This Sunday, runners from around the country will descend on Austin to compete in the notoriously fast 3M Half Marathon. From the north end of Loop 360, through the greenery of Shoal Creek, and finishing in front of the Texas State Capitol, the 3M Half Marathon will take nearly 7,000 runners on a beautiful, mostly downhill tour of the city.

A select few will be gunning to break the tape and win. Beyond the personal bests and race finishes, the elite field of men and women boasts a diverse and fascinating range of stories. Here are just some of the faces that will be competing up front at the 3M Half Marathon.

(Note: answers have been edited and condensed for clarity)

 

Brooke Torres
Age: 32
Occupation: Police officer
Training group: Jason Fitzgerald with Strength Running

How many years have you been running?
Since I was 14…so 18 years 😃

What’s your proudest running accomplishment?
Receiving a cross country/track scholarship to the University of Texas

Why do you run?
I love running and being outside. It allows me to clear my head and just enjoy the moment.

What is your favorite running route in Austin?
I don’t really have a favorite running route but I love to run around downtown, through UT’s campus, and on Town Lake.

What is your goal for the 3M Half Marathon?
To have fun and hopefully run faster than last year

What is your big racing goal for 2018?
To qualify for the 2019 Boston Marathon

Editor’s note: Torres continues to run after being diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma cancer in late 2015. She is still undergoing routine immunotherapy treatment every 12 weeks.

 

Matt McCurdy
Age: 40 (masters)
Occupation: Integrative oncologist (I incorporate complementary medicine such as acupuncture and herbs with conventional medicine) and radiation oncologist
Training group: trains alone

How many years have you been running?
I have run all my life.

What’s your proudest running accomplishment?
Boston Marathon 2014. I ran 2 hours 29 minutes and 15 seconds. I was in my mid-to-late 30s.

Why do you run?
I run 1) for my physical and mental health, 2) as a meditative practice on the treadmill or in nature, 3) as a hobby that is a source of accomplishment and 4) as a role model to others of healthy behavior.

What is your favorite running route in Austin?
My favorite running route is around Ladybird Lake, particularly on the east side by the dam. Slaughter Creek Preserve Trail is less than a mile from my house and is a close second.

What is your goal for the 3M Half Marathon?
My goal for 3M really is to relax and enjoy the race.

What is your big racing goal for 2018?
The Austin Marathon is the big racing goal for 2018. I am raising money for the Flatwater Foundation, a non-profit that provides mental health services to those with cancer.

If you would like to donate to the Flatwater Foundation, please visit McCurdy’s CrowdRise campaign: https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/flatwater-foundation/mattmccurdy

 

Randi Burnett
Age: 34
Occupation: I’m a mom. I was a pilates instructor.
Training group: trains alone

What’s your proudest running accomplishment?
I think the first time I broke 3 was my proudest accomplishment.

Why do you run?
I run because I love how it makes me feel after I finish a work out. I love the relationships running has brought me. I enjoy being active outside.

What’s your favorite running route in Austin?
I don’t live in Austin so when I’m there, I enjoy just running Town Lake.

What is your goal for the 3M Half Marathon?
Goal is to break 80 min. at 3M

What is your big racing goal for 2018?
2018 goal is an Olympic Trials time.

 

Edie Stevenson
Age: 68
Occupation: I am a massage therapist. Before that, I was an exercise physiologist at the University of Colorado, and before that I was a math professor at U Colorado.
Training group: My coach is Kim Jones, and she has been wonderful. I also have an amazing physical therapist, Brad Ott, who has kept me running strong and mainly injury-free for many years.

How many years have you been running?
I have been running for 39 years, racing for 29 years.

What’s your proudest running accomplishment?
It’s hard to decide on a single proud running moment. A recent running accomplishment was setting the F65 American record for 10 miles at last year’s Cherry Blossom race.

Why do you run?
I run because I love to run. I love the way it makes me feel, and I enjoy meeting other runners.

What is your goal for the 3M Half Marathon?
My goal for this year’s 3M Half is to run as close as possible to the time I ran there in 2008 — 1:30. That would set an American F65 record by several minutes, so it probably won’t happen!

What is your big racing goal for 2018?
My running goals for 2018 are to win some masters national championships and to run faster than I ran in 2017.

 

Cate Barrett
Age: 28
Occupation: currently looking for my next gig! Hoping to use my people + communication skills to keep a team/project on track toward making something cool. Specifically, this could be a project manager, something in customer success or account services, or part of a marketing team.
Training group: Rogue Running

How many years have you been running?
20! Shit. Haha! Seriously, only for 11 years.

What’s your proudest running accomplishment?
In college, I got 3rd or 4th in the regional XC meet one year, qualifying for nationals. That was one of the toughest races I’ve ever run, and gave me a lot of confidence that I was as good as I thought I could be.

Why do you run?
I’m training to qualify for and compete at the Olympic Trials marathon in 2020. In the grander scheme, I do this because it’s my favorite method of self-discovery, pushing myself, and spending time in community with like-minded people.

