What’s been in the works for several months was announced yesterday up in Dallas: The MetroPCS Dallas White Rock Marathon will have yet another new course and a new name.
In its 43rd year, White Rock will now be known simply as the Dallas Marathon to bring it in line with almost all the other major city races such as New York, Chicago, Boston, Houston, etc.
It makes total sense. Our marathon—the Livestrong Austin—finally made the name switch to “Austin” a few years ago after being called Motorola (or briefly, Freescale) since its inception. But that name meant nothing unless you lived here. Now, White Rock is taking the same route to a more universally known brand name–Dallas.
Also, Dallas will move its race date back one week to December 9th and change its course once again. For the past two years, the marathon, half and relay started and finished at Fair Park after relocating there from the American Airlines Center.
Now, for this year’s race, Dallas will start and finish downtown near the new Omni Hotel. The new course hasn’t been finalized yet, but much of the old course will still be used, including the nine-mile loop of White Rock Lake coming in the middle miles of the marathon. The race expo will be at the Dallas Convention with its easy access to downtown hotels.
I haven’t run Dallas for a few years, but the problem with the American Airlines Center was a simple one of space. The start and finish were congested, access to parking was terrible, baggage pickup was a nightmare and most of the major hotels were at least a mile or two away which meant bussing thousands of marathoners back and forth.
Dallas is expecting 24,000 runners for this December’s race and if it wants to be considered in the big leagues, it had to step up with a downtown start and finish as well as make the other important changes.
- Our long-time marathon director and man about town John Conley is doing OK after emergency brain surgery yesterday. Conley, who heads up Conley Sports, went for a run on Sunday and had such a severe headache afterward, that he went to the hospital. Doctors discovered a bleed inside his brain and operated to stop the bleeding and relieve the pressure. Everyone in town is hoping John has a quick recovery.
- BTW: Conley Sports announced last week that Emily Crowell-Stephens from Hays HS in Buda is the girls recipient of its $5000 scholarship. Crowell-Stephens, who plans to study mechanical engineering at UT, joins Zach Fielder from Austin HS who was awarded the boys scholarship a couple of weeks ago.
- There was a familiar figure at the finish line of last Saturday’s Congress Avenue Mile. It was Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has been so busy with national politics the past year that he’s been largely absent from the running community he so dearly loves. But on Saturday, the Guv was on the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge photographing the finish of the high school races, high-fiving finishers and posing for photos with the stunned high school milers. During one of the races, Perry was so intent on getting a good finish photo he nearly got trampled by the winner. Regardless of your politics, it was good to see the Guv back among the runners.
- Our own Chris Kimbrough, the 42-year-old mother of five, won the USA 8-Kilometer Masters Championship last weekend in Williamsburg, Virginia for her first national title. Kimbrough, who won the Chuy’s Hot to Trot 5-K three weeks ago, ran 28:08 in Williamsburg to win by 11 seconds over Sonja Friend-Uhl.
- Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France champ, won his first Ironman 70.3 race last weekend in Haines City, Florida. In just his fourth 70.3, Armstrong dominated the field of pros to win by more than 10 minutes in 3:45:38. Armstrong had a strong swim (24:52), but blew the field away on the flat bike leg in 2:01:13 which was more than 11 minutes faster than the next fastest bike. By the time, Armstrong, 40, got to the run he had a huge lead which he extended with a half-marathon leg of 1:15:56 (fastest of the day). Next up for Armstrong is a 70.3 on June 2nd in Kona. He is planning to return to Kona in October for the IM World Champs.
- Down at The Woodlands IM last weekend, Amy Marsh finished a solid third in 9:04:00, while her husband Brandon (8:30:13) placed a strong fifth among the pros. There were plenty of other Austinites down there, including Craig Collinsworth (13:47), Sonya Manson (13:35:03) and Nancy Dasso (12:44:29).
- Global warming? Last weekend’s Green Bay Marathon was stopped after the first 10 finishers due to the climbing temps (mid 80s). Now comes news that the Madison, Wisconsin Marathon is considering canceling Sunday’s race because of beastly conditions in the high 80s.
- Meanwhile, the blast furnace that was this year’s Boston Marathon has granted 2160 deferments into the 2013 race. Originally, Boston was only going to grant deferments to those runners who picked up their packet and then chose not to race (about 400), but after howls of protest Boston backed down and gave deferments to those who never started the race. Those who received deferments will be able to register for the ’13 marathon in August, before the rest of the field which be capped at 27,000.
- Received a few emails about what happened to the Daisy Run 5-K. One of the oldest races in town, the 5-K moved around a bit in the last few years and off its traditional Mothers Day date. This year it didn’t happen at all and its future is cloudy. Megan Baker of the sponsoring Austin Runners Club wanted to have a casual race and picnic, just for ARC members, but couldn’t come up with a good date, enough volunteers or venue. Bummer.
- Liza Hunter Galvan, a two-time New Zealand Olympian and a long-time San Antonio resident, returned to her native country last month and won the Rotorua Marathon in 2:46:23. Next week, Galvan will defend her title at the Christchurch Marathon where she ran 2:45:31 last year. Galvan, who prepped for the New Zealand trip with a masters victory at the 10/20 10-Miler in Austin in April, also won the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll in November.
- David Fuentes, who won Chuy’s and the Bun Run 5-K’s this spring, will be teaming with his coach, Derick Williamson (and Kelly Williamson) to run the first Austin Running Academy this summer. The Academy is designed for top high school runners who want intensive coaching as well as sports nutrition and science advice. The Williamson’s coaching business—Durata Training—will offer the 10-week program (June 5-August 17th) and it will be led by Fuentes. Interested? Contact Derick Williamson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Fuentes and Chass Armstrong, Team Mizuno teammates, will be traveling to Duluth, Minnesota for the USA National Half Marathon Champs on June 16th at the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon which is run in conjunction with the Grandma’s Marathon. Also running is Megan Flowers Skeels (Team Mizuno) of Fort Worth who has only run two half marathons. But the former Arkansas star has a PR of 1:18.
- Former UT star and Austinite Darren Brown finished 10th in the US 1-Mile Road Championships last weekend in Minneapolis. Darren, who now lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, ran 4:11 in the race won by Craig Miller in 4:04.
- Don’t forget the NCAA Track West Regionals run from today through Saturday (May24-26) at Mike Myers Stadium on the UT campus. Teams and individuals in this region qualify here for the NCAAs June 6-9 in Des Moines, Iowa. The men’s and women’s 10,000s are tonight, beginning at 9 p.m.
- What I’m listening to this morning: “Fly” by the Dixie Chicks. Keep hearing the Erwin sisters are going to start making beautiful music again with Natalie Maines. Can’t come too soon.
Have any juicy news for me? (It doesn’t have to be entirely true.) If you have something, send it to email@example.com.