Race Experience Spotlight: Refueling Stations

The goal of the Chevron Houston Marathon refueling stations is simple – to leave no runner thirsty. Our teams are hard at work preparing their stations, and we want to give a peek into what you will find at refueling stations along the course.

The Chevron Houston Marathon refueling stations have a uniform design at all stations so you can grab the fluids you need and avoid confusion. The tables will all be erected on the right-hand side of the street, with Gatorade tables being the first stop, followed by water tables. There will be flags indicating which tables have Gatorade or water, and volunteers will be shouting what is in their hand as you pass. Tables will be placed together in pairs and spaced 16 feet apart so that runners can easily get past the station if they do not wish to take fluids. There will also be space available between and following the Gatorade and water tables for runners to stop and drink if they prefer.

Be on the lookout for upcoming refueling stations throughout the race and move into a position that allows you to stop at the last table and avoid a bottleneck. Volunteers are prepared with Gatorade and water at later tables as well. Try to make eye contact with the volunteer so they know you’re going to grab the cup in their hand, and please thank our race crew volunteers who make our race day possible. Try not to cut off other runners or spill fluids on them when passing through the refueling station. You can stop or slow down through the refueling station, but try to make sure there’s not a runner immediately behind you.

Recycling boxes will be positioned on the right-hand side of the course just past the refueling stations. If you are able, toss your cup in one or throw your cup on the ground out of the path of other runners. Our volunteers will clean up and recycle all cups along the course.

Speaking of recycling, the Houston Marathon Committee is committed to producing another sustainable event for 2013. Unlike conventional cups made from petroleum-based plastic, the green Gatorade cups are made of compostable material and the water cups are made from compostable bio-based plastic. To ensure we are providing safe drinking water, the Houston Marathon Committee utilizes filtered hydrant water at all course refueling stations.  Volunteers run city water through a potable water hose – a hard, high quality hose resistant to abrasions and tearing. This process filters out any chlorine or sediment. The water is then transferred into a contaminant-free trash can lined with food-grade liners. This process reduces water waste along with providing safe, clean water for runners.

A lot of hard work and planning goes into manning a refueling station. More than 2,100 volunteers will distribute over 173,000 cups of Lemon-Lime Endurance Formula Gatorade and over 125,000 cups of water along the course. Volunteers arrive early on race day morning to filter, fill, and stack cups on tables to ensure that fluids are available to hand out as soon as the first runners pass.

There are seven refueling stations along the half marathon course and sixteen refueling stations along the marathon course, available every 1.5 miles beginning at mile 2. Gatorade and water will be available in the George R. Brown Convention Center before and after the race, and bottled water will be handed out as runners enter the Convention Center post-race. A refueling station will be available to refill your water bottle, and recycling stations will be available throughout the building once you are ready to recycle.

Click here to read more about the Houston Marathon Committee’s Green Initiative.

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13 Fast Facts: The first thirteen

This month’s 13 Fast Facts takes a trip down memory lane. Here’s a quick glance back at the first thirteen winners of the men’s and women’s Houston Marathon.

