Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Bernard Manirakiza starts Speedy Demons running group

Pam LeBlanc

Editor’s note: This article was originally published January 9, 2014

Make way for the Speedy Demons.

A new running group, led by fleet-footed Bernard Manirakiza, will focus on training for manageable - not marathon - distances and staying injury free along the way.

Manirakiza, a native of Burundi and the cousin of another popular Austin running coach, Gilbert Tuhabonye, especially wants to work with people who want to lose weight, adopt an active lifestyle or get back to running after an injury.

The group will train mainly for 5K, 10K and half marathon distances, says Manirakiza. Beginners are welcome.

“It’s certainly an admirable feat to run 26.2 miles, but it’s not for everyone,” Manirakiza says.

Manirakiza ran at Abilene Christian University, where he was an eight-time NCAA champion specializing in the 800 meters and 1,500 meters. He moved to Austin in 2005. He’s a past winner of the Run for the Water, a race organized by Tuhabonye that helps fund clean water systems in Burundi.

Manirakiza says the group, based at 1379 Sports at 2727 Exposition Boulevard, will be low key and non-intimidating. “People say I’m smiling all the time. I make it fun,” he says.

The group will meet twice during the week and for a long run each Saturday. There’s even a separate program for kids age 7 and up. Depending on the day’s goals, runners will meet either at the store or at Austin High School. Cost is $80 a month. For schedule information, go to