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Meet High Five Events – The Team that Brings You the Austin Marathon

Meet High Five Events and learn about the folks behind the Austin Marathon

High Five Events is a unicorn, aka a native Austinite, born and raised in Austin. What began with the launch of a single triathlon in 2003 has now grown into one of the largest privately-owned event production companies in the United States. Meet High Five Events and you’ll see they’re endurance athletes themselves. They know what to expect from a world-class event experience. This fact, coupled with the staff’s 100+ combined years of event experience, is how they produce some of the country’s best events, like the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon, 3M Half Marathon, and Kerrville Triathlon Festival. If you don’t know the crew, take some time to meet High Five Events!

Time to meet High Five Events!

Stacy Keese – founder, co-owner, Director of Marketing and Communications

Image of Stacy Keese at a triathlon. Read this blog to meet High Five Events.Stacy directed her first 5K/10K while still in high school. She graduated from Tulane University where she helped produce races for a local nonprofit. After moving back to Texas in early 2000, she quickly continued on this path with Jack Murray. They created Jack’s Generic Triathlon in 2003 and Rookie Triathlon in 2004. Many new events followed in the following years. Her eye for design and marketing knowledge keep High Five Events growing and looking towards the future of event productions. Aside from her love of all types of events, Stacy also enjoys learning about natural health and working on genealogy.

Jack Murray – founder, co-owner, Director of Sponsorships

Image of Jack Murray showing the peace sign at the 2017 3M Half Marathon. Read this blog to meet High Five Events.Jack is one of the founding partners of Jack & Adam’s Bicycles, High Five Events, and EventDog.com. From 2003 to 2016, Jack & Adam’s Bicycles was known from coast to coast as one of the main fitness hubs in Austin before selling to Bicycle World in 2016. Jack has been head mechanic for Team USA Triathlon since 2003, traveling around the world as support staff for Team USA. He also serves as Chair of the Board for the Austin Sports Commission. Jack is originally from Sinton. He ran the mile in high school and was a state champion in 1994. After high school, he ran track and cross country at Texas A&M Kingsville. Jack is also a partner in a few fine Austin establishments like Gibson Bar, The Wheel Bar, Burro Cheese Kitchen, TenTen, Devil May Care, and Mayfair. When Jack is not working on one of his many businesses, you can find him out and about with his wife and business partner, Stacy Keese. They’re always enjoying everything Austin has to offer, from running on Town Lake Trail to listening to live music at ACL.

Dan Carroll – founder, co-owner, Director of Operations

Image of Dan Carroll posing at an event in his High Five Events gear. Read this blog to meet High Five Events.Dan leads the operations team in which he is the master of checklists, course maps, site plans, equipment lists, truck schedules, and signage manifests. He has more than 15 years of full-time experience in endurance event production and has been the certified race director for several hundred triathlons, running races, and bike rides. Dan is USA Triathlon Level 2 Certified Race Director, the highest certification level that USA Triathlon offers. He was one of the first race directors in the country to achieve that certification. Prior to founding High Five Events, Dan worked at Trilogy Software. He has civil engineering degrees from Cornell University and Georgia Tech. Dan loves being outdoors. He spends his free time running, cycling, hiking, and building things with his wife and two daughters. Dan’s personal motto is “Attack the day.” That often drives his family crazy, but it sure comes in handy when setting up a racecourse starting at 1:30 in the morning.

Tina Teich – Marketing Manager

Image of Tina Teich and her husband, Alex, at 2017 Kerrville Triathlon. Image of John Chung at Rookie Triathlon. Read this blog to meet High Five Events.Tina started with the company in 2011 while working at Jack & Adam’s Bicycles. Prior to that, she spent three years managing a local wine bar while obtaining her bachelor’s degree at The University of Texas. Tina loves her job because it inspires others to invest in a healthy and active lifestyle. She enjoys the variety of different events owned and produced by High Five Events and finds adapting marketing strategies to each event’s personality to be a fun challenge. When not working with the best team in the business, Tina enjoys listening to audiobooks, training for triathlons, and playing outdoors with her daughter and husband.

John Chung – Event Manager and Course Lead

Image of John Chung at Rookie Triathlon. John was born in Canton, China, but got to Texas as soon as he could. He’s been in Austin since 1997. John began his career with High Five Events in 2012 as part-time employee. He became full-time in 2015 and hasn’t looked back. John has a BS in aerospace engineering, but he never “uses” his degree. He entered the triathlon world in 2007 as a way to get back in shape. Getting in shape via triathlon is what eventually led to his position at High Five Events. John spends his spare time wrenching on his own car. Yes, he still swims, bikes, and runs whenever he gets the chance.

