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One Marathoner’s Remarkable Story of Overcoming Adversity

Eileen learned more about herself after overcoming adversity leading up to the Austin Marathon

There were several times during Eileen Alvarez’s journey to the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon start line where she could’ve thrown in the towel. Her best friend could no longer train with her. Eileen had surgery on both of her feet. She thought about dropping to the Austin Half Marathon. Her orders sent her on an Army training exercise three weeks before race day. But like most runners, she added “overcoming adversity” to her training plan. Read about her experiences and see why crossing the 2020 Austin Marathon finish line is a moment she’ll never forget! 

Eileen’s journey to the Austin Marathon finish line

Image of Eileen Alvarez and her friend after the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Her story of finishing the Austin Marathon includes overcoming adversity before she got to the start line.

Eileen and Bernabe at the Austin Marathon finish line!

I’ve participated in the Austin Marathon three times. I’m a two-time Austin Half Marathon finisher (2013 and 2019). Earlier this year I crossed the Austin Marathon finish line for the first time. I’ll never forget the journey and experience.

I’m an active duty service member stationed in Fort Hood, Texas, and an alumna of The University of Texas. In 2019, my best friend Elizabeth Bernabe asked me if I would help her train for the Austin Half Marathon. She was following a “couch to half” training program. I immediately took on the challenge as I myself was training for the Bataan Memorial Death March. The Austin Marathon Expo was filled with excitement as I completed my last-minute registration. Together we conquered the Austin Half Marathon. I was certain Bernabe would be one-and-done. The very next day she asked me if I wanted to do the 2020 Austin Marathon. Without hesitation, I said, “Of course!”

Overcoming adversity added to training plan

Not even a week after the Austin Half I was told I was having a bilateral bunionectomy. They would operate on my left foot up first in April. I started my recovery on crutches, learning how to walk again. After a few quick runs they scheduled surgery in August for my right foot. After that, I was crutching around Austin with no ability to run. My best friend who was going to train with me found out she was pregnant. I was ecstatic for her, but she could no longer train.

Eventually, my doctor released me from my horrible post-surgery boot. He told me to start walking first… “Sir, with all due respect, I have to train for the Austin Marathon!” So I started training. I beat myself up a lot. Four-mile runs were killing me and I was really rethinking this journey. My bestie helped any way she could. Mainly by saying she’d cancel dinner plans if I didn’t get my mileage in as planned! There was a lot of walking during my training. I had to relearn things I took for granted. Some days I felt like dropping to the Austin Half Marathon. On January 28th I was informed I was going to a field exercise. The Austin Marathon was three weeks away. I had great leadership that let me break away daily to continue my taper.

Eileen’s unforgettable Austin Marathon experience

Sunday, February 16th, was an amazing day for me. I felt every person genuinely cheering me on. I know the work and grit was worth it all. The ice baths, extra oatmeal. I was so nervous at the start. Nervous I wouldn’t finish. Nervous I didn’t have the heart. After all, no one would know if I failed except for me. With every mile I felt the drive and passion, I felt stronger and faster. Crossing the finish line was one of the proudest moments of my life. I had the heart and discipline to keep on when I could’ve taken the easy way out. At any point, I could’ve used the “well my feet are still recovering” card. But I didn’t. I trusted myself, my previous experiences, and my training. 

Thank you to the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon and the City of Austin. Thank you for giving me a chance to prove myself and celebrate in the best way possible. I CAN’T WAIT FOR NEXT YEAR and the Austin Marathon’s 30th anniversary!

The 2020 June Running Playlist: Music to Your Ears

We curated the 2020 June Running Playlist just for you

You want music? We’ve got music! Austin is known as The Live Music Capital of the World and we are big music lovers. Every year, we showcase live music throughout the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon course and at the 3-block-long finish line festival. These monthly playlists will allow y’all to hear what we’re listening to. Each song can be found on its monthly playlist and our master #WeLiketheSoundofThat playlist! We also share every song on Twitter. Hit the ‘Follow’ button on Twitter so you know what’s next! The 2020 June Running Playlist has everything you need, from Austin’s own Black Pistol Fire to the guitar-shredding Sleigh Bells. Having a playlist that you love is a great motivational tool to get you out of bed for your morning run!

Playlist pro tips:

1) In Spotify, drag the 2020 June Running Playlist to your ‘Playlists’ section for quick access

2) Then click the download button so you can listen even if you’re offline

Click play on the 2020 June Running Playlist before you take off for your next run. These 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 like that we didn’t list? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.

