Recalling one-hit wonder races that took place in San Marcos
There is a term in the music world about a singer that records a hit song and then is never heard from again. The term “One Hit Wonder” is used for musicians that have a brief brush with fame. It made me start thinking of the races I have seen or been a part of that were only held one time. I started to recall races here in San Marcos that were held three or fewer times. I can’t recall the names of most of the races because they were held only one time and then disappeared. Many of the reasons for the short life span include road construction, housing developments, traffic buildup, lack of sponsorship or organizations not wanting to put the hard work into putting on a race.
One race started at the Cuauhtemoc Hall on Patton Street and ran out the south access road and around. It worked out OK but the route was a little dangerous and a boring run for runners. I can’t remember the T-shirt and it was one that I did not save. One bigger race was put on by Tangram starting out at Aquarena Springs and had both a 5K and a 10K distance. The problem was it ran into the downtown area of San Marcos and almost any street leading to the downtown area was blocked for the race. From reports that day the Sheriff’s Office and the San Marcos Police Department were bombarded with phone calls by business and shop owners not being able to get to their location to open at 9 a.m.
We had a popular race called “Country Roads 15K” starting at the old location of the San Marcos High School and running out Staples Road to Old Bastrop Highway and through the neighborhood behind the school. It was a good race and I remember it crossed the river three times and running downhill on Old Bastrop Road the runners disappeared into a fog bank. It was a sight that the runners talked about after the race. It was also the race that was written up in the magazine, “Runner’s World,” the second or third time it was held when the bike lead took the wrong turn just before the two-mile mark and came to a dead-end road after a mile. It disappeared after that but more because of the development of housing developments and the increase of traffic on Staples Road.
There was one attempt to run out Hunter’s Road to McCarty Lane and around to the access road for a 10K distance. Traffic was not like it is today but enough to make it a dangerous run because of the number of cars getting too close to the runners. There was an out and back race on the new RR12 road heading toward Wimberley. It seemed like a good idea to run on one lane and cone off the other lane. Runners found that the race was more uphill than they liked and traffic was still a concern. Another one-time race. There have been several organizations that have used the River Walk starting at City Park and running out around the Little League Baseball Fields. The problems that made most of the races disappear was the number of volunteers it required to make sure the runners didn’t take the wrong path and get lost. We did have a few that did get lost or took a wrong turn. One other problem was the time the race was held the same day as the Opening Day of Little League Baseball and the traffic and parking lot the runners had to go through was a nightmare.
One race was held at the Children’s Park after it first opened and the purpose was to let people know about the new children’s play area. It headed out C.M. Allen to Cheatham Street and made a P-shaped route through the neighborhoods and back to the Children’s Park. It was a good route with not much traffic but the sponsoring organization felt a one-time race was enough to let people know about the Children’s Park playground. I had a race for SWT Homecoming one year. The route ran through the campus and up all the hills leading to the center of the University. We had a minimum number of runners and I ended up footing a bill for T-shirts that were left over. Then there was the race to promote the football program at Texas State. The route had to start and end in the football stadium. After measuring a 5K distance over several attempts, there was no way to run without crossing Aquarena Springs drive. After several close calls with traffic, it was a one-time race. I remember it because I was the lead bike and came to a skidding, sliding stop at the road to avoid getting hit by a car since the traffic control person had left. Recalling the number of one-time races, it makes the 33 years the Better Half Marathon lasted look good. It was stopped because of old age by the namesake and race organizers.