Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Grumpy goose stalks runners on trail around Lady Bird Lake

Austin man starts 2,000-mile run from Boston to Austin

Pam LeBlanc
pleblanc@statesman.com
In you encounter a big white goose on the Lady Bird Lake hike-and-bike trail near the Hyatt Regency, don't take too close a gander.

The big white goose that stalks people on the hike-and-bike trail near the Hyatt Regency has my number.

It stands in the middle of the trail below the hotel, glaring at passersby and making scary squawky noises.

A few times a week, I have to wait politely for it stroll away as I commute to work by bike. It looks like it wants a beak full of calf muscle, and I don't feel like explaining the attack to paramedics.

I'm not the only person that bird has it out for.

Brian Gannon says he was running from Barton Springs Pool to Congress Avenue with five other runners one morning when the goose got cranky.

"I slowed down when it looked at me funny and then started to charge," he says. "Four of the runners went really fast near it and passed unharmed. I had to jump onto the grassy flower area near the Hyatt to run around it."

He waited, then sprinted past as the goose charged again. Gannon — and the last runner in the group — was unharmed.

At least physically. Emotionally, he still suffers.

"I feared for my vital organs," he says.

That's cross country

An Austin man who is running from Boston to Austin is nearing New York City, the first major stop on his 2,000-mile adventure.

Rusty Tolliver, 24, and two British friends from Wales, started their journey on Sept. 15. They plan to run about 30 miles a day until they reach Austin sometime in late November.

The run is a fundraiser for four charities — Young Texans Against Cancer, Help for Heroes, the British Heart Foundation and Salute America's Heroes.

Tolliver, along with brothers Rhys and Scott Jenkins, expect to reach New York City later this week. From there, they'll cut a swath southwest through the country, working up one heck of an appetite in time for Thanksgiving.

Tolliver is taking a semester off from school to do the run.

He met the Jenkins brothers while the three worked as camp counselors in the Poconos in 2005. They wanted to do something beyond just running a 5K for charity.

The obvious answer? Run halfway across the country.

Tolliver chose Young Texans Against Cancer as one of the beneficiaries of the run because his mother is a two-time cancer survivor. "She kept it from us as long as she could, until she needed our help when chemo and radiation took a toll on her," he says.

A high school track and cross country athlete from Bastrop, he says he's had no problem getting used to running long distances. To prepare, he regularly ran 10.5 miles from his home in Leander to his classes at the Cypress Creek campus of Austin Community College and back.

"Now I'm just trying to keep the miles on at an easier pace," he said a few days before he started the run.

Links to the charities benefiting from the run are on the Boston to Austin Run website at www.2000milerun.com. Readers can also follow the runners' progress through a blog at the same site.

Trek Tri moves west

The Trek Women Triathlon moves this year to Pace Bend Park in Spicewood.

If you did the Danskin Women's Triathlon back in the early days, you know the venue. It's perfect for a smallish triathlon, with easy access into Lake Travis, a gently rolling bike course and a closed running course.

"I'm thrilled," says race director Jon Hill. "It's just a beautiful venue, it's true Hill Country."

The Trek Women Triathlon is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Oct. 3. The sprint distance race consists of a half-mile swim, 12-mile bike and 5K run. About 800 women are expected to participate.

Worried that you'll be the last person to finish? Don't.

Sally Edwards, former professional triathlete, takes on that role, leaving you to have a good time.

"This is an event that encourages people to go beyond what they think they can do," Hill says.

Dormitory-style overnight housing is available on-site at the Highland Lakes Camp.

Entry fee is $85 (plus USA Triathlon $10 membership fee) per person or $160 for a relay team. Register online at trekwomenstriathlonseries.com.

More places to cycle

If you're looking for wide-open spaces to pedal your bicycle, two great opportunities are coming up in West Texas.

The inaugural Marfa 100, benefiting Marfa Public Radio and the Livestrong Foundation, takes place Sept. 25.

Cyclists will start in downtown Marfa, heading south on RM 2810 to a turnaround point 30 miles out. Then they'll pedal back, in time for a weekend music festival at El Cosmico, the Liz Lambert trailer/teepee/music venue/funky artist enclave.

Registration for the 62-mile (that's 100 kilometers for you metric system folks) ride is $100 per person, and includes the fully supported bike ride, a T-shirt and entry to El Cosmico's Trans Pecos Festival of Music and Love.

For more information and to register, go to www.marfa100.org.

Want to cycle a wee bit farther?

The Food Pantry of Jeff Davis County is reprising its fundraiser, Wheels for Meals.

Cyclists will pedal 88 miles from Fort Davis to Valentine and back on Saturday, Oct. 2.

Entry fee for the fully supported ride is $50 and participants are required to raise a minimum of $250 in donations for the food pantry. To register go to www.foodpantry-jdc.org.

Last year's first-time event was the most successful fundraiser in the nonprofit's history, raising nearly $15,000 toward feeding families in Fort Davis, Valentine and the surrounding area.

pleblanc@statesman.com; 445-3994