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March 8, 2015

Moe’s Better Half Marathon is a success

My fingers have finally thawed out from last Sunday’s very cold, windy and rainy (some runners claimed sleet) Moe’s Better Half Marathon. Other than the weather not being the best for runners, there were 240 runners who braved the elements and will be able to talk about the year the race was so cold.

The race committee met and went over the race for any improvements that are needed, and what went right, and things we want to keep for next year. From the comments I heard from the runners and the race committee, the race went off without a hitch and was a success as far as race organization went.

This is the time when some extra kudos need to be handed out for making the race a success.

It starts with the sponsors that help provide funds for the shirts, food, awards, traffic control and the other things that are needed to make a race happen.

Subway of Central Texas is the major sponsor and has been for several years. MVBA Law Offices contributed to the success, as well as Josie’s Yogurt and The Graduate College at Texas State. It was nice to see Drs. Golato and Paulson of the graduate college offer a challenge to some of the students to “Run With The Deans” and then actually run the race.

What we call “in-kind” sponsors include Tanger Outlet Center that once again offered the use of their location for the race. The staff at Tanger arrived at 5 a.m. on that cold morning to open restroom doors, set up barriers, bring out tables for aid stations and registration and - at the last minute - offer the use of their customer service area for registration and the awards ceremony so runners would not have to stand out in the cold after the race. Tanger has over the years been very supportive of this race and other community events as well; and it is very much appreciated.

What makes a race good for the runners out on the course are the volunteers that are necessary for taking care of water, directions and safety on the course. It amazed me to see so many volunteers show up in the cold weather and stay until the end of the race.

Dann Baker and Reenie Smith had jogging classes show up at 5:30 a.m. and start helping out. The Catholic student organization at Texas State had a helpful group show up, as well as students from several other organizations, such as the Swim Club.

The proceeds from the race go to the Kiwanis Club for the scholarships that they hand out in the spring to local students. Members of the club started arriving at 4:30 a.m. They set up the water stations and took out direction volunteers, and had that part of the race covered.

The Explorer Scout EMT group that is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club had members of their group out on the course to provide extra aid if it was necessary for the runners, and to back up the EMT unit at the race. Constables David Peterson and Frank Cheatham were out on the course handling traffic for us, and that is another necessary part of the race.

One group that impressed the race committee was the San Marcos High School AFROTC cadets. We were not going to use chip timing this year; and that meant that there would not be an archway over the start and finish line.

I called their group advisor Lt. Col. Tony Williams and asked if he could help out with a balloon arch over some scaffolding I had set up. These young cadets made an awesome green, yellow, and white balloon arch over the starting line (the colors of the major sponsor Subway) and had it up and ready to go in very rapid fashion.

They then stuck around and helped out at water stations on the course, handed out caps and mugs to race finishers, and then helped with tearing down the race course. They are very exceptional students.

All in all, the volunteers were exceptional in making the race a success; and even moreso that they were there in the cold weather. Now if we can just get the weather to cooperate next year, it will be an even better race.

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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