The Cowtown announced Thursday that it will offer more than $30,000 in cash prizes for the fastest runners in the marathon this year.
A $25,000 purse will be split between all the men and women who beat the course records and an additional $5,000 will be split among those who break the all-time event records.
The Cowtown, with races scheduled Feb. 22 and 23 at Will Rogers Memorial Center, is the largest multi-race event in Texas. Last year more than 27,000 runners participated in races ranging from a 5K to an ultra marathon.
“We feel that the timing is right to join other world class distance events and offer prize money,” said Heidi Swartz, executive director of The Cowtown, in a written statement. “We are thrilled to be able to offer our runners the opportunity to challenge themselves and be a part of this new award.”
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Organizers hope the program, called “Cowtown Elite,” encourages top athletes to participate. MarathonGuide.com is partially funding the prize purses.
The course was introduced in 2012 and both records were set last year. Craig Ottman of Keller set the men’s mark in 2 hours, 36 minutes and 22 seconds. Elizabeth Eder of Fort Worth holds the fastest women’s time, 2:46:09.
The men’s all-time event record is 2:17:35, set by Santos Ortega in 2000; the women’s mark of 2:45:51 is held by Linda Zeman, also in 2000.
The men’s and women’s winners will also get $2,000; second-place finishers get $1,000.
The Cowtown will also offer complimentary entry and hotel accommodations to men who have run under 2:30 or women have run under 2:45 in the past two years.