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Looking ahead to Moe's Better Half Marathon

Run with Moe: A Column
By Moe Johnson
San Marcos Runners Club

The Run Tex 20 Mile run took place earlier this month up in Georgetown. It is difficult to find the runners from San Marcos because reports of local runners listed everyone as being from Austin.

Since there were 731 runners, it became almost impossible to tell which name on the list was a local or area runner. I found the runners from the San Marcos Runners club on the club’s website.

Randell Wood finished second in his age category with a 2:14:38 time and was 16th overall. Sharon Bayliss ran a 3:37:53 time, Lisa Medina ran a 3:51:25 and Laura Mason came across in 4:23:42.

David Alexander and I certified the course, and one comment we made as we rode along over the countryside was that if there was a wind it might get hard for the runners. I talked with Reenie Smith, and she said that it really was not that bad as it seemed. Most of the runners ran in groups and very few runners ran by themselves.

The weather turned out almost perfect for a long distance run. It was cool at the start without much wind until later, toward the mid-morning hour.  Most runners felt that it was a good run and, talking with Donnie O’Neal, the race director, he expects the race to stay there for at least one more year.

It is a good course, reminding me of the ARA-Moe’s Better Half Marathon in that it is mostly out in county roads away from traffic. There are a few hills, but nothing that is a problem for runners. A couple stretches of almost gravel roads add to the countryside flavor of a run.

The runners for the most part enjoyed the run and thought it was a better course than last year. The run has been in various locations the past few years. It started out in Buda as a 30K (18.6 miles) for many years and was a very popular run. When the race director retired, there was nobody to take up the reins of the race. It moved down here to San Marcos for the ARA 20 Miler, and was a good race for the local runners and volunteers.

Race officials wanted it to be closer to Austin, so they moved to Round Rock as a two-loop course that the runners did not especially like. It is hard, after running 10 miles, to think about doing the same course over again. The next year it moved to North Austin and was an extremely hilly course that really took its toll on runners. Runners don’t mind a challenge once in awhile, but, evidently, this went beyond being a fun and challenging run.

This year, it moved to Georgetown and received good support from the city and officials of Georgetown. It started at the high school and included a five-mile stretch at the beginning that was repeated on the way back.

The loop portion of the run was out on the open area and made for a scenic run. Next up for the long distance runners is the Austin Half Marathon on Jan. 26. The half marathon run is followed a couple of weeks later with the Austin Marathon in early February.

If runners still have some energy, the ARA-Moe’s Better Half Marathon here in San Marcos is March 1 at the Tanger Outlet Center. Plans are already underway for the local run and meetings to make sure details are covered have been busy with race organizers. Sponsors are being lined up, shirt designs are getting finalized, awards ordered, regular volunteers are being contacted and efforts for new and more volunteers are always going on.

Since the race is a combination of a 5K run with CASA and the Half Marathon, there is always a need for volunteers to help put this race on. Because of the help from volunteers in the past, the races have a good reputation with the runners, and some are already registering for the race.

I have had contact with a group from Laredo that wants to run in the race, and we usually have a good group out of Austin, San Antonio and Houston. Hopefully, we will have a good turnout, as the funds from the race benefit organizations right here in San Marcos. CASA uses its funds for its programs, and the Kiwanis Club uses the funds for scholarships for local students.