Flower Mound native and University of Texas alum, Craig Lutz and Olympian Leo Manzano are among the five HOKA ONE ONE elite athletes announced to participate in 2017 the BMW Dallas Marathon Pro Relay Challenge. For the third year in a row, organizers of the BMW Dallas Marathon, Half Marathon and SMU COX School of Business Relay will pair five HOKA ONE ONE elite runners with a relay team from each of Dallas’ professional sports teams in a friendly competition to take place marathon day, Sunday, December 10.
Joining the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, FC Dallas and Texas Rangers are Craig Lutz, Leo Manzano, Scott Smith, Graham Crawford and Jesse Garn, five decorated runners who ran competitively in NCAA collegiate and USATF championships, IAAF World Relays, and multiple Olympic qualifiers and games. While this will be Chris Lutz’s first professional race in his home state of Texas, albeit friendly, Leo Manzano has participated in Pro Relay Challenge since it began in 2015.
Pro Relay Challenge teams will consist of one of the five HOKA ONE ONE elite runners, three employees from the same professional sports teams and one fan. Each of the professional athletes will run the first leg for their marathon relay team, beginning at the new start line in front of Dallas City Hall. Pro Relay Challenge athlete and sports team pairings will be announced Friday, December 8.
The fastest relay team in the Pro Relay Challenge will win bragging rights in North Texas as well as a $5,000 donation to their organization’s foundation, presented by Andrews Distributing. In the spirit of the BWM Dallas Marathon, Andrews Distributing has also pledged a $5,000 donation to the marathon’s official beneficiary, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.
“We are so grateful to continue the tradition of the Pro Relay Challenge for a third year. Having the support of nearly all of Dallas’ professional teams means a lot to our participants, but is especially encouraging to the local running community,” said Paul Lambert, president of the BMW Dallas Marathon. “This year, we are really excited to add a hometown runner to the mix. We hope to see a lot of local fans cheering for him and his relay team come race day.”
In 2016, Kyle Merber led the Texas Rangers team to first place with a marathon relay time of 3:08:08. Merber, the American Collegiate record holder, battled a small pack of HOKA runners out front including Colby Alexander, Stephanie Schappert and Nicol Traynor. Former Olympic medalist Leo Manzano, running with the Dallas Cowboys team, ran the fastest relay split of the five HOKA athletes.
For more information or to register for the five-person SMU Cox School of Business relay, visit bmwdallasmarathon.com.
Meet the Pro Relay Challenge Runners
Leo Manzano: The 33-year-old Manzano is a two-time Olympian (2008, 2012) and has represented the U.S. on six World Championship teams. Manzano won a silver medal in the 1500m at the 2012 Olympics, breaking a 44-year medal drought for U.S. men’s middle distance running and has a personal record of 3:30:98 in the 1500m, set at Monaco in 2014. This is Manzano’s third year participating in the Dallas Marathon’s Pro Relay Challenge.
Craig Lutz: Craig was born in Chicago, but spent most of his adolescence in Flower Mound, Texas. He went on to attend the University of Texas in Austin, where he was a four-time All American. As a senior, he won fourth place in the NCAA Nationals in the 10,000. In 2016, he won the USATF Cross Country National title in Bend Oregon and recently beat his personal best at the Adrian Martinez Classic.
Scott Smith: A graduate of the University of Santa Barbara, where he still holds school records in the 5000m and 10000m, Scott Smith ran his first half marathon in 2012. Since then, he has gone on to compete in the USA Marathon Championships, where he placed seventh. He won the Rock n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon in 2016 (1:02:34) and placed 14th in the US Olympics Trial Marathon.
Graham Crawford: Crawford joined the HOKA ONE ONE team in February 2017 after a successful running career at North Carolina State University. In 2016, he advanced to the semifinals of the Olympic Trials, after finishing fifth in the first round. That year, he also won the 2016 Atlanta Dream Mile, with a time of 3:58.45, a personal best.
Jesse Garn: Jesse Garn currently trains with the New Jersey – New York Track Club. He was an US Olympic Trial qualifier in 2016 and finished fourth in the 800m at the Outdoor NCAA Finals in 2015. He holds a personal best of 2:21:10 in the 1000m.
About the BMW Dallas Marathon: The Dallas Marathon is a nonprofit organization with a focus on promoting health and physical fitness through running events and related activities. Dating back to 1971, the organization hosts year-round events culminating with Dallas’ largest and Texas’ longest running marathon: the BMW Dallas Marathon. Now in its 47th running, the marquee race attracts runners from across the globe and hundreds of thousands of spectators to Dallas’ largest single-day sporting event. The BMW Dallas Marathon racecourse highlights iconic Dallas landmarks and is recognized as the official marathon of the city of Dallas. Since naming a primary beneficiary in 1997, the Dallas Marathon has donated more than $3.9 million to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. For more information, visit bmwdallasmarathon.com.