Thousands of Runners Push Through the Final Miles at the Austin Marathon
By Razyl Yanez
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas – Over 18,000 people gathered Feb 19. in downtown Austin to run the 31st annual Ascension Seton Austin Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K.
Drew Chibib, a recent UT graduate, trained for about a year before he participated.
“Roughly two-and-a-half years ago, I got sober from opioids and alcohol, and part of entering into recovery was trying to find something else to put all this anxious, unfocused energy towards,” Chibib said.
Chibib said his training process during the summer was a bit disorganized. He mostly ran alone until he joined the Rogue Running group earlier this year.
“It’s been great to have some guidance and focus and also accountability. If you’re going to meet a group of people, it’s a lot harder to lie in bed and not go run,” Chibib said.
Alejandro Sills trained with Rogue Running from September to February to help with his speed and endurance as he prepared for his fourth Austin Marathon.
He said his preparation was more thorough than previous marathons, but while he felt prepared in the first half of the race, he struggled during his last six miles.
“You can train, you can be in the best shape of your life, but the wall bears down on nearly everyone,” Sills said.
Sills said training for marathons is a great way to stay in shape, expand his social circle, and live a well balanced life. He hopes to run the Austin Marathon again next year.
Chibib said his expectations for the marathon were much different than reality. The first 23 miles were easy, but he said the last three were harder than he’s ever felt, particularly on the last hill right before the finish line.
“Everyone’s just along the sidelines telling you just like, ‘one more hill, you can do it, you can do it,’ and I was just like, gaunt and soulless and my mind was completely off. Yeah it was very painful,” Chibib said.
While marathons can be grueling, he plans to run more, possibly running it as a pacer in the future. Pacers run the course at a steady pace to show runners they’re on track to finish at a certain time.
“Getting to do it at an easier pace and help other people achieve their goals would be easier on my body, and it would be cool to help other people out,” said Chibib.
There are hundreds of people involved behind the scenes to help the Austin Marathon run smoothly.
Jene Shepherd, a first-time volunteer, said she really enjoyed helping make the marathon what it was.
“I think it’s super important to have the community out, supporting, working behind the scenes to make ginormous events like this possible so that our community can come together, can run, and have a great time on a Sunday morning,” Shepherd said.
The 2024 Austin Marathon will be held on Feb. 18.