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A virtual 10K? Been there, done that for Austin's Meg Hare, who ran the 2020 Boston Marathon

Brom Hoban
American-Statesman Correspondent

Meg Hare, an accomplished runner and Boston Marathon qualifier, takes her Statesman Capitol 10,000 races seriously.

She's not about to let a change in race format put a damper on her annual running rite of spring. And she's making sure friends and co-workers join her in the festivities.

Like all registered Cap 10K runners, Hare will be participating virtually this year —running a course of her own choosing any time between Sunday and April 30. Race organizers have mapped out 10 featured 10K courses starting and finishing at local coffeehouses, ranging from as far north as Pflugerville to as far south as Menchaca Road.

Hare, a senior manager and sales director at Accenture, has put together a team of co-workers and will run the Lake Effect Glow 10K course with a start and finish line at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters on Lake Austin Boulevard. Of the 10 featured routes, the Lake Effect Glow course is the most central and includes a section on Enfield Road.

Austin runner Meg Hare ran the 2020 Boston Marathon virtually by running the Marathon2Marathon course in West Texas. The Boston race was postponed from last April to September and ultimately was run virtually.

Capitol race goes digital due to COVID-19

Runners familiar with the actual Capitol 10,000 course will note that the original course also runs along Enfield for a good stretch. However, the Lake Effect Glow course covers a long piece of Exposition Boulevard before hitting a very hilly section on Pecos Street and Scenic Drive.

“I think the Mozart course is an Austin classic. It incorporates routes from many different races that have taken place throughout the years,” said Hare, who has a 10K best time of 39 minutes, 44 seconds.

Hare is serving as team captain and has about 30 co-workers signed up to run the virtual race April 17. Some are just beginners, and others, like Hare, are serious runners.

“The ‘starting gun’ goes off at 7:30,” Hare said. “Depending on how many people show up, we may start in a couple waves.”

Having the option of courses makes it a more runner-friendly race, said Michael Przytula, the Austin Accenture Health and Wellness lead.

Pandemic still impacting marathons

“I’m primarily a cyclist, but I’m definitely looking forward to running it," Przytula said. "I just think that the ability to get outside and be active and see people in the city is going to be really mentally healthy. It’s an opportune time to clear out minds and get a mental reset as well as a physical one.”

Hare agreed. “I think we all are really desperate for human social contact,” she said. "We’ve all been working remotely and working long hours. So getting out and having an active event and interacting with people is just so important right now."

The annual sight of downtown's Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge filled with thousands of runners (here, an estimated 20,000 in the 2017 race) for the Statesman Capitol 10,000 will be missing this year. This year's race will be run virtually; runners have 10 pre-mapped courses to choose from.

More:American-Statesman's 44th Cap10K will be virtual instead of in-person

Hare is no stranger to virtual events. When the 2020 Boston Marathon last April was postponed, then rescheduled for September, then run virtually, she didn't let that stop her from celebrating the event. Hare, a 3-hour, 8-minute marathoner, headed out to the West Texas town of Marathon and ran the Marathon2Marathon course along with Austin's Mac Allen and Chris Neugebauer. She even arranged for family and friends to work at aid stations along the course.

This year Boston has again postponed its April race but plans to feature a live race in October. In preparation, Hare has been following an aggressive training schedule, running 50 to 60 miles a week.

“I’m excited about running Boston live and the prospect of live races in general," she said. "You can bet I’ll be running the 45th Capitol 10,000 live along with my team.”