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February 14, 2016

Moe’s Better Half is almost here

The Austin Marathon and Half Marathon are being run today, and there will be a number of local runners entered in the race.

Reports estimate that 11,000 runners will take part in the half marathon. That is a lot of runners competing in the 13.1-mile distance. Most of them will finish in between two and two and a half hours. I can imagine if you are in the back of the pack, it will take you several minutes just to get to the starting line.

Reading about the race started me thinking about Moe’s Better Half Marathon that is coming up in three weeks on March 6th. Operating behind the scenes of a race can get a little hectic as the date of the race draws near.

So far, most of the major items are in the category of being nearly completed. The shirts are ordered, with a few adjustments having been made with the order; the caps that finishers receive when they cross the finish line will be in next week; the ceramic mugs that the race hands out every year are ordered, and the design for the race logo is ready.

Online registration is open, and more and more runners are registering every day. While Austin will bring in 11,000 runners, we are expecting the usual 280 to 320 runners in our race. Calls to TV weather reporters are being made to continue with the good weather forecasts. The so-called smaller details are being put in order.

Volunteers are being recruited. The Kiwanis Club will have a large percentage of the members out early Sunday morning to get things ready. Dann Baker, an instructor in Health and Human Performance at Texas State, has a jogging class that he is asking to volunteer for the race.

Anyone who is not running, but is willing to put in a few hours of volunteer time, can call me, and I will find something for you to do.

One of the perks of the Better Half, compared to most of the other races, is that this is run out on county roads with wide-open spaces to admire.

One other item that attracts the runner is that it is one of the least expensive half marathons you can find. With a registration fee of $50 right up until the last week, it is a bargain for runners.

The race does not have much of a profit margin, when you consider that runners receive a long-sleeve high-tech shirt, a runner’s cap with the race logo on it, a 15-ounce ceramic coffee mug, and food after the race, including sausage links from San Marcos BBQ to eat to get your protein energy back.

I looked at the San Marcos Runners Club web page and clicked on the link to the Facebook page that gives information about the race. One area that I spent some time going over was the photo section.

There are race photos of volunteers, individual runners, groups of runners climbing up “the hill” on Centerpoint Road, and a few scenes of the cattle, old tractors, horses and a couple of windmills. Somewhere around mile 9, the runners occasionally see some llamas staring at them; but we haven’t take any photos of them yet.

Robert Bermea is the race photographer; and he has put several of his photos down at Core Running on the square to let some of the runners who have not entered before get a feel for the race.

The best part for me was the fact that the photos date back to 2002. There are a lot of photos of friends, and even some photos of runners who are still running in the race this year. It is hard to imagine that this will be the 32nd year that the race has been run.

If you have ever entered the Moe’s Better Half, you might want to take a look at the photos from years ago and see if you can find a picture of yourself. There is even one photo of the birthday cake that Laura Mason had made for me on my 70th birthday, as the runners celebrated with me after the race.

For runners who are looking for a smaller, low-key race, instead of running with 11,000 other runners, you might want to think about giving Moe’s Better Half Marathon a try. The race is here in San Marcos at the Tanger Outlet Center, so it will be easy to get to with plenty of parking.

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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