Don’t waste time! Register for the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon! I ran the Aramco Houston Half Marathon for the past two years, and I’ll be the first one to tell you this race is by faaaar one of the coolest ones in Houston!
Take advantage of Early Bird Registration for both races and get lower prices. Whether this is your first or fiftieth big race, here are 10 reasons why you should sign up for the 2018 Houston Marathon or Half Marathon!
- The race course is flat. God Bless Houston for having probably one of the most level running courses in the country. Outside of a few hills on the homestretch headed down Allen Parkway, the course for both the Houston Marathon and Houston Half Marathon is quite manageable–perfect for newbie runners! Check out the 2017 course elevation map and its nonexistent hills.
- Cheering section is out of control. I have never seen so many people collectively awake and rocking out at 8am. An estimated 200,000 supporters come out for the event. Literally every inch of the race course is packed with bands, dance troupes, tailgates, DJs, company booths and more. The energy of the spectators is awesome! Even in your darkest, most exhausted moments filled with blisters and sweat, it’s exciting to be out there running because there are so many people motivating you to finish!
- January weather is [usually] great!. The race is the second weekend of January which is arguably the most pleasant time in Houston to be athletic outside. Granted, the Houston weather is unpredictable and last year the temperature on race day was 75 degrees and sunny, but chances are good *prays to weather gods* that the weather will be mild.
- Drinks are everywhere. If you want to enjoy a Jell-O shot at Mile 4 or sip on a mimosa at Mile 8, you can. I was a bit wary of the signs near the water station that said “This might be vodka,” but I definitely had some beer (thanks Karbach!) around Mile 11 and have no regrets. Last year at that dark place past exhaustion somewhere around Mile 21, Michelob and Clif Bar had a huuugge set up to cheer people on during the home stretch.
- Training in Houston is fun! In the weeks leading up the race, chances are good the weather will be mostly mild for training and getting in your long runs. If you’re like me and need to change things up a bit to stay engaged while running, you’re in luck! The city is packed with loads of fun trails and bayous to get whatever mileage you want, here are some of my favorite places to run in Houston.
- Sunday brunch. We all run for different reasons–health, in memory of someone, personal achievement, etc. I’m definitely one of those people who run for food/beer (see bullet #4). Speaking from experience, the Sunday brunch enjoyed after running 13.1 miles is the most rewarding meal of the year. For recommendations on where to brunch on race weekend, see my post from last year on Where to Watch the Houston Marathon.
- New Years Resolutions. The race is the second week of January. What better way to start off the new year on the right foot (literally) than with a casual 13 – 26 mile run? If you’re looking to achieve some fitness goals, this is a great place to start.
- Sense of accomplishment. Whether this is your first half marathon or your 30th marathon (yes, there are people out there like that), the moment you cross the finish line is still exhilarating every time. I thought I was just going to run one half marathon and check it off my bucket list, but here I am three years later still running and now even representing the race! Also, shout out to the guy with the microphone at the finish line. He calls you out by name and his enthusiasm is contagious.
GoodGREAT exercise. This might be a no-brainer, but obviously you’ve got to have some sort of athleticism and discipline to complete a race like this. I enjoy training for half marathons because it motivates me to create a training plan and stick to it. If you’re a newbie runner, no worries! I was in your shoes too! Pretty recently, I made the transition from water polo to land sportsrunning and survived to tell the tale. You can read about the adventures from my first half marathon training (like running 6 miles for the first time) and what I learned during the experience.
- Registration fills up FAST. If you’re even mildly considering running the Houston Marathon or Houston Half Marathon, just sign up and do it. The course fills up fast–27,000 spots gone within a few weeks, so you definitely want to claim your spot now! You have 6+ months to figure out the logistics of training and whatnot.
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