It’s winter in central Texas, so that means marathon time! The Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour will celebrate its 29th year running in the capital of Texas on Sunday February 16, 2020. The event annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 30-plus countries around the world.
The excitement is building as the elite field is beginning to take shape, especially the women’s field. Keri McEntee, who is coming to Austin all the way from Alaska, is the top seed so far. McEntee—a 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier—ran a 2:45:28 at the 2019 Boston Marathon, and a 2:41:19 at the 2019 Grandma’s Marathon.
“I’m thrilled to join the Elite Athlete Program at the Austin Marathon,” she told race organizer High Five Events. “I’m excited to compete against other elite runners, see the city, and enjoy some warmer weather!”
Not far behind McEntee at Grandma’s was Valentyna Poltavska, who ran 2:47:32 in the same race, and is entered in the women’s elite field for Austin. Poltavska won the 2017 Detroit Free Press Marathon, so she has to be considered a favorite right now in the women’s field, though more elites will likely change that picture. Also joining the women’s elite field is Sarah Jackson, who posted a 2:58:41 to claim fourth place at last year’s Austin Marathon.
Daniel Bishop of Salt Lake City, Utah has made a habit of traveling down to Austin for the marathon, and this year he’ll be back again. He consistently places in the top three. He placed third in 2018 in 2:26:27, second in 2017 (2:33:02), and third in 2016 (2:31:51). While the men’s elite field is still forming, we do know that Bishop will be joined by Adam Lazrus, who ran the 2018 Tunnel Lite Marathon in 2:37:31. Lazrus is running a marathon in all 50 states, and as of September had completed 47, so Austin may cap the list.
The prize money this year is $15,000 (split evenly between men’s and women’s) for the marathon, $5,000 for the half marathon, and $6,000 for the Manzano Mile presented by Dole. Runners not accepted into the Elite Athlete Program are still invited to run in the elite field but are not eligible for prize money.
Upcoming races: Saturday, December 7, Jingle Bell Run 5K at 8:00 a.m., the Jingle Bell Run 5K at 12700 Hill Country Blvd. in Bee Cave. Saturday, December 7, at 8:00 a.m., the St. Louis Cougar Chase 5K at the St. Louis Catholic School Track, 2114 St. Joseph Blvd. in Austin. Sunday, December 8 at 8:00 a.m., the Austin Jingle Bell 5K at the Domain, 11410 Century Oaks Terrace in Austin.