One of the most historic race events in Austin, the Statesman Capitol 10K has been around since the ‘70s, but many newbies in Austin are just now hearing about it.
AFM got the chance to speak with race director Jeff Simecek about this race and how it’s impacted the city over time.
Jeff Simecek: I’ve been the race director of the Cap10K since 2016. I was previously working in the marketing division, and the publisher asked if I’d be interested in the role. I remember responding, “Sure, how difficult can that be? I’m a runner,” and then realizing two minutes later that the position is more about event production. It’s great fun to “plan a race and after party” for thousands of people; it’s all in the details. And I do run, by the way.
JS: The Cap10K got its start in 1978 when the marketing team at the Statesman was tasked with creating a local running race. The first year, 3,000 runners showed up and ran along the hike-and-bike trail as part of the course. Ben Sargent, the Statesman editorial cartoonist at the time, created an armadillo as the mascot, and “Dash the Dillo” is still featured prominently on our race shirts; it’s iconic and a part of Austin.
JS: The most notable part of the race is how large of an event it’s become. Pre-pandemic, our registration totals surpassed 20,000, and we’re working to return to those numbers. We were pleased to have more than 15,000 runners join us for our 45th this past April, and I’m particularly proud to have the distinction of the Cap10K being the largest 10K in Texas and the 6th largest in the U.S.
The race has also evolved in terms of registration, quality race shirts, a finisher’s medal, expo, production, you name it. The entire team is very focused on a fantastic customer-centric experience. I want each participant, sponsor and race partner to feel like the training, time and money spent was more than well worth it.
JS: The Cap10K is all about local. We strive to provide a true, unique Austin experience. As a heritage event, we certainly want to respect the tradition of the race, but as Austin grows and changes, we’ve been great at making sure we move forward, too. If you’ve run the race before, you’re part of the Cap10K family. And if you’ve never joined us or are new to Central Texas, we welcome you to start a new tradition for yourself or with family and friends.
JS: Aside from making sure everyone has a safe and fun experience, we’re helping create a healthier Central Texas. Baylor Scott & White Health is our returning 2023 Presenting Sponsor, and we couldn’t be prouder to have this leader in healthcare as a part of our event.
Another benefit for me is all the good we do in the community by having a local beneficiary. In 2022, we raised more than $60,000 for the Mike & Sherry Project. Founded in 2019 and in partnership with Capital Area Counseling, the nonprofit organization helps employees in the hospitality industry connect with high-quality mental health services on a sliding scale and bridges the gap for those unable to pay the fee. It’s important to be good stewards in the community, as a family taking care of each other.
JS: The Cap10K is a race for every BODY — anyone can do it. Whether you run the Cap10K to win, have a personal record or just cross the finish line, we’re there to support you and cheer you on the entire way. We offer free Saturday training and social runs to help you prepare and stay motivated. We’re as proud of the last person to cross the finish line as the first. So, whether you choose to run, jog or walk, we want you at the 46th Cap10K. I’m also particularly proud of the 27 runners who have signed up for each race since 1978; they are a truly remarkable group of people, and they love the event
JS: Registration is currently open. Just visit Cap10K.com and click on the registration link. Prices increase monthly as we get closer to the race, so register early to save money. During the registration process, you’ll have the opportunity to donate extra funds to the beneficiary. In 2023, we’re keeping the Mike & Sherry Project as the race beneficiary as more funds will help the organization grow by leaps and bounds.
JS: Your Cap10K team works hard all year long to make sure your race experience is great. Our motto is, “Let’s give it 300% and make it as memorable as possible… If only 100%, why bother?”
Runners, walkers and joggers are welcome to register for the upcoming 46th annual Cap10K in 2023 on Sunday, April 16.