Fall running season officially arrives Sept. 7 with Zilker Relays

Pam LeBlanc, Jody Seaborn, Mercedes Orten and Chris Thibert jump before the 2014 Zilker Relays.

 

According to my race calendar, but definitely not the thermometer, fall has nearly arrived.

The Zilker Relays, unofficial kickoff to Austin’s fall racing season, takes place Sept. 7 at Zilker Park. The four-person, 10-mile relay starts at 6:30 p.m. on roads in and around the park, and wraps up with a party on the Great Lawn featuring live music by the Staylyns, food from Tacodeli and free beer from Strange Land Brewery.

RELATED: Channel your inner superpowers at CASA Superhero Run

“There is no other race where you can run through Zilker Park in the evening, with a view of downtown Austin, and wrap it up with great food and drinks and live music into the night,” says race founder Paul Perrone, whose grin is perhaps my favorite in all of Austin.

The race will make anyone smile. Usually, it rains. Or it’s hot as heck for the first 2.5-mile leg, then a storm hits, then it gets muggy.

It’s a big deal. Last year more than 1,300 people participated.

A children’s relay kicks off shortly before the adult relay and every child participant will get a cape and Tacodeli meal.

This year, Zilker Relays will once again partner with the Lesedi Project to raise funds for the Ethembeni School in South Africa, a school for physically disabled and visually impaired children.

For more information, go to www.zilkerrelays.com or https://www.facebook.com/zilkerrelays/.

Channel your super powers at CASA Superhero run on Sept. 16

Kid superheroes line up to chase villains during the CASA Superhero Run in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

 

One year I met Superman – not an imposter, but the real deal. He was nice to me, probably because I was wearing my Wonder Woman costume (which, by the way, I wore to rappel down a 38-story building last year, and also to the movie theater once.)

Another year I met Batman, and that was scary, because he didn’t even crack a smile.

On Sept. 16, you can mingle with caped crusaders and superpower-wielding human beings at the CASA Superhero Run 5K and Kids 1K.

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Superheros of all shapes and sizes turn out en masse for this run, which raises money for CASA, which advocates through the court system for children who have been abused or neglected. This year’s race also serves as the opening event of the Austin Distance Challenge, a series of running races that leads up to the Austin Marathon in February.

Abigail Harrell, 3, shows her Wonder Woman superhero powers after completing the Kids 1K fun run at the CASA race in this 2011 file photo. Ralph Barrera/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

 

The race moves to a new location this year, the IBM Client Innovation Center at Broadmoor Campus, 11501 Burnet Road. The 5K begins at 8 a.m.; the Kids 1K, with villains to chase, starts at 9:15 a.m. A dance party and costume contest will follow. Besides the foot race, expect bounce houses, special superhero guest appearances and lots of fun family activities.

CASA Superhero Run

The event supports the CASA programs of Travis, Williamson, Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe and Hays Counties, which works with volunteers to advocate for abused or neglected children in the court system.

Why superheros? Here’s what CASA says about that: “Superman was adopted. Spiderman was raised by his aunt and uncle. Batman grew up with his butler, Alfred, and later took in Robin to raise as his ward. Wonder Woman was made out of clay by Amazons and brought to life by the gods. Few superheroes grew up in a typical family situation raised by their own parents, yet they all accomplished great things as adults. CASA believes all children deserve the chance to grow up happy and healthy and become superhero adults themselves.”

To register go here.

What’s it like to run a naked race? Find out at Chilly Cheeks 5K

A runner crosses the finish line during the 5k Bare Buns Run on Saturday, April 8, 2017, at the Star Ranch in McDade, Texas.
Catalin Abagiu for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

 

A year and a half ago, I laced up my shoes, shucked off my clothes and ran the Bare Buns 5K race as part of my self-proclaimed Year of Adventure.

Aside from a little awkwardness when I first stripped down, I enjoyed the run. I know it sounds absurd, but once the starting horn sounded, it felt just like any other timed run – only with better airflow. It also marked the first (and only) time I won the overall women’s division of a running race, probably because most of the competition was male.

RELATED: What’s it like to run a naked 5K? Fit City finds out

Runners participate in the 5k Bare Buns Run on Saturday, April 8, 2017, at the Star Ranch in McDade, Texas.
Catalin Abagiu for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

That race takes place in the spring, when flowers are blooming and butterflies are fluttering. Now Star Ranch Nudist Resort, a private residential community located east of Austin in McDade, has added a second naked run to its schedule. This time, leaves will be falling from trees as the runners take off.

