Run Free Texas 8k – Race Report from a Newbie

Amber Wadey participated in an ARC member interview as the first person to register for the 2016-2017 Distance Challenge, after realizing that she perfectly fit the profile for the “average” Distance Challenge runner. We have asked her to let us follow along as she runs the series by contributing her race reports to our blog. We hope you enjoy sharing her journey!


I’m a new member of the Austin Runners Club, #daringthedistance for the first time. I have two small kids and work full-time so I don’t have a ton of time for group runs, but I like to say what I lack in training I make up for in enthusiasm! Getting back into running after taking most of the summer off has felt great. I kicked off the season last month at the Marathon Relay and have been so excited to get the Distance Challenge started with my first 80’s 8k.

Continue reading »

ARC Interview with Sandy Cumming

20160430_111758For this Austin Runners Club Interview, we have a local celebrity. Sandy Cumming has been a member of the ARC for 20 years, has served on the ARC Board, volunteered countless times (but we definitely count on her) and is part of the amazing Al and Sandy Cumming team, a couple that has done so much for Austin running and the ARC. They lead the Ship of Fools intermediate training group, with 3 of our ARC training runs and the Austin Runners Club Marathon Training groups.

Sandy used to live in Burnet, TX, just up 183 and over on 29 from Austin. She met Al Cumming when she was the Race Director for the Bluebonnet 5K in Burnet. They married and lived there for a while. It used to be a tradition to attend two local races and end up at Al and Sandy’s house in Burnet, for local barbecue and donuts “as big as your face”, or “breakfast, immediately followed by lunch”. Continue reading »

ARC Interview with Amber Wadey


Image courtesy Amber Wadey

Amber is brand new to ARC. She ran a little bit in her mid-20’s but was struggling to get through 2 miles when she signed up for the Marathon Relay with a bunch of friends in 2014. They were raising money for LIVESTRONG and one of the fundraising incentives that year was an entry into the Austin Half Marathon. Running a half marathon was NOT on her bucket list, but she figured she’d give it a try. She read every running book she could get her hands on and created a training plan. When she crossed that finish line in 2015, she figured if she could do it once, she could do it again (and again). So far, as of this writing, she has completed the 3M Half, the Alamo 13.1 and the Austin Half Marathon (twice).

Soon after finishing this year’s Austin Half, Amber saw the wrap-up infographic for the ARC Distance Challenge on Facebook. She typically would not have considered joining a group or registering for a series of races, but looking at the average age and pace, she realized immediate that the Distance Challenge was for her. She was the first person to sign up the day registration opened for the 2016/2017 Austin Runners Club Distance Challenge.

Continue reading »

2016 Board of Directors Elections

It’s that time of the year again–for ARC Members to weigh in on who they’d like to represent them on the Board of Directors. Read below for brief candidate bios, and start thinking about who you’d like to see on next year’s board. (You can descriptions of each Board Member role here.)

A few quick notes on the election rules:

  • Nominations can still be accepted throughout the month of April (email
  • In addition to the candidates listed below, members will also have the option to write-in their preferred candidates on the ballot.
  • Online elections will be held from Sunday April 17th through Monday, May 2nd.
  • There will be a chance to cast your ballot in-person on Monday, May 2nd at a special edition of our weekly Monday run, held at Ready to Run at 6:30PM.

Winners will be announced on social media and in our weekly member newsletter once they are determined.

Continue reading »

2015-2016 Distance Challenge Recap

How far did I just run? Who is running with me? How much pizza have I earned? These are questions that every runner struggles with from time to time. To help you along, we’ve put together this infographic about what our Distance Challenge participants have accomplished this season.

Thanks to all our awesome participants for making this a great running season and a great Distance Challenge!

distance challenge infographic

Top 10 Reasons to Run Decker

December 6th is the 37th annual Decker Challenge Half Marathon. Here are ten good reasons to sign up and get running!

  1. Dare the Distance: Decker is the third of six races of the Austin Distance Challenge. Net proceeds of the Distance Challenge will benefit The Trail Foundation.
  2. Parking: Who has time to worry about parking on race day? There’s plenty of room to park on the Expo Center grounds so you’re sure to get a spot.
  3. Whatever the Weather: We know you’re not fair-weather friends, but no matter what the weather is on race day, we’ve got you covered (and heated!). The Travis County Expo Center will be available to all runners and spectators both before and after the race. In fact, all of our post-race festivities are held inside.
  4. Gear Drop: Have you ever found yourself overdressed for a race? We’ve got a clothing drop at mile 2. You can toss your outer layers to us, and we’ll bring them back to the Expo Center for you to claim after the race. (Pro-Tip: We aren’t responsible for any lost items, so think twice before chucking your favorite jacket!)
  5. Post-Race Expo: After your race, check out the race expo inside the Expo Center. We’ll have vendors like Believe and Train, Aspire Beverages, and more!
  6. Post-Race Treatments: There’s nothing like getting pampered after a long run. We know this all too well, and so do our friends at Austin Sports Therapy who will be there with free treatments for all finishers!
  7. Free Beer: We say this from experience–there’s no better way to celebrate finishing a race than with a nice cold beer. That’s why we’re excited to announce Adelbert’s Brewery as our 2015 beer sponsor! Just head back inside the Expo Center after you finish–your free beer awaits.
  8. Free Race Photos: While we’re on the subject of great freebies, we don’t know a lot of people that buy race photos–even when they turn out great. That’s why we’re offering free race photos at Decker, courtesy of AzulOx Visuals. Photographers will be out on the course and at the finish area, so you can grab a few friends and let our professional photographers capture those post-race smiles. Of course, you are free to take all the selfies you like!
  9. Call Your Shot! There’s something inherently motivating about announcing a goal. New for 2015, we’re giving you the opportunity to Call Your Shot! In the days leading up to the race, we’ll email you a link where you can predict your finish time at Decker. The two male and female finishers that come closest to their called shot will win a free pair of New Balance running shoes! In case of a tie, the winner will be whoever runs the most even pace.
  10. Hills, Hills, Hills: Mention Decker Challenge to anyone and you’re sure to hear about the hills. We’re the toughest half marathon in Austin and proud of it! Get ready for rolling hills and prepare for the infamous climb at mile 10. After all, there’s nothing cool about bragging to your friends about doing something easy!

