What a wonderful event the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon is! I first was invited to speak at the Austin Marathon back in 2004 and if my memory serves me correctly this was my 4th time to speak here. This was the first year they did not have a title sponsor but as always race directors John and Stacey Conley put on another great race! I spoke at the expo on Friday afternoon to a full house and my talk went well. I then spent the next hour in Jan Seeley's and Rich Benyo's Marathon & Beyond magazine booth selling my book, Staying the Course, a Runner's Toughest Race, signing New Balance cards and posters, and taking pictures with folks, it was a lot of fun! That evening at the Hyatt was the VIP get together and I was there with my wife Jill and we had fun mingling with lots of people.
After a good workout on the elliptical machine early Saturday morning Jill and I headed for the expo where from 10-11am I spent time in the Marathon and Beyond booth, afterwards I spent the next hour and a half at the New Balance booth that was part of Hill Country Running Company's booth. I so enjoy speaking to people and hearing their stories about their running and what they were hoping for in the marathon or half marathon. After that I went to the other end of the expo and spent time with New Balance rep Len Chatwin and again signing things for people and chatting about running. After my hour and a half there, I had a hour to get my head together for my final talk at the expo. My talk went well to a full house and afterwards it was back to the Marathon and Beyond booth for the final hour of the expo. After my time there I had to skedaddle back over the the Hyatt for the annual Austin Marathon pasta dinner. Myself along with my good friend Bart Yasso of Runner's World Magazine, told a couple of stories, we introduced the veterans that had run all previous 17 Austin Marathons and then it was on to race director John Conley for his final words before next mornings race.
Sunday morning Jill and I were up early to get over to the Stephen F. Austin Hotel where Jill was in charge of the VIP area. People could buy tickets with part of the proceeds going to the Dick Beardsley Foundation, they could leave their clothing there, get something to drink and eat, and then afterwards could come back to a great breakfast or lunch, get a massage and meet with family and friends. Thanks to everyone of the volunteers that helped make the VIP area so special.
The race started at 7am and I was fortunate to be able to ride in the lead vehicle to watch the race. Jeremy Borling, 28 of Chicago, saw the lead pack move away from him after the first mile, but decided to run his own race. Later Borling learned that he was, in fact, already leading the marathon and that the pack ahead of him consisted solely of half-marathon runners. Borling, whose past achievements include a third-place finish at the 2005 Disney World Marathon, continued alone to win the 2009 Austin Marathon in 2:30:05. Local favorite and my good friend Gilbert Tuhabonye, who was the eighth place finisher at the 2004 Austin Marathon in 2:22:37 - during the days of big prize money, finished second in 2:31:58. Adam Nevens, 29 of Santa Monica CA, set a nearly ten minute PR!?! to finish third in 2:33:48.
Among the women, Elle Pishny, 23 of Durham NC, was the winner in 2:52:32. Nora Colligan, 26 of Austin who was the runner-up at the 2008 Nike Women's Marathon, finished second in 2:58:32. Maria Yamin, 44 of Mexico who was 17th in 2:49:47 at the 2006 Austin Marathon, finished third in 2:58:32.
I do need to mention that I had two athletes that I coach, George Uribe set a new Personal Best by 3 minutes with a time of just a tad over 3:09 and Stephen Fuentes ran the half and did a Personal Best by 4 minutes with a 1:21. Way to go guys, I'm so very proud of both of you!
For you folks looking for a great winter marathon or half marathon to run, I promise you there is no better one then the Austin Marathon! A big thanks to John and Stacey Conley for having me back, keep up the awesome work your doing!