  1. Danny Green won the men’s race in the 1972 Houston Marathon in 2:32:33, while Tanya Trantham won the women’s in 5:11:55.
  2. In 1973, Juan Garza won the men’s race in 2:37:47 and Nancy Laird won the women’s race in 4:29:09.
  3. There was no race in 1974 (the December event was moved to January 1975). The 1975 men’s race saw a tie between ’73 winner Juan Garza and Clent Mericle in 2:35:00. Dorothy Doolittle won the women’s race in 3:31:34.
  4. Jeff Wells won the 1976 men’s Houston marathon in 2:17:46, while Marsha Johnson won the women’s race in 3:37:04.
  5. Clent Mericle won his second Houston Marathon title in 1977, crossing the line in 2:27:46. In that same year Dorothy Doolittle also won her second Houston Marathon title when she finished in 3:00:34.
  6. The 1978 Houston Marathon saw Ron Tabb win the men’s race in 2:17:15, while Peggy Kokernot won the women’s race in 3:01:54.
  7. Tom Antczak won the 1979 Houston Marathon in 2:15:28 and Sue Peterson won the women’s race in 2:46:17 becoming the first woman to run sub-3:00 at the Houston Marathon.  
  8. Ron Tabb won his second Houston Marathon in 1980 when he crossed the finish line in 2:13:36. Vanessa Vajdos won the 1980 women’s race in 2:44:45.
  9. Former American record holder Bill Rodgers won the 1981 Houston Marathon in 2:12:19, while Patti Catalano won the women’s race in 2:35:27.
  10. Benji Durden won the 1982 Houston Marathon, covering the 26.2 mile course in 2:11:11 as Laurie Binder won the women’s race in 2:40:57.
  11. In 1983, Haliu Ebba won the men’s Houston Marathon in 2:12:17 and Ingrid Kristiansen won the women’s marathon in 2:33:27.
  12. Kristiansen won her second-consecutive title at the Houston Marathon in 1984 when she won the women’s race in 2:27:51, becoming the first woman to break 2:30 at the Houston Marathon. Charlie Spedding won the men’s race in 2:11:54.
  13. Marty Froelick won the 1985 Houston Marathon in 2:11:13, while Sylvia Ruegger won the women’s race in 2:28:36.
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13 Fast Facts: Record-breaking performances

In forty years of existence, the winners of the Chevron Houston Marathon keep getting faster and faster. The same can be said for the Aramco Half Marathon, which has been around for 10 years. In no particular order, here’s a quick look at 13 record-breaking performances.

  1. Twenty-seven year old Tariku Jufar of Ethiopia won the 2012 Chevron Houston Men’s Marathon in 2:06:51, breaking the one-year-old course record by over 10 seconds. It was a personal best for Jufar by more than a minute.
  2. Ethiopian Bekana Daba Tolesa won the 2011 Chevron Houston Men’s Marathon in 2:07:04. As the drizzle turned to rain, Daba pulled away from the field and a string of three sub-4:40 miles sealed his win.
  3. Running his second marathon in six weeks, Teshome Gelana broke away from the pack at the 22-mile mark and went on to win the 2010 Chevron Houston Men’s Marathon in 2:07:37. Entering the race, Gelana’s personal best had been 2:11:50.
  4. Ethiopia’s Deriba Merga broke a twenty-year-old course record to win the 2009 Chevron Houston Marathon in 2:07:52. Merga set a blistering pace with the aide of pacemakers and when the final one stepped off the course after mile 17, Merga ran solo to hit the finish line, breaking the previous record of 2:10:04 set by Richard Kaitany (KEN) in 1989. He went on to win the 2009 Boston Marathon.
  5. Ethiopia’s Alemitu Abera won the 2012 Chevron Houston Women’s Marathon in 2:23:14. En route to setting a personal best, Abera won the race by over five minutes.
  6. Twenty-seven year old Teyba Erkesso dominated the women’s race for the second year in a row, winning the 2010 Chevron Houston Marathon in 2:23:53. Erkesso won the race by nearly five minutes, lowering her course record by 25 seconds.
  7. In her debut race at the distance, Teyba Erkesso of Ethiopia won the 2009 Chevron Houston Marathon in 2:24:18.
  8. Dire Tune obliterated her 2007 record by a staggering 2 minutes, 12 seconds for back-to-back victories in the women’s marathon when she won the 2008 Chevron Houston Marathon. Tune of Ethiopia ran 2:24:40, besting her 2007 record of 2:26:52. She went on to win the 2008 Boston Marathon.
  9. 2011 world outdoor bronze medalist in the marathon Feyisa Lilesa won the 2012 Aramco Houston Men’s Half Marathon in 59:22. The Ethiopian won the race by over two minutes.
  10. Two-time Olympian Ryan Hall won the 2007 Aramco Houston Half Marathon in an American Record time of 59:43. Hall took charge from the start, hitting the first mile in 4:38. From there, Hall had no reservations about going for the 21 year old half-marathon record.
  11. In her first race in the United States, Ethiopia’s Oljira Belaynesh won the 2012 Aramco Houston Women’s Half Marathon in 1:08:26. In a sprint to the finish, Belaynesh beat out 2011 Boston Marathon winner Caroline Kilel at the tape.
  12. In her half marathon debut, Shalane Flanagan won the 2010 Aramco Houston Half Marathon in 1:09:41. Flanagan lived up to her status as pre-race favorite, taking control of the race from the first mile.
  13. Four-time Olympian Colleen De Reuck won the 2004 women’s half marathon in 1:10:55.
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13 Fast Facts: How Run for a Reason Makes a Difference

