Editor’s note: This article was originally published July 22, 2013
After 10 years, the Sunstroke Summer Stampede Series is hanging up its running shoes.
That means you’ve got just three more chances to race in the weekly series, staged at 7 p.m. Wednesday nights at Brushy Creek Regional Trail in Williamson County. The final races are scheduled for July 24, July 31 and Aug. 7.
You can be sure that Leslie Barclay will be there. She’s run every Summer Stampede race to date - that’s a grand total of 117 so far, if you’re keeping count - and she’s planning to finish out the last three, too.
"I started doing them just like anybody else the first year and it got out of control," says Barclay, 45. "They’re just fun, casual runs."
Frank Livaudais, 38, vice president of engineering at OutboundEngine Inc., started the series of 5K races on a whim in 2004. Runners loved it, using it as part of their weekly training from late May until early August.
In past years, the races alternated between the trail around Lady Bird Lake and the trail at Brushy Creek, with runners forking over just $10 to line up at the start. A portion of proceeds benefits the Cedar Park Public Library.
Because of permitting issues this year, all the races moved to Brushy Creek. Attendance has hovered between 100 and 120 runners, although it dropped off a bit when the series moved full time to Williamson County.
The race has never been canceled, although once it was rescheduled due to weather. Last week’s storms almost wreaked havoc, but organizers squeezed in the event between showers.
A sense of camaraderie developed among participants, who tended to wait around to cheer on those who finished after them.
"We’ve had everybody from as young as 6 years old to a 78-year-old woman," Livaudais says. "We’ll have kids run it in 15 minutes and people who take 48 minutes. I always wanted it to be low key and low cost, but well run and chip timed."
Livaudais says he feels equal parts relief and disappointment at ending the series. Barclay, who usually places in her age group, says she’s not planning to sign up for another series just yet.
"It’s a lot of fun and that’s why I do it. But OK, 10 years is a lot of time," she says. "It’s time has come."
Livaudais, who has 153 marathon (or longer) races under his belt, agrees. "We’ll let Leslie get her summer Wednesdays back for the first time in a long time."
While the Summer Stampede is ending, Livaudais isn’t getting entirely out of the race business just yet. In October, he’ll stage the fifth annual Frankenthon Monster Marathon (www.frankenthon.com) in Williamson County.
Corrects spelling of Leslie Barclay’s last name.