The Obit For Mark Austry

Autopsy pending for man, 32, who died after crossing finish line of Dallas half-marathon

Monday, March 15, 2010
The Dallas Morning News

The Austry brothers ran a half-marathon through the streets of Dallas on Sunday morning, crossing the finish line side by side.

Mark Stanley Austry, 32, gave his older brother a high five.

"He got a bottle of water, took two steps and collapsed right in front of me," Michael Austry said Sunday night.

Mark Austry, a Lantana husband and father of two young girls, never regained consciousness. He died at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas shortly after noon.

It was unknown Sunday what caused the death of the former Texas Tech University baseball player. The inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Dallas Half Marathon was his first such race, but he has long been in top shape, according to his brother. An autopsy was pending.

The death cast a shadow over what was otherwise a beautiful day for more than 9,000 runners to make their way from Dallas City Hall, through northern Dallas and the Park Cities and back down to Fair Park.

"It was perfect," Michael Austry said. "It wasn't hot, it was cold. We wore hats the whole time and long sleeves."

He said they drank at the water stations and his brother never appeared winded.

"We only ran what pace he was comfortable, so we weren't pushing it," Austry said. They finished in about an hour and 47 minutes, according to the race results.

In a written statement, the event's medical director said doctors and paramedics acted quickly.

"A race participant collapsed after finishing today's half-marathon," Dr. Lewis Maharam said. "The runner was immediately treated by doctors and paramedics, then transported to a local hospital where he later passed away.

"We are greatly saddened by this tragic loss, and our prayers go out to the participant's family and friends," Maharam said.

Austry, the youngest of three brothers, was raised in Fort Worth and transferred from Coastal Carolina to Texas Tech, where he lettered from 1998 to 2000, according to the university. It was also at the university that Austry met his wife, Mariana Alvarez Austry.

Among his Red Raider career highlights was a game-winning single that eliminated Texas from the Big 12 Tournament in 2000. He also played briefly for the Fort Worth Cats minor-league team.

"On behalf of Texas Tech University and all of Red Raider nation, we extend our deepest sympathies to the Austry family," Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Myers said in a written statement. "Mark was a great person and will be sorely missed."

In recent years, golf had become the primary sport for Austry, who worked as a physician recruiter.

But more than anything, he was a family man who looked forward to coming home every night and dancing with his little girls, Isabella, 3, and Anna, 1.

"He was a great father," Michael Austry said. "He left a big hole in our family."