Editor’s Note: This is a repost of a blog from about a year ago. Lazy? Nope Pertinent? Hell yes! We are one month from the start of one of the most popular training programs here at Rogue: Texas Half Marathon and Texas Marathon. Why the name? Virtually all the best marathons and halves in Texas fall into the same two week window and if you want to train for one of these, then you do it here….for Texas Marathon and Half. We’ve analyzed the courses, broken down the pro’s and con’s and much more. So saddle up with us and lets run these wild west favorites!
THE LONE STARS: A TEXAS MARATHON GUIDE
by Allison Macsas
Here in Texas, we don’t offer much in the way of fall marathons, largely because “fall” typically begins somewhere around mid-November and ends a few days later.
However, we do have plenty of winter racing options and although “winter” can mean many different things, it’s widely considered the time to toe your local starting line.
So, what to choose, and where to start? There are many top-notch Texas events throughout the winter months, but in this guide I want to focus on 2014 races only – the ones that are done before the holidays, and that present the opportunity to end the year with a shiny new PR and extra reasons to celebrate.
So, read on and pick your race. Rogue is going big for Texas races this year – new training groups, awesome custom t-shirts (designed by yours truly) and ENERGY. Be part of it!
THE ROCK N ROLL SAN ANTONIO MARATHON & HALF / DECEMBER 6, 2015
I won’t lie. San Antonio hasn’t exactly gotten rave reviews over the past few years, and I know many a runner who has sworn it off for good. But, nearly all of the negativity surrounding this event has been due to the weather – sweaty, suffocating, blazingly hot weather. No matter that the week leading up is chilly, and that the day after the race brings sleet; for whatever reason, the San Antonio race weekend is always. so. hot.
Well, I’m here with good news. That’s when the race was in November! And now they’ve moved to December! So although winter weather is never a guarantee, as every self-respecting Texan knows knows, there is a much better chance of cool, clear, perfect race conditions and some big PRs on what is actually a pretty fast course. (Editor’s Note: The move to December definitely helped weather-wise is 2014)
Despite what looks like a 120 ft. brick wall at mile 5, overall this is FLAT terrain with a quite a bit of gradual downhill to help get the wheels turning. As this is a Rock n Roll Series event, there are bands galore, which fills in some of the quieter spectator areas and keeps energy levels high. The full and half runners take off together and keep each other company for a good ten miles, which results in some amazing crowd energy.
And, best of all, it’s in San Antonio which means that you can feasibly drive down morning-of, and be safely back in Austin in time for happy hour! No flights, no long drives, no waiting at restaurants the night before and no hotel expenses. Though it may be preferred to stay the night before to avoid any race-morning hiccups, this is one of the most budget-friendly out-of-town race choices that an Austinite can make, and one with lots of capitol city representation.
I was lucky enough to run the half marathon in 2010, a rare cool-weather year, and it was a fantastic PR-setting experience for me. With a new December race date, I’m hopeful that San Antonio will regain a spot on the favorites list this year!
THE METRO PCS DALLAS MARATHON & HALF / DECEMBER 13, 2015
Dallas is another race that has gotten a bad rap over the past few years, again due to everyone’s favorite scapegoat – the weather! In 2011, it rained. Cold, cold rain. It actually led to some big PRs, but also a lot of chafing and miserable spectators. In 2012, it was HOT. San Antonio-style hot. And HUMID. It’s gone down in the history books for many runners that I coach as the worst marathon experience ever. Then, in 2013, there was ICE! So much ice that the race was cancelled! All of that training, all of those race-week nerves, all of those entry fees, down the drain.* Who would possibly want to give this race a fourth chance?
Well, I would. Historically, the Dallas Marathon (formerly the White Rock Marathon) has had perfect weather. Like, 40 degrees and sunny-perfect. I grew up in the area, and began running the half marathon at age 14. I ran it every year until I left for college, and then flew back home four days before I graduated to run my first full marathon there (it was also my first ever run over 16 miles, but that’s another story). Every single time, the weather was perfect, the crowds were excited and the experience was top-notch.
The course rolls a bit, but is overall very flat, very fast. It hits a huge variety of neighborhoods and offers a great tour of the city, which makes it very easy to divide the race into sections for a strong race-day strategy. You get city, you get ritzy neighborhoods, you get the lake. It’s far enough away to feel like a “destination race,” yet close enough that you don’t have to take any time off of work. The toughest part of the whole thing is the drive up I35 to get there!
So, yes. I would give Dallas another chance, and you should give Dallas another chance. For an accessible big-city race with PR potential, this is the one.
*Except for those who took a chance on BCS. Details below.
THE BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION (BCS) MARATHON & HALF / DECEMBER 13, 2015
Most Austinites had never heard of BCS until December 6, 2013, the day that the Dallas race organizers called off their event in the midst of an ice storm. Some people got angry and some people threw their hands up in despair, but other people immediately looked for another race.
Enter BCS! Held on the same day, in the same state, but far enough south to escape the worst of the ice, this was the golden ticket. Except for one thing – it had long been sold out, full of runners who knew what a secret gem this small event was.
However, the organizers of this race are fantastic human beings. In between setting up for the event, providing excellent communication via social media and fielding emails from desperate Dallas orphans, they went to the trouble of contacting all of the registrants to offer refunds to anyone who wasn’t going to make it to the starting line, and then opened up all of those spots to would-be Dallas runners, even offering a discounted no-race shirt or medal option to allow for more entries.
So, a number of Rogues ended up at BCS, and they ran FAST. You’ll get more on that story and that race later, but I can’t recommend this event enough. Yes, it’s a small town race and the spectator side of things is pretty quiet, but it’s flat, it’s fast, it’s affordable, it’s impeccably organized and it benefits an important cause. Plus, you can park right at the starting line, no hassles or lines or leaving the hotel two hours early. Roll out of bed and run!
DECKER CHALLENGE / December 6th, 2015
This long-standing Austin favorite offers only a half marathon these days, but 13.1 miles is plenty on that course! Decker has hills on top of hills, and everyone who runs this race earns some serious bragging rights.
This is a true Austin staple, a key component of the Austin Distance Challenge and an event where you’ll see all of your friends and are sure to make new ones. If the half marathon is your distance of choice and you want to keep it local and enjoy your own bed the night before, Decker is for you.
So, what’s it going to be? All of these races will have huge Rogue representation, but as you well know it takes work to get to that finish line. We kick off training for Texas Half Marathon an Texas Marathon on July 14th, 2015. Commit, then let’s go conquer!
Allison Macsas wears many hats at Rogue Running; she is a coach, an elite athlete, the graphic designer, the blog manager, the head of Rogue Expeditions and the boss of an extremely important whiteboard calendar.