Heard Around The Lake: News, Notes and Idle Gossip

  • Starting some time next week, a quarter-mile stretch of the Butler Hike and Bike Trail around Lady Bird Lake will close for about six months. The fenced off section on the trail is on the north side between San Antonio Street and the section that juts out into the lake at Shoal Creek, across Cesar Chavez from the Seaholm Power Plant. The closed section will also include the small footbridge that connects the trail to the shore. Runners, walkers and cyclists will be temporarily rerouted onto Cesar Chavez which means the narrow, rocky along the road will get extra heavy use. Closing down the section of the trail is necessary because city officials believe that the section is crumbling because of the erosion. The city construction crews will fence off the section and begin to shore up the area with boulders.
  • More Trail news. In case you haven’t been on the far east side of the trail on the south shore along Lakeshore, construction is well underway on the 1.25-mile boardwalk that will connect the gap in the trail and bypass I-35. Crews are currently building a dock on the lake that will support the construction of the $21 million boardwalk which is expected to be completed in spring of 2014.
  • Big race weekend. In addition to the 34th running of the Decker Challenge out  at the Travis County Expo Center, plenty of Austin runners are headed either to Dallas for the Dallas Marathon and Half or to College Station/Bryan for the BCS Marathon and Half. This is just the second year for the BCS races and the half is full at 2750 runners, while the marathon will have about 1200 more. Dallas is expecting at least 20,000 for its marathon, half and relay on yet another redesigned course.
  • BTW: David Fuentes, who dropped out of the deluge and wind tunnel that was the Cal International Marathon on Sunday, is running the Dallas Marathon this Sunday. Fuentes, who was shooting for a 2:15-2:16 in Sacramento, shut down after only eight miles in the terrible conditions and eventually pulled over at 14 so he said he hasn’t had any recovery issues on such a short turnaround for Dallas.
  • Quinn Carrozza, the 16-year-old daughter of Paul and Shiela Carrozza, swam in the AT&T Winter Nationals at UT last weekend. Quinn made it to the finals of the 200-yard freestyle on Saturday afternoon and finished seventh in 1:45.67 to all-world Missy Franklin’s winning 1:42.42. Carrozza was also third in the ‘B” finals of the 200 breakstroke in 1:55.39.
  • Conley Sports is cornering the market on winter-spring races. In addition to its Livestrong Austin Marathon, Conley Sports is directing the Capitol 10,000 as well as the 3M Half Marathon. John Conley announced this week that his group has added to its portfolo with the St. James Missions 5-K on March  30th . One of the few races in east Austin, the St. James 5-K will start at St. James Missionary Baptist Church (3417 E. MLK Boulevard) and benefit the Alzheimer’s Association and the St. James Wellness Ministry.
  • Still, no word from the 40 Acres on the reason for the suspension of long-time UT women’s head track coach Bev Kearney. But, according to documents released by Texas unera public records request by the Associated Press, women’s AD Chris Plonsky wrote school president Bill Powers on September 24th requesting a substantial raise for Kearney and calling her a key mentor and leader. But a month later, the contract was removed from the agenda for an upcoming regents meeting and then on November 11, Plonsky suspended Kearney with pay to investigate issues within the program which have not been publicly disclosed. Kearney, who has been at UT for 21 years and won six national titles, is one of the most respected coaches in the country. If her proposed contract would have been approved, she would have been paid $397,000 for 2012-13, plus a $25,000 longevity bonus. According to the records released, in Kearney’s 2010-2011 performance review, Plonskey rated her “outstanding” and a “gift to UT.”
  • The sale of the Competitor Group has finally come to fruition. Competitor, which bought out Elite Racing five years ago and its roster of Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathons for $42 million, has been sold to the tune of $250 million to Calera Capital, another private equity company. The Competitor Group, which owns and operates 83 events world wide as well as five magazines and a digital registration platform, has been on the auction block for nine months and 32 entities bid on the company, including Madison Square Garden Co. and Tour de France operator Amaury Sport. In Texas, there are two Rock ‘n’ Roll races (Dallas and San Antonio) and a Rock ‘n’ Roll triathlon in Austin.
  • Yes, that really was 2012 Olympians Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi flying by on the Butler Hike and Bike Trail on Wednesday morning. Both are in town for the The Running Event at the Austin Convention Center. Other running celebs here this week are ultramarathoners Anton Krupicka and Scott Jurek, tristud Andy Potts and marathon guru Jerff Galloway.
  • Also Wednesday morning was the Indie 5-K for The Running Event participants at Zilker Park. Fastest retailer was national-class road runner Bobby Mack of Capital RunWalk in Raleigh, North Carolina. Mack won in 14:22. Erin Richard of Hansons Running in Michigan won the women’s division in 16:42. Some of the other studs who ran included Andrew Letherby (New Balance), Austin’s husband-wife coaching duo of Derick and Kelly Williamson (Kelly ran 16:56), former US Olympian Todd Williams (Sign Me Up) and Keith Dowling (Sign Me Up).
  • Some former Austinites in town for The Running Event included Mason Reay (Nuun), Carson Caprara (Brooks), Raul Najera (RunFar) and Dave Moody (Core Running).
  • Leo (The Lion) Manzano will lead a group of Olympians who will host a free track-and-field clinic for middle and high schoolers on Thursday (today!) at the Austin HS track at 5 p.m. Joining Leo at Austin HS, will be shot putter Adam Nelson, high jumper Amy Acuff  (who lives in Austin) and Amy Yoder-Begley.
  • Newest marathon on the Texas calendar is The Army Marathon on April 21st. The event, which will run from Killeen to Temple, is being staged to honor American soldiers on the anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775. The point-to-point race will start at the Killeen Convention Center and follow mostly country roads to the finish at the Temple Bioscience Center. There’s a  net elevation loss of 273 feet on the course.Danny Spoonts just certified the course last weekend. For more info, go to wwwthearmymarathon.com.
  • What I’m listening to this morning: “Wildflower,” by Tom Petty. Never sure why this album was considered a solo effort since the Heartbreakers played on it, but it’s still one of his/their greatest.

Have any juicy news for me? (It doesn’t have to be entirely true.) If you have something, send it to wish@runtex.com.

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