Headwaters of the Frio Trail Marathon, Half, 12K, 5K

Headwaters of the Frio Trail Marathon, Half, 12K, 5K supporting Hill Country Youth Ranch
Hill Country Youth Ranch

About 2020 Headwaters of the Frio Trail Marathon, Half, 12K, 5K

Note: See information about event changes due to Covid-19 in the About>Event Schedule section.

The Headwaters of the Frio Trail Marathon, Half, 12K, 5K is a challenging run/walk event across the rugged and isolated terrain of one of the most stunningly beautiful ranches in the Texas Hill Country. 

This event highlights the vital mission of Hill Country Youth Ranch and Big Springs Ranch for Children which work to bring healing and restoration to children who have been victims of horrific abuse, abandonment and neglect. Participants raise funds that directly benefit these children. 

The difficulties and obstacles experienced on the course are a metaphor for the “marathon” our children face daily; while the beauty and tranquility of our 7,050 acre ranch will lift your spirit as it does the children who call this place home.

This is a timed event with 4 categories of participation: 

  • Marathon runners and walkers 
  • Half Marathon runners and walkers
  • 12K runners and walkers
  • 5K runners and walkers

The minimum age to participate is 14 (Marathon minimum age is 18) and there is no maximum age (last year our oldest participant was 79).  You just need to be in reasonably good shape, train appropriately for the distance you choose, and be realistic about your capabilities. Marathon participants have the toughest challenge with 8 hours to complete the 26.2 mile course. Note to Marathon participants: You will need to finish the first half by 3:45 to progress to the second half of the course. 

Younger children will be allowed to accompany a parent on the 5K course for no additional fee, provided a 1:1 parent child ratio is maintained.

After signing up as an individual, you will be given the opportunity to form a team and invite family/friends/co-workers to join you on your run/walk and compete for one of the top team fundraising prizes.

We go to great lengths to make this a unique, one of a kind experience. The event has the amenities you would expect from a large race, but the uncrowded course has a small race feel. 



Starts at:  October 10, 2020 7:00 AM
Ends at:  October 10, 2020 6:00 PM


Big Springs Ranch for Children
10664 U.S. Highway 83 North
Leakey,TX 78873 USA


Tim Campbell

Are You One of the Special Few?

This is truly a special event, and we’re looking for a special kind of participant! We know this event is not for everyone. If you’re the kind of person who finds joy and fulfillment in physical challenges like marathons, half marathons, 10K’s, or 5K's, and have a heart to help abused and abandoned kids by supporting worthy nonprofits like Hill Country Youth Ranch / Big Springs Ranch for Children, you’re just the kind of person we're looking for! 

This is a fundraising event and each participant makes a commitment to raise a minimum of $250.00 to support our mission. It takes some effort, but is very rewarding. Our commitment to you is to provide a one of a kind experience. We've taken care of every detail to make sure this is one of the most memorable events you'll ever experience! The event is limited to 250 total participants. Plan now to join us for our 3rd annual event!

Fundraising and Awards

Registration and Fundraising

The Headwaters of the Frio Trail Marathon, Half, 12K, 5K is a fundraising event to support Hill Country Youth Ranch and Big Springs Ranch for Children which work to provide healing and restoration to children who have been traumatized through abuse, abandonment or neglect.

There is a $35 registration fee to indicate your commitment and help offset expenses (waived for previous participants). There is also a $250 minimum fundraising requirement for each participant.

What If I Don't Have Any Fundraising Experience?

For those with no previous fundraising experience, we've provided lots of coaching tips and information to make your fundraising engaging, fun and effective!  If you follow the advice offered, we believe the fundraising minimum is very attainable.  For more information see the "Fundraising Tips" section under the Fundraising menu tab. 

Where Does the Money Go?

The money raised through the event goes directly into our Children’s Fund, which is our all-purpose fund ensuring the provision of essentials for our children – food, clothing, housing, and transportation – plus the basic amenities of holiday celebrations, weekly allowances, birthdays, recreational activities, educational adventures, and a wide variety of life enrichment experiences.  With 110 children living with us at any given time, we need to raise $2,000,000 a year to supply these elements of a healthy childhood.  That’s $18,000 a year per child, and it includes all the support services and personnel that go with these basics.  About half of that amount is raised each year through operational grants, bequests, thrift store sales, and endowment income.  The other half must come from individual donations and special events like this.  It’s a tall climb each year, and we need your help to make it happen!


After registering as an individual, you have the option to start a team, or join an existing team. We encourage families, friends, co-workers, church groups, workout groups, etc., to form teams and participate together. Please note that teams do not share a single fundraising goal; the team total is simply the combination of the various individual fundraising goals. In order to keep team competition fair, teams are limited to a total of 12 individuals.


We encourage you to set your sight even higher than the minimum fundraising amount and join in some friendly competition to see how much you can raise! We have created a series of badges you can earn as you reach specific milestones. Everyone who meets the $250 minimum amount earns the Fundraising Champion badge and books their ticket to the event. At $500 raised, you earn the Fundraising Overachiever badge. Those who raise $1,000 earn the Fundraising Rockstar badge and at $2,500 you earn the highest badge; Fundraising Superhero! We are so grateful for those of you who press on to raise as much as possible! We will recognize all those who achieved each badge and give out commemorative plaques to our Rockstars and SuperheroesYou can also earn badges and awards for promoting the event on social media and recruiting additional participants.


Each participant will receive a high-quality T-shirt and a hand-crafted commemorative medallion. 

Special prizes will be awarded to the 3 highest individual fundraisers, the top 2 fundraising teams, the top recruiter, and the top social media promoter/ambassador. For more information see the "Top Individual and Team Fundraising Awards" section under the Fundraising menu tab. 

Top Finisher Medals

Those posting the fastest times will receive top finisher medals. We will document every finisher’s time in their respective category. Medals will be awarded to the top 3 male and female finishers in each event in the following age categories: 14-19, 20-39, 40-59, 60+

    About Hill Country Youth Ranches

    Hill Country Youth Ranch is a non-profit charitable corporation licensed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to provide long-term therapeutic care for abused and orphaned children at all levels of trauma and need.

    HCYR operates three campuses, all located northwest of San Antonio in the Texas Hill Country. All three campuses feature family-style homes, state-of-the art charter schools for grades K-12, amazing recreational facilities, and spacious, beautiful grounds.

    Taking an individualized approach, HCYR offers a broad continuum of services, including residential treatment for severely traumatized children, family care for those who have stabilized, transitional living for young adults, and life-long family-based support for alumni.

    Thank you to our generous sponsors​

    Interested in becoming a sponsor? Please contact Tim Campbell, Chief Development ​Officer, at tcampbell@youth-ranch.org.