Moe Johnson Running with Moe
It's location, location, location
A couple of us old timers were talking about some of the races that we could recall here in San Marcos. I started to write down some of the different locations that various organizations have held a race. I may have missed a race or two but over the years San Marcos has held races at 25 different locations. Not different races, but different locations for a race.
The most popular was down at the Courthouse on the Square (1). A run down San Antonio Street and return on Belvin Street finishing at the Courthouse.. A few changes in the course now and then to make a better course. I remember working eight Saturdays in a row one summer.
The Civic Center (2) had a perfect 10K course down the access road, Wonder World Drive (Redwood Road back then) and onto Highway 123 and back. A similar course at the Hospital (3) was also popular. The problem was the entire route was state highway and permission, insurance, etc., put that race to rest. Jim’s Gym(4) (Texas Health and Racquetball now) had two races each heading off in a different direction. One was a 5K and the other was a 10K. The 10K course is the only race I ever took first overall in one year. The first eight Moe’s Better Half Marathons were held there.
Now most of the races are held out at Country Estates (5) with two 5K courses and one 10K course. The “old high school” (6) had a popular 15K out Staples Road and down Old Bastrop Highway. The course crossed the river three times. There is a 5K course out at the new high school (7) that is a good course. Schools are popular locations because they have parking and restrooms. Hernandez Elementary (8) has an out and back 5K course. Tanger Outlet (9) has been a popular location for races. A half marathon course, a 10K course, a 5K course, and a 10 mile course have started there. The soccer fields (10) are popular now with a 5K course. City Park (11) has the Pet Fest 5K along the river. Very scenic run but needs lots of volunteers. Tangram had a 5K and 10K course starting at Aqua Rena (12). Texas State has held a Cross Country 5K (13) that is now the soccer fields and another one coming out of the football stadium (14) and a onetime Homecoming course (15)that ran through campus. Toyota Car Dealership (16) has a nice out and back 5K course. The First Baptist Church (17) has a hilly 5K course for the Thankful Turkey run. The most popular 5K race in San Marcos is the Sights and Sounds that now starts at the Chamber of Commerce (18) area.
There are several races that were “one time” races that for one reason or another did not repeat a second time. Cuauhtemoc Hall (19) had an out and back 5K course. Travis Elementary (20) had a run out Lime Kiln Road but truck traffic made that too dangerous. The Children’s Park (Playscape) (21) had a 5K down Cheatham Street into the neighborhoods.
Dash for Dawn 5K was held at Crockett Elementary (22) to raise money for a play area and ran through the neighborhoods. Lamar School (23) had the Friends for the Cemetery 5K run that ran through the gravestones. Embassy Suites (24) was the location for the Run for America Marathon and other distance races. There was another 5K out and back course out at the McCoy’s Office (25) location.
Looking back at all of the locations was a challenge for the memory but once you recalled one race another one would be remembered. I remember riding my bike with a Jones Counter on it measuring the course to make it as accurate as possible. Putting on a race in some locations was short lived for various reasons. Some changed because of growth of business or houses adding traffic problems. Traffic is probably the one challenge races have now because roads that years ago were lightly traveled are now a major artery of traffic. When liability problems became more of a concern the cost of insurance and permit costs often became too much for a non-profit organization to overcome. After checking the race route several were found to be a state highway and that brought in more permission requirements. And in some cases getting enough volunteers for course directions in a neighborhood and concerns from the neighbors about closing down their streets were a few causes.
Looking back at all of the different courses it demonstrates how creative race organizers can be when meeting challenges to host a race. San Marcos is a popular race location for the runners.