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Rich Jones

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My first run on the trail was June 22, 2013. Not only had I just moved to Austin from Pennsylvania but I had also just signed up to run my first marathon, the Dallas marathon, in December of 2013 (which ended up getting cancelled 2 days prior to the race due to an ice storm). Now that I had made the commitment to run a marathon, I was ready to do whatever training it took to prepare. I had heard about the trail but had never had a chance to run it. I love running alongside streams, rivers, and lakes so the trail seemed to be the perfect spot. I couldn’t wait to explore it. What I wasn’t prepared for was the heat. Mornings are still cool in June in PA so I didn’t know how to dress for Texas running and my body was expecting something different. I made 2 laps around the trail between the Mopac footbridge and Congress. While I loved the trail, my first run didn’t go so well. My post on facebook read,

“Ran 10 miles for the first time in Austin. I thought I was going to die. Final Score, Texas Heat:1 – Rich:0. I have a LOT of training to do.”

Not to be deterred, I continued to run the trail. It quickly became my favorite place to run, despite the heat. I loved the energy of so many people out running along the trail combined with the peace and tranquility of running along the water with the beautiful view of the Austin skyline. With an abundance of shade, conveniently spaced water fountains, distance markers every 1/4 mile, and flat terrain compared to the rest of the city, the trail was the ideal place to run and train. I made adjustments to my routine and a few weeks later after another 10 mile trip on the trail, this time all the way out to the dam, I posted again on Facebook to report my progress to my PA friends,

“Earlier start, better clothes, well fed and watered makes for a better run. The score is now evened up, Texas Heat:1, Rich:1. I’m learning.”

9 years, 13,000 miles, and 9 marathons later, the trail is still my favorite place in Austin to run. Thanks Trail Foundation for making that possible.


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