaurants That’ll Transport You to Another Place

Leave Austin without leaving Austin at these 5 Austin restaurants along Miles 13-18

You don’t need a time machine or an expensive plane ticket to enjoy unfamiliar culinary experiences. All you have to do is check out these 5 Austin restaurants along Miles 13-18 of the Austin Marathon course. Make the unfamiliar become familiar! Step back in time at a burger joint that opened in 1926 or a local deli that honors old-school delis. Enjoy authentic Thai food, explore the tastes of Ethiopia, or experience pizza from the Motor City. Need more? Add more Austin restaurants along the southern, western, and eastern portions of the Austin Marathon course to your list!

Thai, How Are You? (Mile 13)

Image of a bowl of pumpkin curry and a plate of white rice from Thai, How Are You?. Thai, How Are You? is one of 5 Austin restaurants along the Austin Marathon course that people should visit.

Thai, How Are You? prepares authentic and delicious Thai food. Credit – Thai, How Are You? FB page

This gem near the University of Texas serves delicious Thai food and is the caretaker of Daniel Johnston’s Hi, How Are You mural. Thai, How Are You? (2100 Guadalupe St.) is only open for lunch. Their updated menu features curries, noodles, fried rice, and more. Somyong (Noi) Sukkij, owner, uses traditional Thai recipes. She grew up and learned how to cook in a little farming village in Northeastern Thailand (Sichompoo, Khon Kaen).

Dirty Martin’s (Mile 13.5)

This is a true Austin original! Originally Martin’s Kum-Bak, Dirty Martin’s (2808 Guadalupe St.) has been serving burgers and shakes in the same building at the same location since 1926. Fact: it originally had a dirt floor which led to the name Dirty Martin’s! They’ve grown a little since the early days. Gone is the dirt floor. Big-screen TVs hang on the wall. But the way the food is made remains the same. 

Via 313 (Mile 14)

Image of a sandwich from New World Deli stacked high with meat and cheese. New World Deli is one of 5 Austin restaurants along the Austin Marathon course that people should visit.

The sandwiches at New World Deli are stacked high! Credit – New World Deli Facebook page.

The pizza at Via 313 (3016 Guadalupe St.) is inspired by the memories of two brothers who love Detroit-style pizza. Zane and Brandon opened their first trailer in 2011. Detroit-style pizza is unlike anywhere else. Their pies are rectangle-shaped, baked in metal trays, and filled with just about any ingredient you can imagine. Get the 10×14 and warm-up any leftovers in the oven! Pro tip: don’t skip the Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower!

New World Deli (Mile 14.5)

This local deli and cafe has been family-owned and operated since 1997. New World Deli (4101 Guadalupe St.) builds mouth-watering sandwiches that are piled high with fresh deli meat, various cheeses, and all the trimmings. They also offer burgers, salads, and soups. Enjoy live music when you eat there Monday through Saturday, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Aster’s Ethiopian Restaurant (Mile 18)

Image of several Ethiopian dishes from Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant. Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant is one of 5 Austin restaurants along the Austin Marathon course that people should visit.

Visit Aster’s for an authentic Ethiopian experience. Credit – Aster’s Facebook page.

Take a trip halfway around the world without leaving Austin. Visit Aster’s Ethiopian Restaurant (2804 N. I-35) and experience tastes, smells, and sounds of Ethiopia. They were established in 1991 and have been family-owned ever since. Their dishes truly represent the Ethiopian culture, especially Doro Wott – Ethiopian’s national dish. Their well-known lunch special runs Tuesday through Friday, from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

You have the information, now you just need to decide where to begin! Do you experience a new country or take a step back in time? This list is the perfect start if you have friends or family coming to town for Austin Marathon weekend. Make sure you double-check their hours before you leave the house. Do you have a place that you love that did not make the list? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

Austin Marathon Announces Second Round of Accepted Elite Runners

Second round of elite runners competing for $26,000 prize purse

The Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour introduces the second round of elite runners for 2020. This program, in its fourth year, creates a competitive field of elite male and female runners while discovering emerging talent, pushing the entire talent pool to reach Olympic standards. FloTrack’s live coverage highlights the competition amongst the elites, following male and female marathoners and half marathoners. Elites are listed below along with their qualifying time. The 29th annual Austin Marathon, owned and produced by High Five Events, will take place on February 16, 2020.

Image of Jessica Allen running in a recent race. She is one of the runners accepted with the second round of elite runners for the 2020 Austin Half Marathon.

Jessica Allen was accepted to the Austin Half Marathon Elite Athlete Program.

“I am so excited to run the streets of Austin as my final tune-up race before the Olympic Trials marathon,” said Jessica Allen, who ran an Olympic Trials qualifying 2:41:34 earlier this year. “I always hope to set a personal record when I toe the line, but more than that I want to get used to the level of pain I will need to be comfortable with to achieve my goals at the Trials.”

The second round of 2020 Austin Marathoners include: 

  • Mark Pinales – male Elite Field (2017 3M Half Marathon champ – 1:06:51)
  • Eliud Mwangi – male Elite Field (2017 Napoli City Half Marathon – 1:01:21)
  • Ryan Normand – male Elite Field (2019 Grandma’s Marathon – 2:29:13)
James Ngandu crosses the 2019 Austin Half Marathon in first place. He is one of the runners accepted with the second round of elite runners for the 2020 Austin Half Marathon.

James Ngandu is seeking his second Austin Half Marathon victory in as many years.

The second round of 2020 Austin Half Marathoners include: 

  • James Ngandu – male Elite Athlete Program (2019 Austin Half Marathon champ – 1:04:32)
  • Gonzalo Parra – male Elite Athlete Program (2nd place, 2019 Austin Half Marathon- 1:05:36)
  • Jessica Allen – female Elite Athlete Program (2019 Grandma’s Marathon – 2:41:34)
  • Anita Perez – female Elite Athlete Program (2018 Grandma’s Marathon – 2:29:39)
  • Taylor Dare – female Elite Athlete Program (2019 Grandma’s Marathon – 2:42:17)
  • Hattie Schunk – female Elite Field (2019 San Antonio Half Marathon – 1:23:56)
  • Sierra Snyder Elcock – female Elite Field (2019 Austin Half Marathon – 1:26:34)
  • Cheryl Serena – female Elite Field (2018 El Paso Half Marathon female champ – 1:27:47)
  • Ben Munguia – male Elite Field (2019 3M Half Marathon – 1:16:39)
  • Melinda DuBose – female Elite Field (2018 Richmond Half Marathon – 1:26:11)

The prize purse breakdown follows: $15,000 for the marathon, $5,000 for the half marathon, and $6,000 for the Manzano Mile presented by Dole. Runners not accepted into the Elite Athlete Program are still invited to run in the Elite Field. Runners that are not accepted to the Elite Athlete Program or the Elite Field are not eligible for prize money. Read about the first round of accepted elite runners.

The Austin Marathon will celebrate its 29th year running in the capital of Texas in 2020. 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. Registration is currently open.