Registration for 2019 Austin Marathon opens Friday

Registration for the 2019 Austin Marathon and Half Marathon opens Friday. (Stephen Spillman / for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

It might feel like you just finished this year’s marathon, but registration for the 2019 race opens Friday.

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The 28th Annual Austin Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K presented by Under Armour is scheduled for Feb. 17, 2019.

Early pricing is in effect. Registration is $100 for the marathon, $80 for the half and $35 for the 5K. Prices increase July 18 and again in September, October, December and January. If you sign up at the expo on race weekend next February, you’ll fork over $160 to enter the marathon, $140 for the half and $60 for the 5K.

Butler Trail detour begins as crews install mini-boardwalk

Users of the Butler Hike and Bike Trail navigate the section of trail beneath the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge in March 2018. Starting Wednesday, the trail will be detoured up to Congress Avenue as crews install a new mini boardwalk. AMANDA VOISARD / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

A section of the Butler Hike and Bike Trail beneath the north end of the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge will close Wednesday for 12 days while crews demolish the old wooden bridge and install a new 14-foot-wide pathway.

Trail users can follow a detour up to Congress Avenue and around the construction during the closure. The trail, part of the 10-mile loop around Lady Bird Lake, will reopen Monday, May 21, according to a press release from The Trail Foundation.

RELATED: Construction begins on mini boardwalk beneath Congress Avenue Bridge

Construction began in March week to replace the narrow, more than 40-year-old existing structure with a sleek 172-foot “mini-boardwalk” that will take users out over the water. The privately funded project also includes a viewing platform where people can rest, watch the bats emerge during summer months or just take in the sights.

The new concrete and steel bridge is designed improve safety at a dangerous bottleneck on the trail, according to The Trail Foundation official.

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Construction began in March on the new stretch of trail. Photo by Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman

Robert F. Smith, 55, founder of Austin-based private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, donated $1.25 million to kick-start the $2.5-million project. The rest of the project’s money, which has already been raised, comes from private donations, according to Trail Foundation officials.

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The Trail Foundation is collaborating with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department on the project. Barring any construction delays, the new bridge under Congress Avenue should open by June, Anderson said.

 


Corrects to indicate Robert Smith is founder of Vista Equity Partners.

Best part of this 5K? The food stops along the way!

At the Fit Foodie 5K, runners stop at tasting stations along the running route, and enjoy more food at a finish line festival. Photo by Vladamir Bukalo

 

The best most runners get on a race course is sports drink, but an upcoming race will feature far more filling fare.

The Cooking Light & Health Fit Foodie Festival & 5K doles out nibbles at tasting stations along the race course, and wraps up with a food and fitness festival (plus a beer garden, workout classes and cooking demonstrations) at the finish line.

The event includes cooking demos, mini fitness workouts and food. Vladamir Bukalo

The event is set for June 23 at Mueller Lake Park, 4550 Mueller Boulevard, and benefits No Kid Hungry. Race start is 8 a.m. at the Browning Hangar.

Even better? Bib pickup doubles as a happy hour celebration the night before the run. Goody bags feature gifts from health and wellness brands.

The event will take place at Mueller Lake Park in Austin on June 23. Game Face Media

Registration costs $35 per person and increases on May 18. For more information or to sign up, go here.

Austin runner shatters personal record, hopes to encourage others with Down Syndrome

Kayleigh Williamson dances at the finish line of the Austin Half Marathon. Photo courtesy Sandy Williamson

An Austin runner who in 2017 became the first woman with Down Syndrome to complete the Austin Half Marathon shaved an hour and 45 minutes off her finish time this year.

Kayleigh Williamson danced happily as she crossed the finish line of Sunday’s 13.1-mile race. Then she and her mother celebrated with a burger and fries.

“She did amazing. It’s hard for me to put it into words,” said Sandy Williamson, Kayleigh’s mother.

Kayleigh Williamson runs up the hill on Enfield Drive during the Austin Half Marathon. Photo courtesy Sandy Williamson

Last year, Kayleigh struggled, walking slowly up the daunting hill on Enfield Drive. This year, when she approached the same spot, she looked at her mother with a worry in her eyes. Sandy Williamson reassured her daughter, and together they ran most of the way up the steep slope.

“The whole way I let her know it was her race and she determined what that race was. It had to be her, and it was,” Sandy Williamson said.

Race organizers kept the finish line open for Kayleigh, and volunteers manning water stops cheered her and chanted her name along the way.

“It empowered her,” Sandy Williamson said.

Kayleigh Williamson shaved an hour and 45 minutes off her finish time at the Austin Half Marathon. Photo courtesy Sandy Williamson

Kayleigh had hoped to finish the race in less than 6 hours. She blew that goal away, with a finish time of 4 hours and 36 minutes. She has said that she wants to encourage others with Down Syndrome to run and get fit.

RELATED: Down Syndrome won’t stop this runner from finishing half marathon

She was more fit this time around, said her coach, Kim Davis, founder of RunLab, which analyzes gaits and treats running-related injuries.

Kayleigh Williamson hugs her coach, Kim Davis, during the Austin Half Marathon. Photo courtesy Sandy Williamson

“She looked so happy when we saw her at Mile 7,” Davis said. “Last year she was crying.”

Williamson began training at RunLab in July 2016. Her success should stand as an example for others with developmental delays, Davis said.

“I think if you get out there and work on the same thing that every other runner works on – endurance and biomechanics – they can run too. That’s the big message from my end. They have to work on all the same things the rest of us work on, and as long as someone is there to help them through it, they can do it to,” Davis said.

Kayleigh Williamson, left, and her mother Sandy, right, celebrate at the finish of the Austin Half Marathon in 2018. Photo courtesy Sandy Williamson

Already, Kayleigh has a goal for next year – to finish in less than 4 hours. Plus, she plans to run all the races in the Austin Distance Challenge.

Twenty-two runners, including Kayleigh, were part of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas team, which raised more than $25,000 to support programming for individuals with Down syndrome and their families in Central Texas.

Two other members of Kayleigh’s Club, a group of athletes with special needs, finished the half marathon as well – Bonnie Bratton and Melissa Grice.