Team Statesman will race once again at the Zilker Relays on Sept. 11. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

The relay-running, brew-sipping, taco-gobbling kickoff to the fall running season is almost here.

The 13th edition of the Zilker Relays, a grassroots race with an old school feel, will unfold at Zilker Park on Sept. 11.

Paul Perrone dreamed up the event while drinking beer with buddies at the Mean-Eyed Cat. He wanted to create a short-distance, end-of-the-summer fling that the Austin running community would embrace. The rest is sweaty, beer- and taco-soaked history.

Teams of four compete at the Zilker Relays, set for Sept. 11.

“The goal was to make it a fun community event that anybody could participate in,” Perrone says. “They can run it really fast or walk the course.”

Teams of four will compete, with each runner making a single lap on the 2.5-mile course. Look for me. I’ll be out there again this year with the Austin American-Statesman team.

Perrone says he loves the race because it’s the first time the Austin running community gathers after a long, hot summer of training. You can find him among the crowd. Last year he ran on a team that included his two nephews, plus a kid in a hotdog costume.

If history holds, expect wacky weather. Last year’s races started out warm and muggy, then the deluge hit. Conditions changed for every leg of the race.

This year’s course is the same as last, but it will be run in reverse direction to make it easier logistically, Perrone says.

A portion of proceeds will benefit the Ghisallo Cycling Initiative and the Texas Cyclocross Project. Both organizations promote cycling as transportation and recreation among Austin’s youth.

The SpaceRockers will perform at the after party, which will feature food by Taco Deli.

To register or for more information, go here. Entry fee is $45 per person (increasing to $50 in coming weeks.)