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Exploring Texas: Why You Don’t Want to Miss the Austin Marathon this February

Wondering where to go for your next staycation destination? Look no further than around our home state. We Texans are lucky that we live in a state that’s home to countless incredible attractions that’ll have the whole family eagerly anticipating the next weekend road trip. To help you decide where to go, we’ve put together a series that explores the best things to see and do in the state depending on what month it is. For February, we’re taking a trip to the state capital for the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon, one of the world’s best races.

ABOUT THE AUSTIN MARATHON

Pack those running shoes and head over to Austin on Sunday, February 16 for one of the world’s top running events: the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon and Half Marathon. Considered one of the top 10 half marathons in the world and one of 15 bucket list marathons in the United States, this venerable Austin event is a mix of competition, live music and finish-line fun, attracting approximately 20,000 runners annually including two-time Olympic Trials qualifier Rory Tunningley.

YOU’LL WANT TO SPRINT TO SEE THIS MARATHON

The race, which draws more than 100,000 spectators, takes runners through Austin’s city streets, unique neighborhoods and past iconic landmarks. You’ll spot the Deep Eddy Pool (the oldest man-made swimming pool in Texas) at mile 8.5; the University of Texas tower at mile 13; and the Hole in the Wall music venue that’s seen the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Lucinda Williams perform on its stage at mile 13.5.

In true Austin fashion, nearly 20 bands will be playing along the course to entertain runners. Country music legend Gary P. Nunn will be kicking things off at the start line on the Congress Avenue Bridge, while more live entertainment, snacks, gear bags, food trucks, a beer garden (for runners over the age of 21) and two jumbotrons can all be found at the finish line at the Texas State Capitol.

MAKE THE MOST OF THE MARATHON

Does a marathon or half marathon sound a little too challenging for your running routine? There are plenty of ways to be part of and enjoy the race, including enrolling your kids in the Manzano Mile, which features individual waves for age groups, elite divisions and a kids’ run. No matter which race you choose to run, you’ll be supporting a worthy cause through the voluntary Austin Gives Miles program.

You can also make an entire weekend out of the marathon by attending the Health & Fitness Expo on Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15 at the Palmer Events Center. Not only is the expo the site for the race package pick-up, but more than 100 vendors will be present.

PLAN AHEAD IF VISITING FROM ANOTHER CITY

If visiting from outside Austin, be sure to review the traffic guide provided by race organizers before starting your trip; the guide provides information on how to park strategically and determine if your trip time conflicts with the marathon. Once in Austin, there are plenty of free and paid parking garages, surface lots and on-street parking within walking distance of the start and finish lines (you can also book affordable parking in advance through the SpotHero app).

GET READY FOR NEXT MONTH, WHEN IT’S TIME TO KICK UP YOUR HEELS

You’ll want to keep those feet moving for next month’s weekend road trip, when we visit the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. If you’ve never been, we encourage you to start looking into it now. Concert tickets for stars like Keith Urban, Willie Nelson, Dierks Bentley, Gwen Stefani and Khalid go fast, so be sure to snap yours up ahead of time so you don’t miss out.


Images courtesy of Running USA (finish line runner; group marathon); PR Newswire (banner image).