AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Half Marathon is back and a couple of big wigs in Texas Longhorns athletics decided to give it a go.
Two Longhorn legends, Nate Boyer and Leo Manzano, competed in a quasi-race at Sunday’s half marathon.
Boyer is a former Longhorn football player and United States Army Green Beret. He also spent time in the NFL as a long-snapper for the Seattle Seahawks.
This is the second time in three months Boyer has ran a marathon of some sort. Back in February, the day before the winter storm, Boyer ran the full distance of the Austin Marathon by himself to raise money for Dell Children’s Medical Center.
Conditions were a little better on Sunday, and as difficult as it was, he’s glad he participated.
“I’m not going to say it was easier, but it was better. I pushed harder, Leo pushed me, but it was only half the distance and twice as good of weather, so it was a great experience today,” Boyer said.
Manzano felt the same way.
Manzano starred in track and field for the Longhorns from 2005-2008. In that time, he won five NCAA championships, 10 conference championships, and was an 11-time All-American.
He also participated in two Olympics, winning a silver medal in the 2012 Olympic games.
He retired from professional running, but decided that this event would be his first since retirement.
“I was feeling muscles and cramps that I hadn’t felt in a long time,” Manzano said. “It definitely hurt.”
Pain aside, Boyer and Manzano thought it was important to display a sense of normalcy after such a trying year for so many people.
“It definitely feels like we got our butts kicked by this thing but hey, we’ve got to kick back,” Manzano added. “It’s time to get back out there, we need to do it safely, but it’s time.”
“One of the coolest parts about today was just the people out supporting, you know? At the aid stations also, just Austinites that came out along the sidewalks to cheer us on,” Boyer said. “We ran at seven in the morning you know? And they were out there with us.”
Boyer also stressed the mental benefits from events like this. Even if you’re not a runner, he points to exercise as being crucial to handle stress and sadness.
“Part of being healthy is getting outside, getting exercise and supporting one another and just being good people, you know? That’s a commitment I made to myself this year, to be better myself and be a better neighbor, and that’s something that I felt today in Austin.”
Boyer plans on running the full 26.2 miles next year. Manzano, however, was a little more hesitant.
“It’s definitely a possibility,” Manzano said. “After today, and after cramping up that last 100 meters, I’m going to think about it twice though.”