Your fundraising and donations at work.

Each month we are sharing “13 Fast Facts” about the Chevron Houston Marathon as we countdown to the annual Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon on 1.13.13. Thanks to you, the Chevron Houston Marathon’s Run for a Reason charity program and your donations and fundraising are making a lasting impact on the lives of those in need.

See how your monetary donations directly benefit just 13 of our 60 charities and how just a small donation can go a long way.

  1. Alzheimer’s Association
    $30 – Information and Resources sent to 3 Families
    $60 – 1 Hour Community Education Program for 10-15 People
    $100 – In Depth, Individualized Care Consultation and Planning Session for 1 Family 
  2. American Heart Association
    $30 – Treats Infants and Children
    $50 – Peer Research for Disease and Stroke
    $100 – Hospital Education Resources
    $300 – 10 CPR Anytime Kits to Community Members 
  3. Bering Omega Community Services
    $100 – Sponsor a one-on-one activity for persons affected by HIV and AIDS
    $250 – Send a buddy to a leadership training
    $400 – Sponsor a Best Buddies friendship for a full year 

  4. Buffalo Bayou Partnership
    $50 – Remove 1-bag of trash and debris from the bayou
    $100 – Plant an acre of wildflowers
    $250 – Plant and maintain a tree for a year
    $500 – Sponsor a history tour
    $1000 – Sponsor a cleanup event 
  5. Child Advocates, Inc.
    $35 – Serve a child for one week
    $140 – Serve a child for one month
    $850 – Serve a child for six months
    $1700 – Serve a child for a year 
  6. Citizens For Animal Protection (CAP)
    $25 – Feed One Animal for One Week
    $50 – Microchip 10 animals
    $75 – Neuter 1 Dog & 2 Cats
    $100 – Vaccinations for 10 Animals
    $150 – One Week Care for a Homeless Dog
    $200 – Treatment for an Injured Stray 
  7. ESCAPE Family Resource Center
    $25 – Toys and supplies for infant/toddler care classrooms
    $50 – Classroom materials, including books & videos
    $70 – Scholarship for a family to attend Building Confident Families
    $100 – One week of Parent Aide mentoring services
    $200 – Child Abuse 101 class for 10 childcare professionals
    $300 – Workshop for parents & teachers at a school
    $500 – Families & Divorce class for 30 women at a Domestic Violence Shelter
    $1500 – Building Confident Families class in a school for 30 parents 
  8. Houston Area Parkinson Society
    $25 – One roundtrip ride to a doctor’s appointment
    $50 – Three hours of respite
    $100 – Four roundtrip rides to weekly exercise groups
    $250 – Five exercise, speech, water or dance groups
    $500 – One month of Parkinson’s prescriptions
    $1000 – Fully installed wheelchair ramp or hospital bed
  9. Houston Food Bank
    $20 – Provides 60 Meals
    $50 – Provides 150 Meals
    $100 – Provides 300 Meals
    $150 – Provides 450 Meals
    $200 – Provides 600 Meals 
  10. Houston Marathon Foundation
    $35.00 – 5K entry for an area woman looking to rebuild her life, set goals and find confidence after hardship
    $50.00 – Plants a New Tree at Memorial Park
    $100.00 – Purchases Running Shoes for a Houston youth to train and participate in the CHM
    $125.00 – Buys a Race Entry for an underprivileged student to run the Full or Half Marathon 
    Plus more than 200 underprivileged area students were able to participate in the 2012 races because of donations from the Run for a Reason Charity Program.
  11. Presbyterian Children’s Homes & Services
    $10 – Toiletries for a child for one month
    $15 – One hour of after-school tutoring in Foster Care per day
    $20 – Youth Bible
    $35 – Food for a child for a week
    $50 – New bicycle
    $96 – Average cost of a child in Foster Care per day
    $100 – Clothing for a child for one season
    $175 – Average cost of a child in Group Homes per day
    $500 – Shoes and Clothes for a whole school year
  12. Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Houston Affiliate
    $25 – Transportation to mammogram facility
    $50 – Breast Clinical Exam
    $100 – One Mammogram
    $200 – Mammograms for a mother and sister
    $300 – One Breast Ultrasound
    $500 – Five Mammograms
    $1000 – Ten Mammograms 
  13. The Women’s Home
    $25 – Provide a resident with transportation
    $50 – Provide linens and bedding to a resident
    $75 – Provide a week’s worth of meals to the residents living in our residential dormitory
    $100 – Provide clothing and toiletries to a new resident
    $250 – Provide a resident with 5 sessions of individual therapy
    $500 – Provide a resident with three weeks of job search and training skills
    $500 – Sponsor a resident for a month in our program

