Participants take off towards Turn 1 through the fog at COTA's first event, Formula Run

// Formula Run

Early Saturday morning amidst a thick fog and heavy traffic, the first official race to be held at Circuit of The Americas was nearing start. Organized by RunTex founder Paul Carozza and the RunTex Foundation, the Formula Run event drew about five thousand avid runners and race enthusiasts to COTA.

The participants, a mix of Austin's running-regulars and race fans, all lined up on the starting grid, ready to complete a lap of the 3.4 mile circuit. As traffic delays caused many to arrive later than expected, Chairman Bobby Epstein and RunTex founder Paul Carozza welcomed participants to the track. Echoing the visions of COTA from early on, Epstein declared his praise that such an event was the first to be held at the circuit, solidify its partnership as a venue for all types of events, motor-powered and human powered.

Shortly after, the starting horn blared and runners and walkers of all ages took off up the hill towards Turn 1.  For many, the 10 story climb to Turn 1 was quite a surprise.  With enough of an incline to humble even the most seasoned runners, Turn 1 gave skeptics an early glimpse at the challenge such a feature presents to those willing to take it on.

Following the arrival to the crest of Turn 1, the pack started to thin out with the faster paced participants gaining speed down towards Turn 2 and beyond. Runners and walkers continued along the track just behind as the full impact of Turn 1 started to settle in. With much of the 3.4 miles remaining, most participants began to slow and move at their own pace for the remainder of the event.

Not surprisingly, there were as many cameras as water bottles in the hands of participants on Saturday. A testament to the appeal that COTA carries with it, a large portion of the day's crowd were anxious to find a great view, stop and snap a quick picture. For many participants, the event presented a great opportunity to walk the circuit and bring back some great shots to share with friends and family. 

Turns 1, 11, 16 and 20 were particularly attractive to fans, whether it be a result of the views or a feature such as the COTA Tower, obvious points of interest began to emerge as the cameras were pulled out and crowds developed. The most photogenic location following Turn 1 was the final corner, Turn 20. Delivering a full view of the Main Grandstand, Pit Building and Turn 1, the view facing east and down the main straight was a popular destination for a group photo.

As the event concluded, conversations about the venue and future events were scattered between the track and the parking lot. Those impressed with COTA voiced their interest in the various races to held over the coming year. With a strong active community and a reputation for its collection of events, human performance is becoming a cornerstone of Austin's community and lifestyle. With COTA slated to host many more human powered events, the new circuit will continue to gain popularity as the word of this new high performance venue spreads.

 // Click here to see the full gallery from Formula Run