Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
The Texas Half Marathon moved to Irving this year after outgrowing its location at White Rock Lake in Dallas. The Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas, welcomed the event to the city on Feb. 3, drawing more than 1,000 runners in both the 5K and half marathon races.
“The Texas Half got too big for White Rock Lake,” said Mallory Jones-Fiske, race director and operations manager. “We were hearing complaints from the local businesses and the homeowners. “The trail around the lake is also open to the public, so we had no way of controlling the cyclists and other runners that might be along the same paths as our event.”
The White Rock race usually draws about 1,200 runners. In 2012, the race paired with a challenge program and brought in 1,600 people, Jones-Fiske said. At the White Rock Lake location, racers sometimes had to avoid cyclists and walkers in the public park.
For the 11th edition of the event, the Irving race featured a flat, fast course and the half marathon only boasted 12 turns throughout the 13.1 mile course.
“Irving is very helpful and has beautiful roads, neighborhoods and trails,” Jones-Fiske said. “It makes it very easy to create a winning event in town.”
“I had an amazing experience,” said Carla Leyva, who ran the 5K race. “The location was perfect. It was clean and big enough to host all runners without feeling too crowded. It also helped that the waiting area was indoors, because it was pretty chilly outside. Two thumbs up for garage parking, because it was easy to find and near the main event.
“It was also very well organized,” she added. “The organizers, volunteers and police officers were on point and nice throughout the race. I did not run the half-marathon but after that day, I'm considering doing the half next year.”
For Marsha Escobar, the half marathon course was one of her favorites she’s competed in.
“I really enjoyed the new course and is probably one of the most enjoyable halves I've participated in,” Marsha Escobar said. “The course was scenic, beautiful and clean. Great turn out. My friends and I were saying that this was probably the most enjoyable courses we've run.
“I'll probably do The Texas Half every year if they keep the course beautiful, flat and clean.”
Escobar finished the 13.1 mile race in 1 hour and 52 minutes.
In the Half Marathon event, Kevin Lyons, a 27-year-old finished first overall with a time of 1 hour and 13 minutes. Annette Fuhr, a 52-year-old, was the first female to cross the finish line with a time of 1 hour and 29 minutes.