How do we celebrate Texas Independence Day in Austin?
I am now a Turkey Trotter.
Bill usually runs in the Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot, but Thanksgiving Day logistics had deterred me from entering in previous years. But Thursday’s forecast sounded like perfect running weather (for me), and Bill and I were walking right past packet pick-up (at RunTex), and we knew that proceeds went to a good cause (Caritas of Austin)…and so we both signed up.
The sun was shining down on this year’s Komen Race for the Cure, but all was not well in Pink Ribbon Land. Due to the recent uproar over the national organization’s off-and-on-again support for Planned Parenthood, Austin’s Komen Race attendance was down to just 15,000 this year. Donations were considerably lower as well. The walk still felt crowded but we did notice that there were fewer sponsor booths with less free giveaways.
Costumes were encouraged; the weirder, the better. Some runners painted their bodies. You can just imagine what that looked like after three-plus miles.
The swim portion was in Lady Bird Lake in front of Auditorium Shores. The bike route went over the First Street Bridge and along west Cesar Chavez and Congress Avenue. The running loop went across the Congress Avenue Bridge and along east Cesar Chavez. So if you were trying to drive through downtown on Monday morning, you were in big trouble.
Those pro triathletes still looked fresh even as they finished the Olympic distance: a 1.5K (.93 mile) swim, a 40K (25 mile) bike ride and a 10K (6.2 mile) run. Hunter Kemper and Andy Potts placed first and second for the men, in the opposite order of last year’s race. Sarah Haskins was the women’s winner.
Vision-impaired/blind athletes are tethered to a guide for the swim and run routes. For the bike portion, the paratriathlete pedals on the back of a tandem bike with a guide pedaling and steering in front.
March for Babies is a fundraiser for the March of Dimes, supporting their mission to promote full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. Over 900 walks are held throughout the US each year. Yesterday’s Austin walk started at Auditorium Shores, then went across the First Street Bridge, over two blocks on Cesar Chavez, and up Congress Avenue, circling the Texas State Capitol Grounds before following the same path back to the starting line.
According to local TV station KVUE, nearly 7,000 participated in this year’s March for Babies. Texas grocer H-E-B probably had the largest contingent, but there were also many smaller groups walking in honor or memory of a family member. I walked with the Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin team.
Local band Will Taylor and Strings Attached played as the walkers returned to Auditorium Shores. Unlike the local 5K runs, most of the tents were reserved for specific teams so after the walk ended, teams gathered around their own tents for food and beverages.
Dry-fit short-sleeve shirts with a colorful logo, replacing those why-are-they-giving-us-long-sleeves-in-April ones from previous years.
Free Carvel ice cream with sprinkles.