JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
AUSTIN — For the third annual Manzano Mile on March 23, middle-distance runner Leonel Manzano is planning something a little different.
There still will be special relay categories for open, club and team and corporate. And the runner, who won a silver medal in the men’s 1,500 meters at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, still will host a free 400-meter event for children 9 and younger.
But this year, Manzano, a 2004 graduate of Marble Falls High School, plans on having live music and an open-mile relay for the community.
“It’s a fun event,” he said. “We’re still promoting health and fitness. I really want to bring a lot of fun to track and field. It’s fun participating in the outdoors.”
Manzano, a former Granite Shoals resident, said he got the idea for live bands after running on the professional circuit in Europe. Most of the events there offer live music.
“Besides,” he said with a grin, “Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World. What better place than Austin, Texas.”
The event will take place at the Texas School for the Deaf, 1101 S. Congress. Participants can register at www.manzanomile.com.
Registration is $30 for the individual mile and $70 for relay teams. Entry to the Kids 400 meter event is free.
At least half of the proceeds will go to the Austin Community Foundation, Manzano said, and another portion will go to Blue Santa and the Children’s Day Celebration in Marble Falls.
Manzano was presented the Male Running Performance of the Year award at the Endurance LIVE Sports Awards Gala on Feb. 23 in Los Angeles. The presenter was Jim Ryun, the only other American man to win a 1,500-meter silver medal in the Olympics. Ryun’s came in 1968 at the Mexico Games. Though Manzano had met Ryun before, the two didn’t really talk. They got their chance at the event.
“After the (2012) Olympics, I received a tweet from Jim Ryun,” the former Mustang said. “I had no idea he was going to be at the event. It was a great honor for me.
“He’s a legend for me,” he added. “To share that moment with him, I thought that was incredible.”