At Brews for Big Bend, help raise money for national park

Campers watch the sun set from a remote campsite at Big Bend National Park in January 2017. Photo by Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman

I’ve scraped my shins on cactus, watched tarantulas belly crawl over rocks and laughed when a kangaroo rat climbed up my husband’s pants leg at Big Bend National Park.

I love the place, and have visited at least 25 times. I want to keep it pristine so future generations can enjoy it, too.

That’s why my ears perked when I heard about the upcoming Brews for Big Bend event at Live Oak Brewing Company. The fund-raiser is set for 5-8 p.m. Oct. 26 at Live Oak Brewing Company, 1615 Crozier Lane in Austin. Proceeds benefit the Big Bend Conservancy, a non-profit organization that works to protect and improve the sprawling park in far West Texas.

Visitors to Big Bend National Park wade through the Rio Grande at Santa Elena Canyon in January 2017. Photo by Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman

The event will give people a chance to celebrate Big Bend, share photos and stories about it, and win prizes, including a trail sign from the park. Staffers from the conservancy will highlight current projects, including a remodel of the Rio Grande Village Visitor Center and the Trails Endowment.

“We also encourage people to come who have never been to Big Bend but are interested in making their first trip out there – we can answer their questions, talk to them about what to do, where to stay, etc.,” says Courtney Lyons-Garcia, executive director of the conservancy. “It’s a great opportunity to learn more about our state’s first and largest national park.”

Visitors climb on Balanced Rock at Big Bend National Park in January 2017. Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman


Tickets cost $25 and include two beers or non-alcoholic beverages and appetizers, as well as access to the brewery and its 9-hole disc golf course.

To purchase tickets, go here. 

Missing Tom Petty? Tune in to this Petty-themed fitness class

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers perform at the Frank Erwin Center at The University of Texas on May 2, 2017 – Photo by Scott Moore for American-Statesman

Missing Tom Petty? I am too.

Get your fill of Petty tunes at the special Tom Petty Tribute class at City Surf Fitness tonight.

The class is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. To book it, go here.

And check out their upcoming roster of Austin City Limits-themed classes. Each instructor will feature a collection of his or her favorite artists playing at this year’s festival.

Is the new Austin marathon course tougher? Austin pros weigh in

More on that new marathon course, from the pros…

Runners participate in the Austin Marathon and Half-marathon presented by NXP Feb. 19. 02/19/17 Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

High Five Events, which puts on the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon, sent out a newsletter this morning featuring a review of the new marathon course by two local pros – Erik Stanley and David Fuentes.

RELATED: Is new marathon course easier? Not so fast, runners say

Stanley and Fuentes know their way around a race course. Stanley won the 2015 Statesman Cap10K and the 2017 3M Half Marathon; Fuentes won the 2015 Austin Half Marathon. They met up in mid-September to test their legs on the second half of the new route.

The new course eliminates the dreaded hills on Exposition Boulevard, but most runners believe the new route isn’t necessarily easier. Those west side hills have been replaced by equally daunting hills, including some on Enfield Road and Dean Keeton Street, and a steep section on 11th Street just before the finish.

The good news? The course takes runners into East Austin, where it hasn’t ventured in more than a decade. It also gives them an up-close view of the University of Texas campus, some cool Austin murals, the shade-lined streets of the Hyde Park neighborhood and the funky vibe of Cesar Chavez Street.

New scenery helps shake the cobwebs from your runner’s brain every now and then, don’t you think?

Stanley and Fuentes had good things to say – and offer some tips for avoiding a marathon meltdown come race day on Feb. 18. The Austin Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K drew about 17,000 runners last year.

To read their full report, go here.