Click here to see ALL of the 2012 – 2013 Run for a Reason Official Charities and start fundraising today!

Posted in Houston Marathon Committee | 1 Comment

The Streets of Houston that Led to London

Photo Credit: Victah Sailor

As London prepares to welcome the world on Friday, July 27th, at the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, the Houston Marathon Committee looks back six months ago when the Bayou City hosted the country’s finest long-distance runners at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon.

The first U.S. Olympic Trials of the year, the men’s and women’s marathons featured 300 elite athletes competing for six spots on Team USA.  The USOC branded all Olympic Trials events as “The Road to London,” but it was on the streets of Houston where the historical men’s and women’s marathon competitions were contested and an estimated 40,000 spectators witnessed the skill, mental fortitude, and toughness of these amazing athletes.

Photo Credit: Victah Sailor

On Saturday, January 14th, the men and women raced on the same course simultaneously for the first time in the history of the Olympic Trials Marathon, and the result was two of the fastest races ever as the six men and women who will represent Team USA in London earned their way on to the squad.

Shalane Flanagan set an Olympic Trials record of 2:25:38 in only her second marathon, while Meb Keflezighi earned his third Olympic berth by winning the Trials in a personal best time of 2:09:08. Flanagan led a Trials record five women under 2:30 while Meb led four men under 2:10 for the first time in Trials history.

At the London Olympic Games, the Women’s Marathon will be conducted on August 5th and the Men’s Marathon will be run on August 12th with both races beginning at 11:00 a.m., London time.  The course in London will feature an 8-mile loop with numerous turns, which will be familiar for Team USA because the Trials course in Houston was designed to replicate the Olympic course.  Houston’s course featured a 2.2 mile loop in downtown Houston that the runners ran once before they ran an 8-mile loop three times that led them from the GRB Convention Center, up Memorial Drive to Shepherd Drive and returning on Allen Parkway.  On a sunny, crisp morning, six runners scorched the Houston-course and punched their tickets to London.

Team USA – Men

Keflezighi’s performance (Mammoth Lakes, Calif) came only 69 days after his last marathon, where he also ran athen personal best time of 2:09:13 to place sixth at the 2011 ING New York City Marathon. The 2009 ING New York City Marathon winner and 2004 Olympic silver medalist became the first man to win both the U.S. Olympic Trials and the New York City Marathon in his career. At nearly 37 years old, he is the oldest man to win the Olympic Marathon Trials.

