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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Half-marathon to bring cheers and community to San Marcos

James Jackson

Runners participate in a dance contest during an afterparty for the Scallywompus San Marcos Half Marathon, Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022, at the Tanger Outlets. 

Scallywompus, the organization behind one of the oldest half-marathons in Central Texas, will host the San Marcos Half Marathon on Feb. 5 at the Tanger Outlets. 
Bart Childers, the Scallywompus race director, started the organization in 2009 to help people out with other races. In 2011 he started the Alamo Beer Series, a set of four races that lasts from August to November, that leads up to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Antonio. It was then that Childers saw the crowds his races were attracting.
“Now it’s turned into that little small business you can’t get rid of,” Childers said. “It’s too big just to dump it, and it’s too small to do a whole lot with it.”
The San Marcos Half Marathon was originally called Moe’s Better Half Marathon for over 30 years until Moe Johnson, the previous race director, passed the torch to Scallywompus in the late 2010s. The half marathon follows the River Road Run on Jan. 7 in Comfort, Texas, as part of the Texas Hill Country Series, which consists of four races from January to April.
The Texas Hill Country Series came about when Childers was brainstorming ideas for races outside of San Antonio. According to him, adding a second race series would halt competitors from taking over their space and keep Scallywompus runners active year-round. They decided to keep the races within Central Texas.
Each race has a marked route on the website full of mostly flat terrain, with some uphill and downhill areas. There is an unofficial cutoff time of four hours, but Scallywompus waits for the last runner before ending the race. The San Marcos Half-marathon will start with the 13.1 race, followed by the 10K race at 8:15 a.m. and the 5K race at 8:35 a.m.
Lynette Gray, a co-owner of Best Waste Inc. in Seguin, Texas, has participated in the event since 2018 as a power walker and race walker. Best Waste Inc. has sponsored the half marathon as a bib sponsor since 2020 and as a director for other races, such as Paws for a Cause in Floresville in 2022. The experience, in turn, has helped her reach out to potential customers of her business.
“They got very excited [when I added my name to the race] because not a lot of runners have that connection, but I had that connection to be a sponsor and participate with them,” Gray said.
The San Marcos Half Marathon has also attracted people from outside the local area like Bob Marabella, a retired real estate broker from out of state.
Marabella has participated in races around San Antonio, but he said Scallywompus is different. Although he said he cannot run the distances he used to, he still shows up to half marathons to hand out packets to runners and run the shorter distance races. The race series has helped him explore more of Texas and appreciate the community.
“Having lived in Utah for 19 years and being an avid runner there, there never was a sense of community like there is here,” Marabella said. “I told my wife … ‘in three years, I’ve met and have more friends here in the running community than I ever had in Utah.'”
Family members and volunteers are also encouraged to participate if they don’t want to only watch the runners. Throughout the event, Scallywompus offers volunteer work for those wishing to help out, including assisting runners with packet pickup, handing out refreshments and ensuring runner safety.
“Volunteering is pretty easy, too,” Gray said. “It doesn’t involve a lot of manual labor or whiskey or anything. It’s kind of encouraging people and that kind of thing.”
All runners receive a medal unique to each race when they finish. Awards are given out to those who come in first to fourth place for all distances based on age categories.
After the awards ceremony, an optional afterparty will take place. Attendees can choose to bring out lawn chairs and relax, check out the vendors’ products or participate in a dance contest. Food and drinks such as Kiolbassa sausage and “Scallyjuice,” a mixture of fruit juice and the local distillery’s vodka, are provided by Scallywompus and other donors.
Several running communities participating in the event use this time to meet up with one another and enjoy the atmosphere.
“Many of us run the same races each week and we run into each other, and so that makes it, you know, fun,” Marabella said. “It’s kind of our one time a week or every other week that we run into a running community and interact that way.”
It’s also these communities helping Scallywompus get around to newer people. Maiya Huffman, a political sales specialist for a pharmaceutical company, came across it when a friend in her running group introduced it to her. She signed up for the 2021 Battle of Bankersmith race of the Alamo Beer Series not knowing what to expect, but the experience stood out to her.
“I realized you could sometimes do these races, and you get lost in the shuffle, but Scallywompus is a much more personal kind of organization of runners and very, you know, just all different levels can run it,” Huffman said. “Nobody has to feel like they’re getting left behind.”
Childers wants to convince people to attend for the experience that a Scallywompus race gives its community. He believes the people, refreshments and music will draw them in even if they’re waiting for it to end.
“We have an emcee who’s telling them all kinds of stuff, and they’ve kind of forgotten about all their troubles,” Childers said. “Our goal is for them to kind of go, ‘that was an experience; that was kind of cool,’ and they don’t really understand how.”
To learn more about the San Marcos Half Marathon and other Scallywompus races, visit http://www.scallywompus.com/.

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  • Bart Childers (left) and Anthony Vigil (right) celebrate a successful race after the Scallywompus San Marcos Half Marathon, Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022, at the TangerOutlets. 

    James Jackson

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