William Dyson – Communications Manager

Image of William Dyson posing with Megan Haynes, his wife. Read this blog to meet High Five Events.William is an Austinite Unicorn too. He broke into the running scene in 2007 as an intern for the Austin Marathon. He began working with High Five Events in 2016. William has his master’s degree in sport management and bachelor’s degree in mass communication. He has more than a decade’s worth of experience with communication, event, and program management, and media, community, and public relations. William’s role allows him to capitalize on his previous experience, utilize both degrees, and tap into his outgoing personality. He is a medium runner (shoutout to RAW Running), vinyl connoisseur, Cheesehead, and amateur backyard pitmaster. William and Megan, his stunning wife of nearly three years, and Napoli, their 8-year-old blue heeler, live in south Austin. 

Emily Stevens – Athlete Services Manager

Image of Emily Stevens and one of her dogs sitting on a picnic table.Before Emily started with High Five Events, she admired it from afar for many years from multiple perspectives. She worked on the sponsor side as an event manager for Clif Bar; participated as an athlete, 2014 Rookie Tri was her first triathlon; and joined the part-time operations crew working the run and bike courses and managing the aid stations for three seasons. Emily became the full-time Athlete Services Manager in the spring of 2017. She thoroughly enjoys interacting with athletes and helping them get ready for race day! And she’s honored to work side-by-side with such a dynamic team of brilliant, hands-on, work-your-butt-off team members. When Emily isn’t working, she watches her husband fence (with swords), endures his relentless telling of puns, or watches him and their 12-year-old build computers. They also LOVE taking their dogs on hikes around the Austin.

Scott Moore – Site and Supply Manager

Image of Scott Moore and his famous moustache. Scott and his sweet handlebar moustache have been with High Five Events since September 2017. He was born in Mesquite, Texas, and was all-state track and cross country and Poteet High School. He also graduated from Texas Tech University where he ran on the track and cross country teams for two years. In his free time, Scott plays hockey, rides his motorcycles, listens to podcasts, and hikes with his Chocolate Lab Milo. His favorite professional sports teams are the Dallas Stars and San Fransisco 49ers.

Laura Gomez – Volunteer Manager

Image of Laura Gomez, High Five Events Volunteer Manager. Laura has been the Volunteer Manager at High Five Events since 2018. She was born in Bogota, Colombia, and moved to Austin after graduating from high school. Throughout middle school and high school, Laura was fortunate to learn four languages and experience different cultures. She’s currently finishing her master’s degree in recreation management. If she’s not studying or working she’s likely working out, reading, eating ice cream (Amy’s Ice Cream sweet cream with rainbow sprinkles is her jam), or taking a nap.

Caroline Curran – Marketing and Communications Assistant

Image of Caroline Curran, High Five Events Marketing and Communications Assistant. Caroline has been with High Five Events for almost a year now (wow!). She was born and raised in Texas and comes from a big, crazy family who means the world to her. Caroline attended college at the University of Arkansas, but moved back to Texas after getting her degree. Texas is her home. Caroline has lived in Austin for a little less than a year, so she is still getting to know the city. She’s loving every second. Some of her favorite things to do are check out local restaurants and bars, attend concerts or shows, and swim in one of the many, many swimming holes in and around Austin. 

Thanks for taking the time to meet High Five Events. It’s time for everyone to get back to work. They’re planning for the Austin Marathon’s 30th Anniversary on February 14, 2021!

Race Weekend Creates Lifelong Memories for Thousands of Participants

Race weekend saw two proposals, two new world records, and thousands of goals met and PRs set

On Sunday, Feb. 16th, the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon demonstrated why it is considered one of the world’s top running events. More than 16,000 participants registered for the Austin Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K. They traveled to Austin from all 50 states and 36 countries. Tens of thousands of spectators lined the Austin streets cheering on runners, waving hilarious signs, and providing endless energy. Everyone celebrated the day at the three-block-long finish line festival that showcased live music, beer garden, and local food trucks. The race weekend celebration continued well into the night at five Official Austin Marathon after-parties.

