breaking news

GREG KELLEY CASE: Texas Ranger affidavit contradicts Kelley statements

Austin 10/20 ready to race into the sunset

Longtime road race director Peter Douglass embraces the adage of “go big or go home,” an approach that helped him create such high-profile running events as the popular Rock ’n’ Roll marathon series.

Five years ago, Douglass, a transplanted Austinite, went big with his unveiling of the Austin 10/20 — a 10-mile race that wound through the Domain in North Austin and included 20 bands along the course. Along with the music, there was a $23,000 prize purse, with both the men’s and women’s overall champions receiving $5,000. Overall, race organizers said, about 9,000 runners competed at the inaugural event.

Come Sunday, though, the Austin 10/20 will go home, ceasing after its sixth and final race.

“We’ve had a good run, really,” Douglass said. “We haven’t made much money, but we’ve had a great piece of Austin culture and made tons of money for charities. There’s a lot of good will that comes out of the race.”

In general, road racing appears to be trending downward across the country. The number of races might be growing slightly, but the number of runners entering them keeps dropping. With upward of 150 road races a year in Austin, the market appears to be oversaturated.

“It’s so challenging to do something in Austin now,” said Raul Najera, owner of RunFar, an Austin-based race timing company. “With the 10/20, the Domain has grown so much that it’s become much harder to stage a race there. There’s no question that the venue became a growing concern with the event.”

Douglass said many factors led to his decision to end the race, which will have about 4,000 entrants this year.

Along with a decline in sponsorships and the need for additional, more expensive permits, Douglass said, race organizers faced “mounting uncertainty each year that we will be granted permission by the many ‘stakeholders’ who have to weigh in before we can move forward with confidence. The Domain used to support us strongly early on, but that situation has changed.

“The Domain basically outgrew us.”

As an assistant association manager for Endeavor Real Estate Group, Donovan Rogers helps oversee event management at the Domain, which opened its first phase in 2007.

“Due to the growth that we’ve had and the opening of more sites, we’ve had to start charging for the events to cover our costs,” Rogers said. “We hold about five or six events a year and now charge for all of those. So the 10/20 lost their sponsorship from the Domain through that (change). That’s really the only support they lost from the Domain. We prep the whole site. We have landscapers go through … there are street closures. We have to basically shut down a little city to have an event.

“We’re sorry to see them go and would welcome them back if we could work out some kind of deal. They were one of our biggest events.”

Douglass owns Turnkey Operations, a traffic control company that provides barricades for road closures, but the savings he gains from not having to pay out of pocket for that service is not enough to continue staging a high-quality event like the 10/20, he said.

“Putting on a race for 4,000 people should not be hard for us; I’ve done events with 20,000 to 30,000 people,” he said. “But it’s getting too hard to do in Austin. You can’t break even with just runners’ entry fees. You need more support than that. We’ve struggled to maintain sponsors. Sponsorships have dwindled each year.

“The level of our production is extensive. It costs us around $20,000 to take care of all the bands, including this year’s headliner, Alpha Rev, at the finish.”

Still, more than $5,000 in prize money will be on the line Sunday, when an elite field — including a strong contingent of Kenyan runners — will compete.

“I’d rather put on a big, exciting event than just another road race,” Douglass said. “I still believe you can make money doing things in a big way. It’s possible we may relocate the race in a city other than Austin, or we may create a different race, but this is it for the Austin 10/20.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

WATCH: Snoop Dogg rocks the new Texas A&M jersey

Will we see Snoop Dogg whooping it up with the 12th Man soon? It could happen after the legendary rapper posted a video of him rocking the new Texas A&M football jerseys that were released by Adidas on Thursday. Why Snoop is celebrating the jersey or his connection to Texas A&M is unclear, but this can’t do anything...
LOOK: Adidas reveals new Texas A&M uniforms for upcoming season

Earlier this week, Adidas teased a new Texas A&M uniform this season. On Thursday, it was revealed. Adidas posted on Instagram a short video featuring a new maroon uniform combination for the Aggies to wear this season. The jersey looks quite different from other A&M ones, as a pattern is featured over the maroon background...
On Second Thought Ep 67: Houston coach Major Applewhite on replacing Tom Herman; Texas’ concerns at LB
On Second Thought Ep 67: Houston coach Major Applewhite on replacing Tom Herman; Texas’ concerns at LB

In Episode 67 of the On Second Thought podcast, new Houston head coach Major Applewhite discusses the challenge that comes with following in Tom Herman’s footsteps. Ced and Kirk and Kirk also examine the similarities between Applewhite and Herman and break down Herman’s concerns at linebacker. Also, the Dallas Cowboys&rsquo...
Triplets of the Big 12: Kansas State
Triplets of the Big 12: Kansas State

We’re taking a tour of the top quarterback, running back and wide receiver of each Big 12 team. Today’s triplets: Kansas State. (We’ve already done Baylor, Iowa State and Kansas.) QB: Jessie Ertz (2016 — 152 of 264 for 1,755 yards, 9 TDs and 4 INTs, plus 1,012 rushing yards and 12 rushing...
Daily Longhorn football history: The 2000 season
Daily Longhorn football history: The 2000 season

The Texas football program dates back to 1893. Each day, we look at a little piece of Longhorn history. We’re starting by looking at each Longhorn football season.  University of Texas’ Longhorns #1, Chris Simms, passes against the Texas A&M’s during first quarter of action on Friday, November...
More Stories