February 19th, 6:00 am. Thousands of runners emerge from the still shadowed streets of dowtown Austin, congregating at 16th and Congress to prepare to run the Austin marathon. The chilly morning is pierced by the runners’ foggy exhalations and the MC’s countdown to get the race started. After some encouraging words by Lance Armstrong, the marathon is underway and the seemingly interminable throng of runners pounds the pavement and winds through the dewey streets of the city to the cheers of supportive onlookers. As dawn slowly turns into morning, participants start to approach the finish line where a crowd of photographers, families and friends awaits. The runners cross the finish line, each revealing a mixture of exhaustion and pride, and finally make their way to their loved ones with the medals hung around their necks shining in the Austin morning sun.