Defending Olympic Trials champion Ryan Hall (Flagstaff, Ariz), who set the American Half Marathon Record in Houston in 2007, led much of the race en route to securing his second Olympic berth. Hall set a torrid pace early, with a projected finish of 2:06 that held up through the half-marathon mark. Wind and leg fatigue slowed Hall’s pace, as he shook his arms out regularly, but it wasn’t enough to keep him from again making the Olympic marathon team as he finished second in 2:09:30.

Abdi Abdirahman (Tucson, Ariz.) turned heads in the lead pack. Entering the Trials with the 14th-fastest qualifying time, Abdi hadn’t run under 2:14 since setting his personal best of 2:08:56 in 2006. Soldiering through a year and a half of injury, Abdirahman finished third in 2:09:47 to clock his fastest marathon since 2006 and make his fourth Olympic Team at age 34.

Photo Credit: Smiley Pool

Team USA – Women

Flanagan (Portland, Ore.) bettered the women’s Olympic Trials Marathon record by two minutes and forty-seven seconds in her Olympic Trials marathon debut – just the second marathon of her career. Flanagan was in the lead pack throughout the race, but did not step forward as the clear leader until the 21st mile once the lead group of three was clearly set.

Flanagan exchanged the lead with Desiree Davila (Rochester Hills, Mich.) several times before surging ahead at mile 24 to run away with the lead. Her winning time was a personal best by nearly 3 minutes.

Davila on Saturday added the word Olympian to her growing resume. Davila led portions of the race from five miles on before dueling with Flanagan in miles 22 through 24. Once Flanagan took the lead for good, Davila held on to finish in 2:25:55, only 18 seconds back.

The 2007 World Championships bronze medalist at 10,000 meters, Kara Goucher (Portland, Ore.) claimed her first spot on the Olympic Marathon squad by finishing third in 2:26:06. After not competing in 2010 due to maternity, this was Goucher’s second marathon in nine months after her 2:24:26 showing at the 2011 Boston Marathon.

Hard Work Pays Off

Dathan Ritzenhein (Portland, Ore.), the top American marathoner at the 2008 Olympics, knelt at the finish with his head in his hands as he was 4th in 2:09:55, while Amy Hastings (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) could no longer hold the lead at mile 20 and fell back for good to finish in fourth in 2:27:17 in the women’s race, respectively. Only the top three men and women make the Olympic Team.

A mere four months after their heart-breaking finishes in Houston, Ritzenhein and Hastings both earned spots on Team USA with top-three finishes respectively in the 10,000 meters at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon.  After their amazing efforts fell just short in Houston, their triumphs at TrackTown USA on the campus of the University of Oregon were the feel-good stories of the Track & Field Trials last month.

Photo Credit: Victah Sailor

Houston Raises the Bar

On March 10th, 2010, media and fans gathered at City Hall for the formal announcement that the Houston Marathon Committee had won the bid to host the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon.  Houston, New York and Boston were invited by USA Track & Field to bid on the events.  Prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the women’s Trials were conducted in Boston and the men’s race was hosted by New York.  Never before in the history of the Olympic Trials Marathon had the men and women raced on the same course at the same time.  But on this day, executives from USATF joined Houston Mayor Annise Parker, and Race Director Brant Kotch to formally announce the historic decision that Houston would host both races in 2012.

From that point forward, the Houston Marathon Committee, led by over 100 dedicated volunteers and a 10-person staff, collaborated with Civic leaders, local public safety experts, and representatives from the USOC and USATF to plan the monumental event.  In addition to creating a course to replicate London’s track in an effort to best prepare the athletes, Houston conducted a test event in January of 2011 to best prepare the Local Organizing Committee.  The 2011 U.S. Half Marathon Championships were conducted a year prior to the Trials to evaluate operations, infrastructure and logistics.

