Students and faculty took part in the annual 3M Half Marathon on Sunday, where participants ran a 13.1-mile course through Austin and the UT campus as people cheered them on from the sidelines, playing instruments and holding up signs.
The course ran from North to South Austin and cut through the University on Speedway and University Avenue. The race finished at the Texas Capitol.
Cameron Nguyen, a management information systems junior, said the race was part of his goal to complete multiple distance races during college.
“It’s kind of crazy to pay to hate yourself for a couple miles,” Nguyen said. “I know in college a lot of people lose their physical activity and just kind of let themselves go a little bit, so I wanted to keep that up.”
William Dyson, 3M Half Marathon communications manager, said one goal of the half marathon was to incorporate more of Austin by inviting local businesses to participate and encouraging the community to cheer on runners.
“If (people) are not going to run or volunteer, (they can) come out and spectate and cheer,” Dyson said. “It’s really trying to be … as inclusive as possible while also just making this essentially (an) experience. … We want the whole experience to be truly memorable for every participant.”
Dyson said the half marathon drew over 7,000 runners from 47 states and 20 countries. He said some of the elite runners will participate in the United States Olympic Team Marathon Trials in Atlanta. UT alumna Jessica Harper won the women’s category of the half marathon for the third consecutive year while David Fuentes, an Olympic marathon trials qualifier, won first.
“Those individuals are going to be using this race as essentially their final tuneup,” Dyson said.
Biochemistry freshman Mia Lee said she enjoyed running through the Shoal Creek area because of the high-energy crowd surrounding the course.
“There’s a lot of people there, and they are really supportive,” Lee said. “It’s generally a really encouraging place to run through when you’re halfway through and you’re kind of dying. There’s always someone with a funny sign like, ‘You paid for this race, you’ve got to finish it now.’”
Lee said although there were over 7,000 people competing, everyone was supportive.
“Whenever someone says, ‘Oh, I can’t,’ there’s always someone next to them that says, ‘No, no you can,’” Lee said. “Everyone is kind of suffering together.”