Cap10K Continues to Keep Austin Culture Rich
By Avery Hough
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas – More than 17,000 people crossed the downtown Congress Avenue Bridge on foot early Sunday morning for Texas’ largest 10K race.
Racers in the Statesman Cap10K started with a view of Lady Bird Lake as the sun rose, and with the Texas State Capitol in their sights, they began the roughly 6.2 mile run.
Race director Jeff Simecek said he wanted to highlight the culture of Austin throughout the race.
“We really want to make it as Austin as it gets, and so I fight tooth and nail to make sure we don’t lose that flavor, or otherwise you could be running a race in any city and that’s not what the Cap10K is about,” Simecek said.
He showcased Austin’s reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World by stationing eight bands throughout the course, ranging from mariachi to drum groups. He also continued race traditions including an armadillo mascot and a costume contest.
Simecek is everywhere on race day, but he said one of his favorite places to be is at the finish line.
“It’s really about watching and seeing the accomplishment people feel when they cross that finish line, we’re really really extremely proud of our winners,” Simecek said. “We have a lot of elite competitive runners, but I’m equally as proud of the last person that crosses the finish line as I am the first.”
The beneficiary of the race is the Mike and Sherry Project, which provides mental health services to restaurant, bar and hospitality workers across the city. Simecek said he wanted to choose a recipient that resonates with Austin residents.
Sam Hellman-Mass started the project, which he named after Mike Shefman and Sherry Greenberg. They inspired him after Shefman helped a struggling staff member at Hellman-Mass’s restaurant Suerte.
“He really wanted to name that project after people that help because it’s the right thing to do and because they want to and not because they feel like they have to do it,” Simecek said.
Many University of Texas students participated in the race, including members of the Texas Running Club.
Freshman economics major Jonathan Porras said joining the Texas Running Club meant having a community to motivate him. He ran with five girls from Barbara Jordan Elementary School as a volunteer with Girls on the Run, encouraging them to keep going.
Girls on the Run is a nonprofit that promotes girls to connect with physical activity while aiming to build their confidence. The organization primarily connects girls with 5K runs in their community, but a couple of girls from the elementary school wanted to push their limits.
“I hope they can feel happy about themselves,” Porras said.
“They can go home and say that they’ve done this. Honestly, I couldn’t say that I’ve done a 10K when I was 10 years old so I think it’s like a springboard for them to continue on with the sport, to continue on living healthy lives and have that friendship that comes with running buddies.”
Porras said he was proud to see the girls accept their medals at the end of the race, and hopes they are proud of their accomplishments, too.
Fellow Texas Running Club member McKayla Cothern kept pace with her dad throughout the race.
“My dad’s been running the Cap10K since the 80s,” Cothern said.
He went to UT from ‘85 to ‘89, and so he’s been running avidly since then, and I got old enough and I was able to join him so it’s like a tradition we do together.”
As the race ended, a finish line festival provided more live music, refreshments, bouncy houses, food trucks, a massage tent and picture areas where attendees could pose with their medals.
Twenty-six people have participated every year since 1978.
Charles Scheibe said the key to running the race 46 times is consistency and remembering to take it slow and steady.