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Zilker Relays set for Sept. 5

Pam LeBlanc
pleblanc@statesman.com

Editor’s note: This article was originally published August 18, 2014

The unofficial kick-off of the fall racing season moves back a week this year, runners.

The Zilker Relays, a four-person, 10-mile-ish relay staged at Zilker Park, typically takes place the Friday of Labor Day weekend. To avoid conflicts with other events and end-of-summer vacation plans this year, organizers moved the race back a week to Sept. 5.

It’s a fantastic home-grown event with live music and a home-grown vibe.

Each runner blasts out (or leisurely strolls) 2.5 miles on roads in and around beloved Zilker Park. This year the transition area moves to Lou Neff Road, on the north side of Barton Springs Road. The race kicks off at 6 p.m. and the party - complete with refreshments from Tacodeli and Hops & Grain - continues until about 10 p.m. There’s a kids relay, too.

Entry fee is $45 or $50 a person, depending on how soon you register.

Paul Perrone founded the race in 2002 with the help of a few friends and a desire to create something unique for the Austin running community.

“I have always been a big fan of relay events,” Perrone says. “With Zilker Park we have the ideal location for a fun festival that ties into a community and team-focused event.”

Organizers had planned to take the race national in 2014, but that effort fizzled, Perrone said. They haven’t dropped the idea of expanding, but have decided to focus on the Austin event for now. In the meantime, the race garnered a mention in “Runner’s Bucket List: 200 Races To Do Before You Die.”

Beneficiaries of the 2014 relays are Marathon High, which promotes balanced healthy lifestyles for young adults through running, and Explore Austin, an outdoor adventure program for underserved youth in grades six to 12.

For more information on the Zilker Relays, go to wwwzilkerrelays.com.