Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Reliant Energy Torch Relay Visits the Fittest City in America

Living up to their name, the 28 Austinites that carried the Torch during the relay yesterday tested our own volunteers as they ran each of their legs. Most of the joggers and walkers took a path from the Run Tex store, a famous runner’s store located on the edge of Auditorium Shore Park along Lady Bird Lake, to the Commerce St. bridge where a long inclining ramp took them to the street level of the bridge where many paused to have their photo taken with the cityscape behind them. Then they traversed down another ramp to loop back to the ceremony stage at the store. But six intrepid torchbearers launched out for a half mile orbit that took them out along Lady Bird Lake on a jogging path that brought them to the Stevie Ray Vaughn statue and back. As they met other joggers or passed people enjoying the sunny day in the park there were many spontaneous cheers and words of encouragement and appreciation.

The final lap featured 91 year old scratch golfer Phil Shaw bringing the torch to the podium for the start of the ceremony to rousing cheers and ended with 73 year old Senior Games track and field legend Marion Coffee-Carney making the long jog to the statue. We asked how many medals she had won and her reply was "I don't remember- I just think about getting the next one!" On her return Coffee-Carney passed the torch to 91 year old Senior Games golfer Phillip Shaw, who proudly marched the Fitness Flame torch to the ceremony stand to begin our closing remarks. Austin lived up to expectations and ably demonstrated why the city is a model of fitness to America!

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