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Austin Marathon brings traction downtown

Around 5,400 runners are expected to line up for Sunday's half-marathon and 5k race.

AUSTIN, Texas — One of the first major events returning to Austin since the pandemic began will happen on Sunday.

Around 5,400 runners are expected to take part in the Austin Marathon.

Due to COVID-19, the marathon was cut down to a half-marathon, but it's still bringing in some much-needed revenue for local businesses. 

"We had signed up for another one in North Carolina and they made it virtual," said runner Cindy Rocray. "We didn't want to do that, so we came here so we could do it live and just get back into running." 

Rocray and her husband, Kirk, took the trip from Jackson, Mississippi, to run in their first in-person race. 

"It's been good – good dinner last night," said Rocray. "We've been kind of bumming around today and last night." 

Like many other participants, the couple went to Fleet Feet in Downtown Austin to get some last-minute gear. 

RELATED: Several roads closed in Downtown Austin for Austin Marathon on Sunday

"It's been super fun," said Fleet Feet operating partner Ari Perez. 

Perez runs the place. He said they've been pretty busy helping Austin Marathon runners and regular visitors. Still, their biggest shift in customers has been beginners, trying to find the perfect pair of shoes to step into Austin's large running community. 

"Through the holidays and really through the start of the year, you get resolutions and all of these. Thankfully, you know, with the postponement of the races to now, it's been great. People are ready to get back to something a little bit more normal," said Perez. "Thankfully for us, we just happen to have been serving their needs." 

Perez said he is looking forward to more in-person events happening coming up. If you check the Visit Austin website, the Austin area Jazz Festival and the famous Austin City Limits Festival are already on the books for this year. 

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