The gun went off for the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon, among the thousands of bodies that began to race toward the distant finish lines, 29 local kids from Ann Richards School and East Side Memorial school began the races they had been preparing for since September. Hours later those same Marathon High athletes could be found at Rogue, on 5th and San Marcos, devouring tacos and cake, rejoicing in the fact that they had meet their goal. I was lucky to be apart of their journey. The strength and guts each of those kids showed during their races was inspirational. Helping pace athletes between miles 19-23, I was able to see the drive and perseverance that was required from each student to reach the finish line.
Reflecting back on the entire season of preparation, the hard work our athletes demonstrated on race day was visible for months leading up to the race. Yet, what was not as evident during the marathon was the countless hours of behind the scenes hard work that went into creating and supporting Marathon High. I would like to take this as an opportunity to say thank you to the community that supported every Marathon High athlete in their journey.
First, thank you to Ruth England. Marathon High is your vision. It was your dream. Thank you for being ambitious enough to take on yet another project. Without you this idea would never have gotten off the ground.
Thank you to Jeff Knight. Months before anyone began training for the marathon, you were writing grants and training schedules. Your organizational skills and logistical planning were essential for every practice and race we had. Your emails and leadership guided the program from day one.
Thank you to Andrew, Sarah, Julianne, Scott, Chris, Carl, and Mary, for coaching each kid from beginning to end. You guys were given a tall task. Yet, by race day, it was really fantastic to see how much each of your athletes trusted you. That trust obviously stemmed from the immense amount of personal investment and care you had for every athlete. Very one of your runners was lucky to have you as a coach.
Thank you to the Rogues, many of you helped pace, many of you cheered, and all of you created a supportive running environment that welcomed in our young runners. Thank you for creating an open and supportive community that embraced every Marathon High runner.
Thank you to every group, foundation, and individual that helped financially support Marathon High, Without you, our athletes wouldn’t have had the shoes, the clothes, and the nutrition gels essential to complete a marathon.
Finally, thank you to Sarah Bremer Photography, Stelly Weddings, and Univision for helping record and publicize the journeys of each of our athletes. Your videos and photos provide a way for us to always be able to look back on the hard work that each Marathon High runner put in and they will help us share what the program is like next year when our second class of Marathoners begins their training and preparation.
Below are a few of the many images taken by Sarah Bremer. They were taken in the final practices before the Marathon began.