Editor’s note: This article was originally published November 26, 2013
Need motivation to run fast?
If you set a personal record at the Austin Marathon or Half Marathon this year, you’ll be invited behind the red velvet ropes and stanchions at the finish line for a chance to bang the race’s new PR gong.
To test just how awesome that would be, I charged right over to the marathon offices, where race director John Conley handed me a gigantic wooden mallet and let me take a swing.
My arms are still vibrating.
That gong makes a deep, serious sound that reverberates (and reverberates and reverberates) like thunder in a canyon.
The Austin Marathon course is notoriously hilly. But Conley says he’s amazed by the number of people who have set PRs on it, despite the challenges. To let folks know, he spent about $1,000 to buy a gong as big as a truck tire, emblazoned with the words "Run Austin."
"We want to fill the air with noise!" he says.
Don’t worry if you’re not exactly sure if you PRed, either. The folks standing guard next to the gong won’t make you show proof.
And trust me when I tell you you’ll want to make it sing.