Betsy Price loves running, and whether it’s for a political office or in her beloved city’s famous foot race, the mayor of Fort Worth has a long and successful history in both.
She will be participating in The Cowtown’s half marathon on Sunday, which begins and ends at Will Rogers Memorial Center.
This is her 26th time in 27 years to participate in The Cowtown Marathon. She’s competed in the 5K, 10K and half marathon.
The one time she missed was due to a training injury.
“This year I am running - and probably walking a bit - the half-marathon,” said the 69-year-old Price, who is in her fourth term as mayor. “Year-round, I participate in numerous 5k and 10k races throughout our community, but The Cowtown is the only half-marathon I run.”
Price, who is also a bicycling enthusiast, has also started her own triathlon in Fort Worth. It’s named, aptly, the Mayor’s Tri.
“As a champion for health and well-being, it’s important that I lead by example and walk the walk, talk the talk,” she said. “Advocating for health and well-being is something I truly believe has a positive impact on our city.”
She said The Cowtown remains one of her favorite traditions for many reasons, including the course that gives participants a chance to see the city.
And does Price ever love her city. She’d run across America for Fort Worth, though she’s happier folks are coming here to see for themselves why it’s her favorite place.
“The staff, volunteers, visitors, runners and supporters set The Cowtown apart,” she said. “And the course, it’s a great way to see Fort Worth and exercise.
“The Cowtown is so much more than a race. I love visiting with the participants that come from around the nation, and now world. The volunteers and supporters embody what Fort Worth is all about – a city of great character, made up of great characters.”
With each race comes new memories. There have been many unforgettable moments over the years for Price.
One of her favorite isn’t any sort of a personal record or notable accomplishment. It was something much more rewarding, she said, when she coached Tanglewood Elementary School students to run the 10K.
“I still smile ear-to-ear picturing those third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students crossing the finish line,” she said.
One of those students was her own son, Phillip.
“We had to bribe him with baseball cards each mile, but he finished,” Price said.
In fact, The Cowtown and the Price family has a long history together. The connection goes back to the original Cowtown in 1979. Though Price wasn’t yet a participant herself, she’ll never forget that special day that started it all.
“I remember when my husband Tom ran the very first Cowtown with his friend Jeff. It was an especially cold winter day. Barbie and I stood at the bottom of the bridge as we cheered our husbands on with our babies on our hips,” she said. “A lot has changed since then.”
But one thing remains consistent. Price will be there Saturday, warm or cold, rain or shine. The forecast this year calls for a good chance of rain.
And though Tom no longer runs with her as he did for many years, she always has family around to cheer her on, or even run with her. She said it might be her two oldest grandchildren, her daughter, or her daughter-in-law.
Of course, Price draws a crowd on her own. She call them “Betsy’s Brigade.” It brings a smile to her face as she watches her fellow citizens joining her in an effort to live a healthy lifestyle.
Price stresses that a healthy city is a more productive city.
“There is a direct connection between health and our students learning better, and our citizens being more productive,” she said.
Cowtown Vice Chair Leslie Casey called Price a champion and role model for health. She praised the mayor for caring about the non-profit event that benefits thousands of youth each year.
“Most of all she cares about the individuals running beside her on the road,” Casey said. “The Cowtown welcomes visitors from all 50 states and 10-plus countries every year. Having our mayor actually run showcases to citizens from other areas and their government leaders how to leave a legacy.
“She is setting the pace for others to follow, making Fort Worth strong, vital, and a place worth living in.”
Price’s staff regularly jokes that when they can’t find her, it’s because she’s off training for her next fitness event. She has always been passionate about being active, becoming even more focused as she worked to set an example for her three children.
“After I had children, that passion become stronger. In 1972, I was inspired by Dr. Cooper’s book, ‘Aerobics.’ It changed the way I approached fitness,” she said.
Price said she has never entered a race with an intent to set any sort of record. Her goal has always been to compete and enjoy each event - and to finish.
“Finishing any half-marathon is a success,” she said. “Now, as I have less time to train I joke that finishing is a win.”