“Having the ring with me gave me an immense sense of purpose when pushing through the difficult moments in the race,” said Mark Pinales, who carried his now fiancée’s engagement ring with him for 26.2 miles. “I was scared of losing it but determined to finish as quickly as I could!”

World-class live broadcast

FloTrack’s live coverage followed the champions and the men’s and women’s elite fields for the marathon and half marathon. William Bertrand is the Austin Marathon champion (2:28:11). Kyle Allen (2:36:16) and Ryan Normand (2:37:45) rounded out the men’s marathon field. The male half marathoners finishing in the top three consisted of James Ngandu (1:04:26), Kevin Kochei (1:05:10), and Allen Sumrall (1:06:32).

Sarah Jackson is the Austin Marathon female champion (2:55:16). Elena Oslund (2:59:53) and Sara Striegel (3:08:51) finished the marathon second and third respectively. The top three female half marathon finishers were Allie Kieffer (1:14:29), Kathryn Fluehr (1:16:42), and Maura Tyrrell (1:20:39).

“After moving to Austin a year ago, I immediately knew I wanted to stay for a long time. Hearing so many friends cheer my name on the course yesterday, it felt like home,” said Kieffer, who ran the Austin Half Marathon as her final tune-up before the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials. “ I’m thrilled to win and excited to represent Austin at the Olympic Marathon Trials!”

Two new world records

Vicar David Peters, of Pflugerville, Texas, ran the world’s fastest marathon in a cassock. He completed the marathon in 4:06:49. Peters beat the previous record of four hours and 16 minutes. The next world-record was set by Drake Muyinza. He ran the world’s longest fashion runway on the streets of Austin and changed outfits every four miles. The previous record was two miles. Both Guinness World Records are awaiting official verification. The 2020 course was designed to provide a better participant and spectator experience and allow enhanced traffic flow along the course. Participants finish with the picturesque Texas State Capitol as their backdrop. Tens of thousands of spectators cheered along Austin streets. Race-course highlights include two GU Energy Labs Energy Zones, live music, 22 aid stations with nuun performance.

“I commend the runners for the work they accomplished and I’m so thankful to all the volunteers and people who came out to support us,” said Muyinza, who crossed the finish line in 6:18:04. “It may not have been my PR, but in the end, we set our world record and successfully pulled off seven unique looks in 26.2 miles. I hope everyone enjoyed the show!”

Another successful race weekend

Fleet Feet Austin began race weekend with the Austin Marathon Shakeout Run on Friday, Feb. 14th. At the Austin Marathon Health and Fitness Expo, participants tested the industry’s latest products and chatted with the Austin Marathon Pacers. They purchased Official Under Armour + Austin Marathon gear at the Fleet Feet Store, including the limited-edition Austin UA HOVR Machina. The two-day Austin Marathon expo took place on Friday, Feb. 14th, and Saturday, Feb. 15th. Hundreds of children, families, and elites participated in the Manzano Mile presented by Dole Packaged Foods on Saturday, Feb. 15th. Thousands participated in the family-friendly Austin Marathon KXAN Simple Health 5K. It began after the Austin Marathon and Austin Half Marathon.

“Sunday was such an amazing day, from beginning to end,” said Sarah Escobedo, who finished her second marathon in 3:50:13. “I loved the energy from all the spectators and cheer zones along the way and continuing the celebration at one of the Official Austin Marathon after-parties.”

30th anniversary – Feb. 14, 2021

Registration is open for the Austin Marathon’s 30th anniversary, scheduled for Feb. 14, 2021. Special pricing is set at $99 for the marathon, $80 for the half marathon, and $35 for the KXAN Simple Health 5K. This amazing deal will be available until Thursday, Feb. 20th. Don’t miss your chance to Run Austin, the #1 city in America. 2020 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 race weekend so special. They would also like to thank title sponsor Ascension Seton, Under Armour, The Moody Foundation, Camp Gladiator, GU Energy Labs, AfterShokz, Hilton of Austin, Fleet Feet Austin, Oskar Blues Brewery, KXAN, SPIbelt, Dole Packaged Foods, H-E-B, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Goodwill Central Texas, Alvies Boots, FloTrack, FinisherPix, Chameleon Cold-Brew, Austin Massage Company, Boy Scout Troop 49, nuun, the City of Austin, Austin Police Department, Department of Public Safety, CapMetro, and Travis County EMS.

