Livestrong marathon raises cancer awareness

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Fanny Trang

Nursing/Pre-Med senior Allison Mendez, who is also part of the UT Track and Field, celebrates her half marathon win at the finish line of the 21st annual Austin Livestrong Marathon and Half Marathon. Mendez completed the race i

Reihaneh Hajibeigi

Runners from the community came together Sunday to race for cancer research awareness in the annual Livestrong Austin Marathon and Half Marathon.

Livestrong Austin spokesman Jeff Hahn said this year about 12,500 people registered for the half marathon and 5,500 people registered for the full, 26 mile marathon.

This year's full marathon male winner was Edward Kiptum with a time of two hours and 22 minutes and the female winner was Shannon Bixler with a time of three hours and two minutes. The half marathon male winner was Siyabonga Nkonde with a time of one hour and four minutes and the female winner was Allison Mendez, who came in at an hour and 18 minutes.

Hahn said the key is making the community mindful of the efforts surrounding cancer research and participation in the marathon continues to grow after 21 years.

While Hahn said he believes awareness is the number one priority of the marathon, raising financial support is also crucial.

According to Hahn, total fundraising through donations, sponsorships and registration payments is expected to reach up to $50,000.

Each one-mile stretch was sponsored by a participating organization as part of the “26 Miles for 26 Charities” program, providing water and resting areas for runners.

Members of the Boys & Girls Club of Austin set up tables and prepared thousands of water cups for runners during their last leg.

“This is the Boys & Girls Club's second year participating,” said Boys & Girls Club volunteer coordinator Lindsey Wolf. “Even though it was a little hectic, we had a blast and were thrilled to take part again.”

Aside from the Boys & Girls Club, the UT Butler School of Music, Seton Southwest Hospital and 23 other local organizations were represented throughout the race that began and finished downtown.

Government junior Marc Hamlin said participating in his first Livestrong full marathon provided him a challenge he desired, as well as an opportunity to work towards a good cause.

“I started out as an individual fundraiser for my father who just finished prostate proton therapy,” Hamlin said. “While training with a friend of mine we found out his father was also diagnosed with prostate cancer and we chose to run together as Team Bruce since our fathers share the same name.”