PINE MOUNTAIN, GA. — Winter comes early here in the Georgia mountains. Hasn’t snowed yet, but morning runs have been so cold that gloves, tights and jackets are required. Last night on our second run of the day—there’s not much to do in the boonies—we got booted off the roads because crews were putting up Christmas lights.
Anxious to get back to the ATX. Not going to the Formula 1 race, but should be fascinating to see how the city copes with all the traffic, influx of visitors, choppers and assorted other issues. Especially ABIA. Hope it isn’t an insane mess.
I’m out of town next week and going to miss the Turkey Trot so if I don’t get a chance to say it, Happy Thanksgiving.
- Don’t look now, but Texas is an emerging distance power. Both the men’s and women’s team qualified again for the NCAA Cross-Country Champs last Friday up in Fayetteville, Arkansas. John Hayes’ boys took its second straight NCAA South Central Regional as the Horns placed five guys in the top 12 to score 38 points (two better than last year). Junior Ryan Dohner continued his late season surge to lead UT in fourth place with a PR of 30:08. Soph Craig Lutz was sixth in 30:13 and Lockhart’s gift to UT—Rory Tunningley—was seventh in 30:16. Kyle Merber, the Columbia transfer, was ninth in 30:23 and Patrick McGregor was 12th in 30:42. The race was won by A&M’s sensational Henry Lelei in 29:36. The NCAAs are Saturday in Louisville.
- More honors for Coach Hayes rolled in earlier this week as he was named NCAA South Central Region Coach of the Year for the second straight season.
- Steve Sisson’s UT women also made it to the NCAAs for the third consecutive year. UT finished second to Arkansas at the NCAA South Central Regionals, but Marielle Hall and Sara Sutherland went 1-2 in the meet. Laleh Mojtabaeezamani was 13th and Megan Siebert took 14th to add points for the Longhorns. The women race starts at 10 a.m. in Louisville, while the men compete at 12:15. There will be a live webcast of both the men’s and women’s race on NCAA.com.
- Weird stuff coming out of the 40 Acres where UT head women’s coach Bev Kearney, one of the most respected and honored coaches in college sports, has been placed on administrative leave. UT is looking into undisclosed issues relating to her program and nobody is saying what those issues might be.
- BTW: Parker Stinson of Cedar Park was seventh in the West Regionals in 29:53. Stinson, a junior at Oregon, was the second Duck in the race and could be a factor in the NCAAs.
- Scott MacPherson, who won the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon two years ago was in the Alamo City on Sunday but didn’t run. Neither did David Fuentes, the SA Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon champ from last year. Both are trying to peak for marathons in the coming weeks. MacPherson, who competed in the Olympic Trials Marathon in January, is running his second 26.2 at the Philly Marathon on Sunday, while Fuentes will run his third marathon December 2nd at the California International in Sacramento.
- Prize money continued to go down this year in San Antonio for the marathon and half. Total prize money in the first year of Rock ‘n’ Roll was $80,000, but on Sunday there was less than $14,000. Jose Munoz of San Antonio and Elizabeth Eder of Ft. Worth were the big winners with $2000 as each double dipped by winning the marathon and also received a Texas-only bonus. Erin Ruyle of Georgetown, who was second in the marathon, took home $1000. In the half, Chass Armstrong was fifth, but first Texan to collect $500. Tia Kool, second in the half with a PR, had her biggest payday yet by earning $750.
- Our friend Robert Espinoza, who used to manage the RunTex stores, was in a serious cycling accident 10 days ago in his hometown to Savannah, Georgia. Robert, who now owns a FleetFeet franchise, broke a few ribs and had a concussion. He was hospitalized and had to miss the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon of which he is an integral part. Espinoza is out of the hospital and doing OK now, but isn’t back to work yet.
- Lance Armstrong quit the Livestrong Foundation board “to spare the organization any negative effects as the result of controversy surrounding his cycling career,” according to Jeff Garvey, the new chairman of Livestrong who replaced Armstrong when he resigned last month. But Armstrong continues to inflame the “controversy.” Over the weekend, Armstrong Tweeted a photo of himself lounging on a couch beneath the framed seven yellow jerseys from the Tour de France. That picture has been retweeted about 8,000 times at last count.
- More Lance: It was announced yesterday that his former namesake charity has officially been changed to the Livestrong Foundation. While the latter has been used for years, according to State of Texas filings it was still the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Not any more.
- I wasn’t able to get up to Round Rock on Saturday to see the UIL State Cross-Country Champs, but absolutely great to see that Madison Boreman of Rouse HS in Leander won the 4A title. Just a freshman, Boreman has long been a fixture on the Austin road-running scene. Boreman started running 5-K’s when she was 8 or 9 and has carried over that success to high school where she is also an honor student.
- Former UT runner Matt Kutugata, who won the IBM Uptown Classic last year, reports that his move to Nelson, New Zealand is going well. Kutugata, who has joined a training group headed by former Dallas resident Greg Lautenslager, says of life in Nelson: “It’s like living in the US 30 or 40 years ago. Everyone around here is very laid back. Life is too beautiful in Nelson to get caught up in stress. The running is spectacular with many long, beautiful trails. You can feel completely isolated one second and then the next pass a family with a daughter in tow on her pink mountain bike. It’s amazing how much the Kiwis love the outdoors here.” Nelson is the hometown of the great Rod Dixon.
- Congrats to the ageless wonder Marcie Herzik Ralph on her age group victory last Sunday up north in the Fort Worth Marathon. Marcie took age group honors with a 3:47:21.
- And this just in: Gilbert Tuhabonye has been nominated for the role of Mother Ginger for an Austin Ballet performance of the Nutcracker on December 23rd. Seeing him in that role (tutu?) would be well worth the price of admission. If you want to help him out, go to http://www.balletaustin.org/motherginger/ to vote for him.
- What I’m listening to this morning: “Pet Sounds,” my favorite Beach Boys album.
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