Running Down the Walls 2021

Saturday, September 11, 2021 at 6:00pm (rain or shine!)

Southern Walnut Creek Trail at Govalle Neighborhood Park, 5200 Bolm Rd, Austin, TX 78721

Advance registration is now closed, but if you come to the park, it should still be a beautiful day for a stroll! Since the t-shirts have already been ordered, we can’t guarantee a shirt to anyone who registers after Aug 22. We appreciate your understanding.

Registration fee: sliding scale $20-100 ($40 strongly recommended). Each paid and registered participant will get a t-shirt (design available here).

Pay online via PayPal to AustinRDTW@protonmail.com or you can bring cash/check/money order to the event. Or email us to make other arrangements.

Contact: AustinRDTW@protonmail.com


Since 1999, the Anarchist Black Cross Federation, incarcerated people, and support organizations across the country have participated in Running Down The Walls (RDTW). This annual 5K run/walk/roll event is to show solidarity and raise funds for numerous political prisoners in North America. Funds raised are typically split between the ABCF Warchest and a community group chosen by the host group. Each year, incarcerated comrades participate by running inside prison. This event brings us closer together each year, strengthens our bonds, and lets people behind bars know they are not forgotten! Read RDTW statements from current and former PP/POWs.

The ABCF Warchest program receives donations from ABC chapters and individuals and then disperses the funds to the recipients in the program. Since initiation in November 1994, the program has dispersed more than $140,000.

Event Details and Accessibility Information

Pay registration fee online via PayPal to AustinRDTW@protonmail.com or you can bring cash/check/money order to the event, or email us to make other arrangements.

6:00pm – Gather, sign in, pick up t-shirt

6:20pm – Stretching and warming up

6:40pm sharp! – Running/Walking/Rolling Down the Walls!

Sunset is at 7:40pm and it will be dark by about 8:00pm.

This is not a race. There is no prize or recognition for being the fastest and no shame in taking a leisurely pace. Remember that a crew is only as fast as it’s slowest member. Use the buddy system! We strongly encourage everyone to stick with a buddy while participating in the event for reasons of health, safety, and support. We will gladly do our best to help people find a buddy who can match their pace.

Most of the gathering and warm up area is a grassy field. The 5k route is a paved hike and bike path about 10-15 feet wide. There is one street crossing (no signal), but it is a small residential street. The route will be 2.5km (~1.6mi) out and then back for a total of 5km (~3.1mi). It is not necessary to complete the whole route; you can turn around whenever you and your buddy are ready! At a moderate walking pace, completing the 5k should take about an hour.

There are no benches along the route, but there is railing along the path in several places. The route alternates between shade and direct sunlight, though late in the day the sun will be pretty low. Most of the route is flat with small and brief inclines. However, at about the 2km point, the path takes a more significant and extended downhill grade (uphill coming back the other way). The path does have periodic level spots in this stretch of incline.

We will have water available at the start/finish (we recommend bringing your own bottle), as well as Gatorade and snacks available for donation. We plan to have an aid table at the turn around point with water as well. We expect it to still be quite hot in early September so it’s important to stay hydrated. There are public restrooms and several portapotties in Govalle Neighborhood Park.

Govalle Neighborhood Park has a paved parking lot with five wheelchair accessible spaces (three of which are van accessible). Street parking is available on Bolm. There are CapMetro stops for the 350 bus about 1 block from the park along Airport Blvd.

Our event volunteers strive to make RDTW a safer space event. If you experience harassment or abuse at the event, or if someone who has engaged in such behavior is adversely affecting your participation, please come to a volunteer or contact us ahead of time.

Tips for Raising Money

Registration fee is sliding scale $20-100 ($40 strongly recommended). Pay online via PayPal to AustinRDTW@protonmail.com or you can bring cash/check/money order to the event. Or email us to make other arrangements.

Many participants will pay the suggested $40 registration fee on their own, but others might seek to get sponsored instead, either because they can’t afford the registration fee or because they want to help raise more money. If that’s you, here’s a few tips and ideas to get you started!

Asking for money can be hard for some people, but while you are asking people to sponsor your participation, the money itself is for a larger cause.

  • Make a list of potential donors. Friends, family, co-workers, neighbors…think creatively and include everyone you can think of (it doesn’t hurt to ask). Who might be supportive? Who cares about similar causes? Some people might be more interested in the political aspect of the event, while others might be more interest in the athletic aspect. Decide to ask for a specific amount that you think will be within your prospective sponsor’s budget (for instance $1-8 for each kilometer).
  • Ask people directly—face to face, a phone call, or a personalized email or text message can be more effective than a general social media ask. A hand-written letter is especially hard to forget or ignore. Write your message in a genuine tone and reference your relationship and your mutual interests in the event. Politely follow up if you don’t hear back.
  • Make it personal. People respond to eye contact, assertiveness and passion. Tell them why you’re inspired to support political prisoners and their stories. Practice the conversation beforehand if you think it might be difficult to find words in the moment.
  • Get creative! You could even start a crowdfunding page for your run. Add quality images and tell a story to engage people. Or ask an organization or wealthier person to match the other donations you get.
  • Follow up, provide updates, and say ‘thank you.’ Remember to reconnect to your sponsors with photos and stories from the event and thank them for their support.
Former political prisoner and RDTW participant Jaan Laaman

Tips for Getting Ready

  • Most importantly, know your limits and take it slow! Some people might need a check up with a medical professional to see if an injury has healed or if they have health conditions that might put them at risk. Going from your couch or office chair lifestyle to running every day is a good way to cause injuries that could take months or weeks to heal. Start gently and build up slowly.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Check out options for padded or supportive insoles. Check out thrift stores, craigslist, Buy Nothing groups, and the like for free or cheap running/walking shoes.
  • Warm up and stretch before exercising and cool down and stretch afterwards.
  • Stay hydrated and eat well (but not right before you run!). It’s hot out here in Texas and you need fluids, electrolytes, and calories to keep your body going. Eating just before you exercise is a good way to get cramps or nausea though.
  • Many people like alternating between running and walking, especially as they are starting out, and some people say doing these intervals is the best way to train.
One suggestion for training intervals.
  • Train outside. If you are accustomed to training inside, your body may react differently when it’s out in the heat. Practicing and training outside, even a little bit, will help build up your heat tolerance and give you an idea how your body will handle it.
  • Have fun! Listen to music or podcasts; explore new places; go with a friend; join a group and make new friends. Whatever appeals to you!

Registration Form

Advanced registration is now closed.

Pay registration fee online via PayPal to AustinRDTW@protonmail.com.

That’s all!