It’s well-documented that the half-marathon is one of the most popular race distances in the country. And why not? You get a strong sense of accomplishment, a great workout for the day, and you recover easily in a day or two—unlike its big brother the full marathon, which can take weeks to recover from.
What’s surprising is that there are not more half marathons in the Austin area. Several come to mind immediately:
The Decker Challenge Half Marathon (Sunday, December 10, 2017), the the 3M half Marathon on Sunday, January 21, 2018, and the Austin Half Marathon, on Sunday, February 18, 2018. All have been around for at least 20 years or more—some much longer.
However, there is a relative newcomer in town: the Hill Country Halloween Half Marathon will celebrate it’s fourth year on Saturday, October 28 at 7:30 a.m. at the HEB Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, in Cedar Park. Technically, it’s the third edition, as the 2015 race was canceled due to severe weather. It’s already developed a reputation as a fast race with plenty of competition. Last year Mark Pinales topped the men’s field in 1:13: 27, while Sky Canaves won the women’s race in 1:25:21. Canaves holds the women’s course record, while former Lockhart cross-country ace, and Longhorn runner Rory Tunningley set the men’s record of 1:10.16 in the race’s inaugural event in 2014.
The race features a “mostly flat course with some downhill sections” run through residential neighborhoods.
The out-and-back course starts and finishes at the Cedar Park Center, and runners head into the neighborhoods between New Hope Drive and Hero Way, passing by Tomlinson Park and the South Fork of Brushy Creek along the way.
A rarity in Austin area events, the race features prize money. Overall Half Marathon winners (male & female) – receive $150 & a gift card from our very own Ready to Run! Second place winners (male & female) get $100, and third take home $75. Even though the cash prizes are modest, it’s an important step in recognizing the effort it takes to train for and win a half marathon. Additionally, the race boasts some good “swag,” with tech performance shirts and custom finishers medals.
While it may be a highly competitive race, make no mistake, this is a fun event— costumes are encouraged (hey, it’s Halloween!) and the finish line will be “a party with music, massages, entertainment and activities for kids, and of course an abundance of random prize giveaways.”
Pre-Race Packet Pickup will take place on Friday, October 27, from 3:30-7:00 pm at Ready to Run.
Upcoming races: Dark Sky 10K/5K on Saturday, October 14, 8:00 p.m., at Calaveras River Bike Path at Canyon of the Eagles Resort 16942 Ranch Road 2341 in Burnet. Saturday, October 21 at 9:00 a.m., the Great Pumpkin Dash 5K at San Marcos Toyota (5101 IH 35 South in San Marcos.