Elite runners return to Austin Marathon Sunday

Get ready for some street closures this weekend in the Austin area.

The Austin Marathon returns on Sunday and that means streets from North Austin into the city will be shut down as thousands of runners tackle 26.2 miles.

This year five thousand marathon runners and just over eleven thousand half marathoners will be passing through the finish line at 10th and Congress Avenue.

Because the weather is expected to be warmer than usual for the race, the Volunteer Seton Medical Director for the Austin Marathon wants runners to be cautious about what’s called overhydration.

That’s when runners drink to much water or sports drink that it ends up diluting the sodium in their blood stream causing severe reactions.

Doctors see one or two cases every year during the marathon, mainly from those who are not in the elite category.

They say the best advice is to pay attention to your thirst level which means you may not need to stop at every water stop.

“Although I recommend the sports drink it’s not necessarily going to protect the runner if they drink too much of that from getting this condition,” said Dr. Pierre Filardi, Volunteer Medical Director, Austin Marathon.

Doctors recommend drinking anywhere between 12 and 24 ounces of water during a marathon.

Marathon spectators might be happy to know the elite running category is returning this year with thousands of dollars in prize money.

This year the first place runner will receive $4,000 dollars, second receives $3,000, third place will get $2,000, and fourth $1,000.

But if the top male runner can beat the course record of two hours fourteen minutes they will receive an additional five thousand dollars.

For a woman they need to finish the course around the two hour and third minute mark to receive the additional prize money.

If no one is able to beat the course records this year that money will get rolled over into next year’s prize pot.

Because Freescale is the major sponsor they are bringing in runners from 16 different countries where they have operations.

Two of those runners are from Japan. Both hope to finish the race in two hours fifteen minutes but are a little worried because they have heard the Austin course is tough.

“We usually have a flat course so this is very special for us,” said Masaki Hori, Japanese Runner.

They will be competing against many other elite runners from around the world.

“In our elite field we have our usual compliment of Kenyan runners who make things exciting, we have an athlete from Mexico, and we have a very strong presence with an elite athlete from America if they can get here from places that are frozen right now,” said John Conley, Austin Marathon Race Director.

The elite field also includes some Austin runners. Eric Stanley a former University of Texas All American in Track and Field is running his second marathon and is a contender to be in the top five.

Also, Austin runner Jen Harney will likely place under the three hour mark.

Those hoping to sign up can do so beginning Friday at 2p.m. at the Marathon Expo taking place at the Palmer Events Center.

Right now the marathon is technically sold out – although a few spots could be available at the expo. Registration is still available for the half marathon.

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