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March 9, 2014

The 30th edition of Moe’s Better Half Marathon is a success

One more year of putting on Moe’s Better Half Marathon is in the books.

The race has been held for thirty years, and it looks like it will be held for a few more years. With the competition from larger races nearby, it is hard to predict how runners will pick and choose which race they want to attend.

Talking with runners after the race, and trying to find out why they chose our race instead of the larger races, several points came out. One is that, this year, we gave runner’s jackets as an option instead of a T-shirt. Comments from runners were very positive about the nice jacket. From a sponsor’s standpoint, the jackets will be worn every time it is cool outside, and will be seen much more than wearing the T-shirt at a race.

A second thing was that our entry fee was much lower than the other races. Our late entry fee is still lower than the early entry fee for most other half marathons.

A third point was that there were many runners who just do not like to be part of 16,000 runners in a pack. They like to be part of a race that is “local” and well-organized, with a smaller turnout.

We had anticipated about 280 entrants this year, and ended up with over 350 runners. For race organizers this was a bit of a dilemma, as the orders for shirts, jackets, mugs and pens were for a maximum of 300. A lot of scrambling was taking place the last week to get more stuff for race day.

This race wouldn’t happen if it were not for the volunteers behind the scenes. The race committee of David and Linda Alexander, Steve and Kelli Whigham, Darrell Rhodes and Laura Mason are the main force behind the race.

Tanger Outlet Center was very instrumental in the race by supplying ample parking nearby, providing tables, barriers and after-race water bottles, as well as support staff to help out.

Our major sponsor, Subway of Central Texas, makes it possible to buy much of the material, such as mugs, pens and jackets for the runners. Josie’s Frozen Yogurt, ColorMix Graphics & Printing and MVBA Attorneys at Law are secondary sponsors that contribute toward making everything possible.

Central Texas Medical Center came on board and provided some cloth packet bags for race shirts and jackets. With many cities abandoning plastic and paper bags, these bags came in very handy.

From the Hays County Sheriff’s Office, Dennis Gutierrez and Ken Carpenter were exceptional. I heard from both runners and race organizers out on the course how helpful and friendly they were.

Dann Baker and Reenie Smith, activity instructors at Texas State University, provided many of their students to volunteer with aid stations and as directional people. Some of them arrived about 5:30 a.m. and helped with setting up the course, which was very welcome.

Members of the San Marcos Kiwanis Club were on hand to help set out the aid stations and perform various other race duties. Frederick Case and Francis Mendez worked overtime trying to keep up with the aid stations that were running low on cups or water. Frederick said he put over 65 miles on his truck driving out on the course.

When you look back at the race, it is hard to realize how many volunteers it takes to put this race on. The money goes to Kiwanis for scholarships and to the San Marcos Runners Club for purchase of equipment that we use for the race. The club does not charge for the services it provides for local organizations putting on races here in San Marcos; and in order to do that, equipment has to be purchased.

After the race, it is nice to hear from the runners that our efforts - and the efforts of the volunteers - did not go unnoticed; and I heard many positive comments about the race. The best part of many of the comments was, “I’ll see you next year, and I will tell my friends about this race.”

So it looks like we need to start making plans for the 31st year of putting on the Moe’s Better Half Marathon.

I wonder if Brian McCoy ever envisioned that, when he started sponsoring this race back in 1984, it would still be going on today.

Moe Johnson
Dr. Maurice Johnson - better known around San Marcos as “Moe” - is a professor in the Department of Health, P.E., Recreation and Dance at Texas State University - San Marcos. Moe has been a fixture in the San Marcos running community - both as a runner and race organizer - since way back when Moby Dick was a minnow. His column on running and fitness appears each Sunday in the Sports section of the San Marcos Daily Record.

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