30th Annual Austin Marathon Registration Opens June 1st

Run Austin’s streets on Valentine’s Day and celebrate your accomplishments at the 30th annual Austin Marathon

Registration for the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour officially opens Monday, June 1st. Every year, thousands travel to Austin to run the city’s streets. They soak up the amazing atmosphere and enjoy live music and delicious food. Participants earn finisher medal belt buckles, receive an Under Armour shirt, and celebrate at the 3-block-long finish line festival. Those who register before Friday, June 5th, will receive a free customized nameplate for their belt buckle finisher medal. The 30th annual Austin Marathon will take place on Sunday, February 14, 2021.

Image of the start of the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Registration for the 30th annual Austin Marathon opens on June 1st.“The energy and positivity you experience running the Austin Half Marathon is unlike any other race,” said London Brazil, who is training for her third Austin Half Marathon in as many years. “From the thousands cheering for you to the inspiring runners from around the world – this is a race I will make sure to never miss!”

Run The Live Music Capital of the World

On course, participants will enjoy 22 fully stocked aid stations with Nuun, two GU Energy Labs Nutrition Zones, and thousands of cheering spectators. Live music is placed strategically throughout the course to showcase The Live Music Capital of the World to participants and spectators alike. When runners cross the finish line, they can celebrate at a three-block-long party. It will feature the Under Armour recovery zone and the popular Oskar Blues beer garden. There will also be local food trucks, two Jumbotrons displaying FloTrack’s live coverage, and hours of live music.

Image of a group of five runners representing different Austin running groups before the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Registration for the 30th annual Austin Marathon opens on June 1st.

Everyone can continue their celebration at one of several Official Austin Marathon after-parties. Finishers of the Austin Marathon will receive a custom finisher’s shirt. The marathon will feature 34 Austin pacers and professional race-day photography from FinisherPix. 

“We’re excited for the 30th anniversary of the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon and have some big plans for Austin Marathon week,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events. “The Austin Marathon is more than just a run; it’s an unforgettable experience and a celebration that continues well after participants cross the finish line.”

The initial pricing structure follows: Austin Marathon ($109), Austin Half Marathon ($90), KXAN Simple Health 5K benefitting Paramount Theatre ($35). Participants can register for any distance and the Austin Marathon VIP Experience beginning June 1st.

World records set at 2020 Austin Marathon

Image of the Austin skyline as runners cross the Congress Avenue Bridge during the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Registration for the 30th annual Austin Marathon opens on June 1st.

Earlier this year, Austin’s premier running event featured more than 16,000 participants from all 50 states and 36 countries. Two world records were set at the Austin Marathon. Vicar David Peters, of Pflugerville, Texas, ran the world’s fastest marathon in a cassock. He completed the marathon in 4:06:49. Drake Muyinza set the other world record. He ran the world’s longest fashion runway on the streets of Austin and changed outfits every four miles. Austin Gives Miles presented by The Moody Foundation raised $702,500 for 25 Central Texas nonprofits.

Austin’s flagship running event annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 35+ countries around the world. The start and finish locations are just a few blocks apart. They are within walking distance of many downtown hotels and restaurants. The finish line is in front of the picturesque Texas State Capitol. The Austin Marathon is the perfect running weekend destination.

The 2020 May Running Playlist: Music to Your Ears

We curated the 2020 May Running Playlist just for you

You want music? We’ve got music! Austin is known as The Live Music Capital of the World and we are big music lovers. Every year, we showcase live music throughout the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon course and at the 3-block-long finish line festival. These monthly playlists will allow y’all to hear what we’re listening to. Each song can be found on its monthly playlist and our master #WeLiketheSoundofThat playlist! We also share every song on Twitter. Hit the ‘Follow’ button on Twitter so you know what’s next! The 2020 May Running Playlist has everything you need, from Austin’s own Gary Clark Jr. to the up-and-coming ball of energy that is Bishop Briggs. Having a playlist that you love is a great motivational tool to get you out of bed for your morning run!

Playlist pro tips:

1) In Spotify, drag the 2020 May Running Playlist to your ‘Playlists’ section for quick access

2) Then click the download button so you can listen even if you’re offline

Click play on the 2020 May Running Playlist before you take off for your next run. These 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 like that we didn’t list? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.