That preparation allowed local organizers to spend the next year planning numerous aspects of the event including an interactive fan zone and an unprecedented opening ceremony, both conducted at Discover Green adjacent to the Finish Line where Team USA was crowned.  The interactive event called “Trials Town,” featured the USOC’s “Road to London” tour featuring a dozen interactive stations for the general public to learn more about a variety of Olympic Sports.  Houston was the first on a four-city tour that concluded at Rockefeller Square in New York City 100 days prior to the Olympic Games.  The Opening Ceremony featured a proclamation from Mayor Annise Parker, a tribute to honorary captains and marathon gold medalists Frank Shorter and Joan Benoit-Samuelson, a parade of athletes, and many other special presentations.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Franco

The decision to host both the men and the women simultaneously garnered the attention of the national running community, as Running USA hosted its national convention in conjunction with the event attracting over 500 running executives to Houston.  Numerous running-industry corporations hosted top-level executives for the Trials, and all participated or attended the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon on Sunday.

Over 700 media credentials were issued to representatives from 120 media outlets nation-wide.  The Trials, which were broadcast nationally in a two-hour time-slot on NBC a mere three hours after the event concluded, were featured in numerous publications including Sports Illustrated, USA Today, and the New York Times.

Most recently, the Houston Marathon Committee received national recognition for earning Basic Certification from the Council of Responsible Sport for sustainability achievements and green initiatives.  Coupled with a Silver Certification for Sunday’s events, the HMC became the first organization ever to be awarded dual certification for two separate events conducted on consecutive days.

This honor, in addition to all of the aforementioned achievements, resulted in an Olympic Trials that “raised the bar” for future organizing committees in all sports according to USOC officials.  None of which would have been possible without the partnership of leaders at the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, the Downtown Business District, the Harris County Houston Sports Authority, the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Houston First, to name a few.

Most of all it was the support of the tireless volunteers and the running community of Houston that made this event an overwhelming success.

As we watch Team USA compete against an extremely talented field in both marathon events in London, the city of Houston and the local running community can take pride in the fact that we prepared and honored these athletes, and hosted a historical and unprecedented Olympic Trials Marathon in 2012.

Check out more photos from the 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon on Flickr!

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13 Fast Facts about the Official Chevron Houston Marathon Veterans!

We know you have seen our Houston Marathon Veterans sporting their official shirts around town and during the Chevron Houston Marathon each year.  These amazing guys and gals are runners who have successfully finished 10 or more Houston marathons!  They organize and put together the Pace Teams each year and successfully guide 1000s of runners to their goal times!

In the words of Jack Lippincott, a dedicated Houston Marathoner and Veteran Captain, “I think that the Veterans represent probably the largest gang of longtime supporters of our race; and, it is due to the dedication and hard work on the part of the full-time staff, and the thousands of volunteers who make the event possible. The fact that many of our Vets come from out of state, and continue doing the race into their 60’s and 70’s, is testament to the fact that you are getting it right – over and over again…”

Here are 13 Reasons Why the  Chevron Houston Marathon Official Veterans Rock!

1.  There are 1054 Official Houston Marathon Veterans.

2.  There are 583 “active” Veterans who have participated in the last two years.

3.  There are 124 active Female Vets and 459 active Male Vets.

4.  The average age of the Houston Marathon Veteran is 53.

5.  The average number of Houston Marathon’s run by our Veterans is 15!

6.  9 active Veterans that have run 30 or more Houston Marathons!

    • Jack Lippincott – 38
    • Rick McMahan – 35
    • Clent Mericle – 35
    • Arlen Isham – 34
    • Ray Boytim – 34
    • Wayne Rutledge – 33
    • Charlie Viers – 32
    • Lonnie Brauner – 31
    • Boris Balic – 31
    • Stephen McNeil – 30
    • Rudy Alvarez – 30

7.  19 Veterans are 70 years of age and over finished the 2012 Chevron Houston Marathon!

