Decker Challenge Half Marathon
15 December 2019
Come join us in December at for the annual running of this classic Austin race around beautiful Decker Lake in east Austin. Each registrant receives a technical race shirt and each finisher receives a highly-coveted Decker Challenge finisher’s medal!Organized and run by Texas’s Austin Runners Club, the Decker Challenge Half Marathon makes its annual running this year, along an out-and-back loop course that takes runners on a hilly route through the South Texas countryside, from the start and finish line areas at the Travis County Expo Center all the way around Decker Lake and back.The Decker Challenge is the third race of five races in the Austin Runners Club’s Distance Challenge. Net proceeds from the Distance Challenge will benefit The Trail Foundation.
From the Expo Center, runners head out along Decker Lake Road for a brief stretch and then onto Decker Lane, where they make a sharp right turn and head northeast along the road.During the first mile, runners hit a few small hills and then begin to hit the rolling hills of the race’s early stretch along Decker Lane, as well as strong winds that often blow along this stretch of the course. And while the hills in this part of the race are relatively long, they are also gradual and not too taxing.As runners make their way from the mile 3 to the mile 4 marker, they make the turn from Decker Lane onto Lindell Lane, the scenery changes from the wide-open highway feel of Decker Lane to more tree-lined and scenic stretches along Lindell — also, thankfully for the runners, the winds typically die down by the time you reach this point in the race.The hills keep coming along Lindell, sometimes steeper and more challenging than in the early going, and as runners approach roughly the half-way point in the race, they reach the hill known as Blue Bluff, the course’s first significantly challenging hill.Taking the long hill over the mile 6 marker, runners continue on along Bloor Road to the turn onto State Highway 130, as the course levels off for a stretch to give runners a breather. After the halfway point in the race, the course resumes its rolling hills, with both long and gradual uphill and downhill stretches. The turn onto the frontage road along 130 also brings some challenging hills that past participants say will test your race preparation thoroughly.The final few miles of the race include perhaps the most difficult stretch of the course, as runners hit the most daunting (and long) hill in the race around the mile 10 marker.While many participants, by this point in the race, decide to throw up their hands in defeat and simply walk up the hill rather than run it, many others decide to attack it and say it’s a satisfying final challenge of this hilly race.
Run on paved surfaces throughout the course, the race features views of the scenic lake for virtually the entire way around, and finishes back at the expo center starting area.
FREE parking will be available for all participants, volunteers, and spectators of both the Decker Challenge and the Brown Santa 5k at the Expo Center grounds. The parking lot is close to both the Start/Finish line and the Banquet Hall. Enter the grounds through the main entrance off Decker Lane and follow parking volunteers’ directions.
We’re proud to offer a clothing drop at mile 2, right by the water station. You can toss your outer layers to us, and we’ll bring them back to the Expo Center for you to claim after the race. (Pro-Tip: We aren’t responsible for any lost items, so be sure to put your name on your gloves, and think twice before chucking your favorite jacket!)
We are a USATF-certified half marathon course with mile markers at every mile. We will have six water and sports drink stops along the course, approximately every two miles.
We will be presenting awards to top 3 male and female finishers in the following categories: Overall, Masters, and Age Group (19 and under, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70+).
Decker is a chip-timed race. Each finisher will see two times in their results–clock time and chip time. Clock time is the time between when the race officially starts and when you cross the finish line. Chip time is the time between when you cross the starting line and when you cross the finish line. Since many runners don’t cross the starting line until a short while after the official start, your chip time is a better measure of the time you took to complete the course. Overall award winners (top three) will be decided by gun time and age group winners (including masters) will be decided by chip time.
The Decker Challenge has a course limit of 4 hours (a pace of 18:18/mile). At noon, the roads will reopen to traffic, and participants still on the course will not receive an official finish time.