Austin Marathon Prepares for One of the Largest Event Weekends

Event weekend will see two world record attempts, numerous events, and thousands of runners

The Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour is making final preparations for one of the largest event weekends in its 29 years. Highlights of this world-class event include four events for participants of all speed and abilities, two Guinness World Record attempts, and one 3-block-long finish line festival. The return of the FloSports live broadcast will highlight the elite field competition. The broadcast will showcase several elites in their final tune-up before the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials. More than 16,000 runners from all 50 states and 35 countries will run Austin’s streets. The 29th annual Austin Marathon, owned and produced by High Five Events, will take place on February 16, 2020.

“It’s amazing to see the growth of the Austin Marathon and I’m proud that the city of Austin continues to embrace and support Austin Marathon weekend,” said Leo Manzano, Olympic silver medalist and Austin Marathon Race Ambassador. “Everyone loves Austin Marathon weekend, from runners who travel from around the world to Austin families who complete the Manzano Mile together.”

Austin Marathon Shakeout Run will kick-off event weekend

Fleet Feet Austin will kick off Austin Marathon weekend by hosting the Austin Marathon Shakeout Run on Friday, Feb. 14th. At the Austin Marathon Health and Fitness Expo, visitors can test the industry’s latest products. Participants can chat with the Austin Marathon Pacers. They can also purchase Official Under Armour + Austin Marathon gear at the Fleet Feet Store. Available gear includes the limited-edition Austin UA HOVR Machina.

The two-day Austin Marathon expo will take place on Friday, Feb. 14th, and Saturday, Feb. 15th. Children, families, and elites will participate in the Manzano Mile presented by Dole Packaged Foods on Saturday, Feb. 15th. The family-friendly Austin Marathon KXAN Simple Health 5K will begin at 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 16th, 45 minutes after the Austin Marathon and Austin Half Marathon. Registration is still open.

Event weekend will see two Guinness World Record attempts

The first world-record attempt is by Drake Muyinza. He will attempt to run the world’s longest fashion runway by running 26.2 miles and changing outfits every four miles. The current record is two miles. The second world-record attempt is by Vicar David Peters. He will attempt to run the fastest marathon in a cassock, beating four hours and 16 minutes. Both Guinness World Record applications are still pending. The 2020 course was designed to provide a better participant and spectator experience and allow enhanced traffic flow along the course. Participants will still finish with the picturesque Texas State Capitol as their backdrop. Tens of thousands of spectators will cheer along Austin streets. Race-course highlights include two GU Energy Labs Energy Zones, live music, 22 aid stations with nuun performance.

“We are so excited to finally reveal this six-month project and highlight all the great Austin vintage sellers and artisans,” said Drake Muyinza, REB Vintage Stylist. “The looks have been styled and perfected, I’ve put in the training miles, and we’re pumped to put on an awesome show at the Austin Marathon for both the spectators and my fellow marathoners who have worked so hard for this day!”

Numerous ways for participants to celebrate their accomplishments

Sunday’s participants can enjoy the 3-block-long finish line festival. It will feature the Under Armour recovery zone. Participants will celebrate event weekend at the Oskar Blues Austin beer garden, Tito’s Handmade Vodka Shack Bar, and several local food trucks. Austin’s own Delivery Service and Fusion ATX will keep the finish line festival rocking for several hours. To cap off event weekend later in the afternoon, locations like Mean Eyed Cat, Cheer Up Charlies, and Hen House will host Official Austin Marathon after parties.

“The Ascension Seton Austin Marathon continues to grow along with the city and our growth indicates that the Austin Marathon is one of the top running destinations in the world,” said Stacy Keese, co-owner of High Five Events. “Our partnerships, love of Austin and running, and desire to produce a world-class event are all invested in our participant’s experience.”

FloTrack live broadcast

FloTrack, a sports media based in Austin, Texas, will highlight the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon’s Elite Athlete Program. Their race-day broadcast trio will consist of running connoisseurs Toni Reavis, Ryan Fenton, and Paras Shah. They will also have a camera capturing finishers as they cross the finish line. The following is a sample of the athletes in the Elite Field competing for the $20,000 prize purse: Keri McEntee (2020 Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier), Anita Perez (2x Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier), James Ngandu (2019 Austin Half Marathon champ), Becki Spellman (4x Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier), Taylor Dare (2020 Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier), Rory Tunningley (2020 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier), Igor Olefirenko (2019 London Marathon – 2:11:55).