The Chilly Cheeks 5K (gotta love that name!) is scheduled for Oct. 13, and pre-registration is open at www.starranch.net/5k-bare-buns-run.html.

Chances are it’ll still be warm then, and the course carries runners over the same pine needle-covered hills, sandy expanses and a hay field as last time. When I ran before, I wore running shoes and a straw cowboy hat, which blew off my head at one point. That attire should suffice this time, too.

Runners wait for the beginning of the the 5k Bare Buns Run on Saturday, April 8, 2017, at the Star Ranch in McDade, Texas.
Catalin Abagiu for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Although runners can wear whatever clothing they want (sports bras for women, for example), most go nude except for shoes. The year I ran, the race drew about 120 runners, most of whom didn’t live at the park. The residents were enthusiastic, though, handing out timing chips and directing athletes along the course. Afterward, everyone gathered by the newly-renovated swimming pool for a celebration and burger cookoff.

Gates open for the Chilly Cheeks 5K at 9 a.m. The chip-timed race starts at 1 p.m. A 1K kids fun run is set for 10 a.m. Entry fee is $30 for adults and $10 for children. Sign up online here.

A runner warms up before the 5k Bare Buns Run on Saturday, April 8, 2017, at the Star Ranch in McDade, Texas. Catalin Abagiu for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Star Ranch opened in 1957. The resort is member resort of the American Association for Nude Recreation. The Bare Buns 5K and the Chilly Cheeks 5K are part of a series of naked races in the organization’s southwest region.

For more information, contact the Star Ranch office at 512-273-2257, go to http://www.starranch.net or email info@starranch.net.

Exercise, talk go together in free Marathon Kids program

Marathon Kids is offering a free Walk and Talk program this summer. Photo courtesy Marathon Kids

 

Anybody who’s spent time training for a marathon knows that a special bond develops between exercise buddies.

That’s the idea behind the free Walk and Talk summer program from Marathon Kids, the non-profit organization that works to improve the health and happiness of children through running and walking programs.

Parents who register online for the Walk and Talk program will get a link to 26 discussion topics ranging from health and education to knock-knock jokes and travel dreams – one for each mile of walking or running with their kids. They’ll also get a special mileage log to record their progress.

“Kids are sometimes more comfortable connecting when they’re engaged in activities with their parents, like coloring, or cooking or exercising,” Marathon Kids chief executive officer Cami Hawkins said in a press release. “There’s something about being together, side by side, that helps get the ball rolling on good conversation.”

Talking and exercise go hand in hand. Photo courtesy Marathon Kids

 

Research also shows that when kids engage in physical activity with their parents, they have a much better chance of developing lifelong healthy habits, Hawkins said.

After 26(.2) miles, the parent and child will have completed the equivalent of a full marathon – and they’ll know each other a little better in the process.

To register for the free program go to MarathonKids.org/WalkandTalk.

Celebrate Global Running Day at this free social run on June 6

Celebrate Global Running Day with a free community run that starts and finishes at the Austin American-Statesman (File photo/American-Statesman)

 

Lace up your running shoes, people.

To celebrate Global Running Day on June 6, the Statesman Capitol 10K, Austin Marathon and 3M Half Marathon staffs are organizing a free social run and walk through Austin.

Choose from a 3-mile or 6-mile route, both of which start and finish at the west parking lot of the Austin American-Statesman, 305 South Congress Avenue.

Participants get maps, bottled water, nutrition bars, raffle tickets and high fives.

Meet at 6 p.m. and plan to depart by 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

RSVP here.

Registration for 2019 Austin Marathon opens Friday

Registration for the 2019 Austin Marathon and Half Marathon opens Friday. (Stephen Spillman / for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

It might feel like you just finished this year’s marathon, but registration for the 2019 race opens Friday.

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The 28th Annual Austin Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K presented by Under Armour is scheduled for Feb. 17, 2019.

Early pricing is in effect. Registration is $100 for the marathon, $80 for the half and $35 for the 5K. Prices increase July 18 and again in September, October, December and January. If you sign up at the expo on race weekend next February, you’ll fork over $160 to enter the marathon, $140 for the half and $60 for the 5K.