    • Ray Boytim – 79
    • Bill Duer – 78
    • Boris Baliz – 76
    • Lee Miksch – 76
    • Jim Braden – 76
    • Dan Shuff – 76
    • William Hall – 74
    • John Fredrickson – 73
    • Don Winkley – 73
    • Carl Lindsey – 72
    • Gunnar Sanden – 72
    • James Stubbs – 71
    • Larry Lindeen – 71
    • Dipankar Mukherjee – 71
    • Charlie Viers – 70
    • Fred Steves – 70
    • Robert Hoekman – 70
    • Lee Topham – 70
    • Tom Bednarz – 70

8.  139 Vets are “streaking” –  having run 10 or more Houston Marathons consecutively.

9.  The fastest time ever run by a Vet is 2:11:43 by 11 year Vet Sam Ngatia in 1985.

10.  The fastest time run by a Male Vet in 2012 was by 14 year Vet Peter Lawrence in 2:41:58.

11.  The fastest time run by a Female Vet in 2012 was by 15 year Vet Barbara Stoll in 3:03:26.

12.  The youngest active Veterans are 28 year olds – Brett Davis (13 finishes) and Elaine Ewing (10 finishes).

13.  420 Veterans are ALREADY signed up for the 2013 Chevron Houston Marathon!

For more information about the Veteran program, please visit http://chevronhoustonmarathon.com/Marathon/Veterans.cfm. On this page, you can track all official Houston Marathon finishes since 1972!

Posted in 13 Fast Facts | 4 Comments

Huge Turn-out for 2012-2013 Chevron Houston Marathon Run for a Reason Kick-Off

For those who regularly make the trek out to run at Memorial Park on Saturday mornings, there was a bonus this weekend.  Beginning at 7:00 am on Saturday, June 30th, the annual Chevron Houston Marathon Run for a Reason Kick-Off Party took place in Memorial Park. An event conducted in the past on Thursday evenings in September, Kick-Off attracted thousands of visitors on its new day and time enabling more people to flock to the park who might otherwise still be at the office.  The fun was scheduled to last until 11:00 am, but unfortunately the combination of lightning in the area and ominous weather reports required tear-down and load-out to begin at about 10:15 am.

The new event location was also received quite favorably.  Moving from its traditional location west of the softball fields, this year the event was conducted in a high-profile area for runners and park visitors at the south-side entrance, east of the volleyball courts.  The high visibility location on Memorial Drive attracted those who may not have been aware of the new changes.

Prior to the start of Kickoff, over 300 runners already formed a line to pick up their free In-Training shirts. The shirts were in such high demand, all 2,000 were given away in 75 minutes. Other official merchandise available at the event included Under Armour Run for a Reason shirts that were sold for $20 apiece with all proceeds going towards the charitable program.  

Our partners at Chevron, Aramco Services Company, ABB Inc., and Michelob Ultra joined in the festivities by providing free trinkets, beverages and snacks to all of the runners in attendance.

One of the primary forces behind moving Kick-Off to an earlier date that immediately followed this year’s lottery participant announcement, is to give selected runners the opportunity to learn more about our 60 Official Charities and how to fundraise as a runner.    Visitors were also able to learn more about local running clubs to enhance their training experience leading up to race weekend on January 12-13, 2013.

It also affords those who were not selected, or who were unable to register, an opportunity to purchase a guaranteed HERO entry or a “Fundraising for Registration” entry directly from one of the wonderful charities.  Charity race entries, which are still available on our official website, enable runners to not only join in the sport they love, but also to help out a favored cause.

The Run for a Reason Kick-Off party also featured registration for the recently announced ABB 5K, which will be conducted on Saturday, January 12, at 8:00 am.

Even if you missed this year’s wonderful celebration, you can still sign up with a Run for a Reason charity in order to guarantee yourself a spot in the 2013 Chevron Houston Marathon or Aramco Houston Half Marathon at www.RunforaReasonHouston.org. And for those who wish to purchase an In-Training or Run For A Reason T-shirt, both will be available for a low price on the merchandise page of our website, www.chevronhoustonmarathon.com, later this week.

Please visit Flickr to view more pictures of the morning festivities.

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