Register for Decker today and mark your calendar for December 6!

The Decker Challenge is presented by:
Rogue Running Logo

2015 Board of Directors Elections

Time for elections at Austin Runners Club! We’ve taken the election process online this year in order to reach more members. Below you can read candidate bios, then head over to our election survey to cast your vote. Winners will be announced at our annual spring party, as well as on our website and social media after the party is held.



Iram J. Leon

I’ve been lucky enough to have trained with ARC since my first marathon in 2010. Before that I had helped put together events for both sporting and non-athletic events.  Since then, I’ve volunteered for ARC and other organizations that help put on various running events from track meets to 5Ks to serving on Austin race director’s committee. I’ve been fortunate to make connections within the running community and believe I would be helpful in helping connect people and organizations to continue to make ARC the great organization that it is.



Elaine Chung

Hey it’s me, Elaine, your favorite improvising, engineering runner. I’ve been a member of the Austin Runners Club and the Ship since 2013, when I moved to Austin. I’ve volunteered at Decker and other ARC events over the past year and I’ve been really impressed by the work that our current board members do. I want to be ARC vice president because I want to lead the ARC in continuing to produce some of the best races and events in Austin. 



Heather Pagano

I ran my first half-marathon in 2011, and since it left me with a fractured left shin, I of course had to do it again. Since then, I’ve run 3 full marathons, including the 2015 Austin Marathon–my first year running with ARC’s training group Al’s Ship of Fools! Running with ARC breathed new life into my workout regimen, helped smash my PRs to pieces, and my only injury was a sprained wrist and a couple of scraped knees. In real life, I’m a Project Manager for a publishing company. Taking notes, keeping track of details, and helping things run smoothly is what I do for a living, and I’m excited for the opportunity to donate those skills to ARC as secretary.



Kate Gurfein

I have been running with ARC for three years.  Over this time, I’ve become more involved, made some great friends, and gotten much faster!  Serving on the board feels like a natural step in my growth with this group.  I would be grateful for the chance to volunteer and give back to ARC as its treasurer.  I’m a data scientist and math nerd, so numbers are really my thing. Please vote for me!


Member Services

Josh Matthys

I love running and haven’t let a childhood battle with guillain-barré syndrome or a ruptured Achilles as an adult stop me! ARC is the best running club in Austin and I will do all I can in my power to make that known to the greater Austin area, as well as work to provide even more benefits to members. I love spreadsheets, breakfast tacos, and the Texas Longhorns. Hook ’em!


Volunteer Coordinator

Shirley Allaway

I was a late bloomer when it comes to running, but I’ve been a member of the Austin Runners Club and Al’s Ship of Fools for the last several years. When not running around in circles, I work for the good state of Texas as a web developer. I’ve done my share of wrangling volunteers – from my community arts festival to the information desks at SXSW.


Information Services

Ryan Becerra

If elected to the position of Information Services for Austin Runners club, I intend to use technology to our advantage. I work as a Software Developer for The University of Texas at Austin and I feel that my experience from my day to day job will give us a unique opportunity to increase the engagement of our members via the ARC website. Whether it be year round leaderboards or more flexibility with the website, I feel that we can try some new approaches and make running even more social. I have completed 3 marathons and am scheduled for the Los Angeles Marathon and New York City Marathon in 2015. I currently run with the ARC group Ship of Fools.

Evan Powell

 Four years of running with ARC and Al’s Ship of Fools has taught me just how much we all depend on great volunteers for everything from hydration to coordination – and some of the hardest-working volunteers we have sit on the ARC board and coordinate two races and a series each year. It would be an honor and a privilege to be one of these people you depend on! As a software developer, I have the skills to make technology a transparent tool to accomplish our goals, and automate as much as possible so you can get back to what’s important – running!

Back on My Feet Austin- A Non-Profit Giving Hope on The Run

Austin is a city that thrives on collaboration, which in turn fuels its innovative spirit. As a non-profit, Austin Runners Club is honored to partner with several other organizations and businesses in our community to work toward our mission. Throughout the next few months we’ll be highlighting other great organizations that strive to promote fitness and wellness in the Austin community.

Continue reading »

Distance Challenge Training

Austin is a great city for many reasons- a plethora of parks and outdoor activities, live music on every corner, tacos, and an incredible running community. Our city loves running so much that you can practically count on being able to run some kind of race on any given weekend throughout the year. What makes Austin unique compared to other running cities? The Austin Distance Challenge and training groups that help you dare the distance. This series of 6 races lets hundreds of local runners test their mettle and maybe even win some medals along the way. It ain’t easy, but these training groups have programs designed to make the challenge less arduous and way fun.  Continue reading »