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Texas Big Star Half Marathon and 5K Benefits Local Non-Profits

All photos are courtesy of the Texas Big Star Half Marathon and 5K.

Runners get ready! The Texas Big Star Half Marathon and 5K will be back for its third year on Saturday, April 14th. The race will have its start and finish at the Collin College Preston Ridge Campus again this year. In addition to the Half and 5K, the event is launching a 1 mile fun run/walk this year.

Curious to learn a little more about Frisco’s only endurance race, I recently spoke to the Race Director, Paul Simon. Paul tells me Texas Big Star got its start after his wife, Julie, participated in Leadership Frisco through the Frisco Chamber of Commerce. When the program ended, Julie and several of her classmates were motivated to continue working together to make an impact on their city.

The group formed North Texas Community Giving Foundation to support local nonprofit organizations working to better the community.

Being an avid runner and triathlete herself, Julie recognized a void in Frisco. While we have a very active community, as evidenced by the number of runners and cyclists up and down our streets any given day, Frisco had no endurance events to call its own. So Texas Big Star was born! The inaugural race took place in April of 2016 and quickly became the foundation’s primary fundraising vehicle.

The event was a success from the start, allowing North Texas Community Giving Foundation to award over $150,000 in grants to local non-profits in just the first two years of the race. In the first year, the half marathon attracted 1750 runners. That number grew to 2000 in the second year and this year organizers expect 2500 runners. In just three short years, this race has grown to one of the largest half marathons in North Texas.

I asked Paul what he thought was the secret to their success.

It’s the people behind the scenes that take pride in doing something for their community,” said Paul. “We’re also very responsive. With most other races, if you submit a question, you’re going to get an automated response directing you to the race website. With our event, you will get a personal response. We want this to be a runner’s race!”

And the runners agree! Since I haven’t yet run this race (though I plan to this year!), I reached out to the local running community to see what their thoughts were on Texas Big Star. Wim Schalken tells me,

With a wonderful team of volunteers, nice flat course and great entertainment at the finish, this event easily matches up with any of the other half marathons around,” said Wim. “At the core of the Texas Big Star are people who are runners, who care about running and runners, and that shows in the way the whole event is put together.

And Sarah Rehwald loved the local feel of the race.

My husband and I often travel to races in other states,” she said. “This was a fun opportunity to enjoy running with our neighbors.” 

I was excited to be able to connect with last year’s winner of the Women’s Half, Dawn Grunnagle. I asked her for thoughts on how this race stood out from other events she has been a part of. According to Dawn,

Texas Big Star has the friendliest staff and volunteers with high energy and an atmosphere to run fast! I enjoyed hanging out after the race in a family friendly setting where you could relax and enjoy the morning after a hard effort.”

She also said it meant a great deal to her to win in a race that supports the North Texas community, saying,

It’s nice to see a race that gives back to the neighborhoods it surrounds.”

Registration Info for the Texas Big Star Marathon and 5K

Registration for the half is $85, while the 5k is $40 and the 1 mile fun run is $20. Register soon before the price goes up a bit on April 1st! All of the details about packet pick up, course maps, start times, and more can be found on the Texas Big Star website.

And if you’re not quite up to participating in the run right now, but still want to be a part of this great community event, check out the volunteer section of the website. It takes a team of about 200-250 volunteers to make this event run smoothly. There are a lot of different volunteer jobs available from staffing packet pick up to assisting at the Finisher’s Fest.

And I hear from friends who have volunteered that it’s a great experience. Jana Purcell tells me,

Volunteering was so much fun. Everyone pitched in and cheered for the finishers. It was a great experience and I cannot wait to do it again!”

Plus, volunteers will receive a discount code to use on next year’s race registration!

Whether you decide to run or volunteer, I look forward to seeing you at the starting line…well, actually towards the back of the corral…I’m rather slow!

2017 Women’s Half Winner Dawn Grunnagle’s Tips for Preparing for the Race

First: Smile.  It makes everything more fun.

Second: Hydration the entire week before a half is important too. My favorite go-to electrolytes are the UCAN HYDRATE Lemon flavor.  I drink a scoop of that mixed with water twice a day.

Third: Believe in yourself and have a positive attitude going into any race whether it’s a one mile, 5K, or a half marathon. You can do it!