What is your favorite running route in Austin?
I like going to Mt. Bonnell for an easy run because it feels like you accomplished something adventurous without having to run very far. And no matter how many times you’ve done it, you must climb the stairs or take the trail to the top, and stop for the view.

What is your goal for the 3M Half Marathon?
I want to use this race as a prep for the Austin Half Marathon. I am really nervous about it since I haven’t done any long or really hard workouts since before CIM, but this itself will be a perfect workout! I can’t wait to see where my fitness is at, and just party through these Austin streets with the rest of the Austin running folks.

What is your big racing goal for 2018?
I think if we play our cards right (me and my coach Chris McClung) that I could nab the OTQ (Olympic Trials qualifying) standard at the California International Marathon in December – a 2:45 marathon. I’m not sure if I’m doing CIM yet though. More immediately, I’m racing my first Boston. I want to try to race that more aggressively than my first two marathons.

Yesterday was the first day of my training schedule building up to the Boston Marathon in April. Whatta Christmas gift, @roguechris 🎄 . Can’t believe it’s only been three weeks since the race at CIM. I am growing more and more proud and appreciative of the accomplishment of crossing that finish line, because chances to run a good, hard marathon in perfect weather with lots of fast competition come so infrequently. . I took advantage of everything out there that day- friends on the course, allll the gels, energy from fans, sticking to my race plan, and enjoying every step. . I feel like CIM was almost too fun and too good … like how can Boston top this experience? Boston is also going to be an even bigger race, with more spectators, logistics, hills, etc, and it’ll be my third marathon in 8 months. It almost makes me dizzy thinking about it. . But the good thing is – while a marathon is a massive effort on one day- it’s made up of a thousand little steps along the way. And that’s all I have to do. . For now. . 🦄

A post shared by Cate Barrett (@beingcate) on

 

Kaitlyn Johnson
Age: 24
Occupation: UT graduate student in biomedical engineering
Training group: Rogue Running

How many years have you been running?
I started running winter track my junior year of high school, so that makes seven years now. Prior to that I ran a casual mile or two every now and then to stay in shape for gymnastics and had run a few 5ks with my dad, but never ran competitively.

What’s your proudest running accomplishment?
I go back and forth on this one, but I think it would still be breaking my high school’s outdoor 2-mile record on the day of my senior prom. This one was special to me because I had tried and very miserably failed to qualify for the NJ group 4 championship meet in the mile. After absolutely dying the previous day, I got another chance to qualify, this time in the 2 mile, a race I had only ran once before. The qualifier was on a hot and humid day, I was exhausted from the day prior, and I rolled my ankle during the race. I remember so distinctly the feeling of wanting to give up in that moment, but I somehow overcame it and pushed myself to the finish, barely qualifying. The next week, without even knowing the school record going into the race, I dropped 20 seconds from my previous time. When I finished, my coach hugged me and told me she thought I might have broken the school record, but it was too close to tell from her watch. I rushed into the car with my Dad as planned to try and catch up on prom festivities. A few hours later, my coach drove over right before I was headed to pictures and confirmed it, I had broken the record by just tenths of a second. Thinking about it now still gives me goosebumps.

Why do you run?
I run because I feel like a bad ass when I run. I’ve found there’s no better way for me to feel powerful and determined in all aspects of my life, compared to the way I feel while running. It helps clear my mind and allows me to focus not just on my running goals but also on my personal and academic goals.

What is your favorite running route in Austin?
This may sound generic, but I have got to say it’s running over the bridges of Town Lake as the sun is rising. Having moved here only a year and a half ago, I am still in awe at the absolute beauty of this city.

What is your goal for the 3M Half Marathon?
I would like to run as well as I did last year (1:20 and change) but more realistically I would be very happy with anything in the range of 1:23-1:24 as I am coming back from a stress injury in my hip this fall.

What is your big racing goal for 2018?
My biggest racing goal is to successfully complete my first marathon. I’ll be running the Vancouver Marathon in May assuming all goes as planned. I am a little apprehensive about jumping to that long of a distance so soon, but am excited to have some big goals out in front of me.

 

Joey Whelan
Age: 27
Occupation: Foreman at Commander Clearing: Commercial, Farm & Ranch Restoration
Training group: trains alone

How many years have you been running?
17

What’s your proudest running accomplishment?
While running for Syracuse University, we won our last Big East team title before switching to the ACC conference

Why do you run?
I run for health, competition, and to set an example. There’s something rewarding about running after a hard day’s work that makes me feel good. It also reflects to my coworkers, family and friends that you can always do more.

What is your favorite running route in Austin?
Town Lake trail

What is your goal for the 3M Half Marathon?
Top 3

What is your big racing goal for 2018?
Olympic Trials Marathon standard (2:18:59)

 

Learn more about the 3M Half Marathon on the race website and be sure to grab a good cheer spot on the route this Sunday!

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