Overall Rating
Overall Rating (31 Reviews)
4.5
(31 Ratings)(31 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.4
SCENERY
3
PRODUCTION
4.6
SWAG
4.3
The Houston Marathon Committee annually organizes the nation’s premier winter marathon, half-marathon, and 5K. Over 250,000 participants, volunteers and spectators make Chevron Houston Marathon Race Day the largest single-day sporting event in Houston. Race weekend events include: Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon, ABB 5K, Bank of Texas Team … MORE
Local Weather (Jan 18)
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H (°F) 70 38 72 62 69
L (°F) 57 27 57 38 46
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Recent reviews

    Profile photo of Courtney King
    cpwofford0990 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Nice and flat! I finally bagged a sub 4! The race offered several pace groups if you’re looking to hit a certain time. The expo was huge I could have … MORE

    Nice and flat! I finally bagged a sub 4! The race offered several pace groups if you’re looking to hit a certain time. The expo was huge I could have spent an entire afternoon there. The swag was awesome too not only do you get the standard t-shirt and finisher medal but I was also surprised with a finisher t-shirt and a really nice beer mug.

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    BrooklandRunner FIRST-TIMER '16

    What a great race! I had perfect weather and a friend who lives locally. We broke 3 together. Great organization and nice race director and crew. Top notch! MORE

    What a great race! I had perfect weather and a friend who lives locally. We broke 3 together. Great organization and nice race director and crew. Top notch!

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    5
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    3
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    chickiepants FIRST-TIMER '19

    This was my first marathon and I’ll definitely be running it again next year. The course was relatively flat but challenging, and the people were amazing. I finished just outside … MORE

    This was my first marathon and I’ll definitely be running it again next year. The course was relatively flat but challenging, and the people were amazing. I finished just outside the cut-off time but they had a special area for the people who did that was very nice and set up just like the “real” finish. We got all our swag and snacks, and they were so awesome. I hope next year to finish faster but am happy to know that they care just as much about the slow runners as the elites.

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    donknox REPEAT RUNNER '19

    The Houston Marathon is just a really good and heavily participated run. You will never run very far alone during this event. I had planned for this to be my … MORE

    The Houston Marathon is just a really good and heavily participated run. You will never run very far alone during this event. I had planned for this to be my big BQ 2020 attempt and the course did NOT disappoint. While I bettered my time from the Dallas Marathon 6 weeks prior – I honestly believe I would have run about 3 to 4 minutes faster had I not run Dallas as hard as I ran it.
    There is one hill around Mile 5.5 that is really a bridge. The only other hill of note on the course is around 25 and that is running up the underpass coming into Downtown Houston. Relative flat is a good and fair statement for course technical difficulty. I gave the race 3 shoes for difficulty because of the distance. Any marathon should rate at least 3 shoes for difficulty because you are on your feet for such a long time.

    Crowd support and aid stations are fantastic. Houston really shows off and it is impressive. Will run again next year! Only negative (personal opinion only) are the finishers’ shirts – I would prefer a long-sleeved shirt.

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    rickyo REPEAT RUNNER '19

    This is my second year running the marathon after doing the half for a couple of years. This race is a lot of fun. There are spectators and cheering almost … MORE

    This is my second year running the marathon after doing the half for a couple of years. This race is a lot of fun. There are spectators and cheering almost the entire length of the course. Beer towards the end and terrific swag. They organizers have this down to a science and everything goes off without a hitch.

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    rickyo FIRST-TIMER '18

    My first marathon and at my age (60) I truly questioned if I could do it. But lots of support beforehand encouraged me to try. The course spectators are a … MORE

    My first marathon and at my age (60) I truly questioned if I could do it. But lots of support beforehand encouraged me to try. The course spectators are a blast. Rock bands, mariachis and all kinds of other cheerleaders makes this a fun time. At mile 17, all my neighbors were out. I couldn’t quit then so I had to finish.
    It was great to add completing a marathon to my bucket list.

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    M_Sohaskey Sep 17, 2018 at 12:36pm

    Congrats on conquering the marathon, Rick! You definitely choose well with Houston, and great to hear you had all the support you needed to accomplish your goal since the distance… MORE

    Congrats on conquering the marathon, Rick! You definitely choose well with Houston, and great to hear you had all the support you needed to accomplish your goal since the distance is no joke. Here's hoping this is the first of many marathon finishes for you, and good luck at Big Sur next spring, I'll be rooting for you — now that you know what to expect, you'll be ready to tackle one of the nation's toughest road courses! LESS

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    Profile photo of Adam Brooks
    abbfla66 FIRST-TIMER '17

    Decided to do the marathon in one of my favorite cities, but due to injuries etc had to switch to the half. No headaches to change, super organized. Lots of … MORE

    Decided to do the marathon in one of my favorite cities, but due to injuries etc had to switch to the half. No headaches to change, super organized. Lots of supporters and music on the route. Best expo I’ve ever been to. Flat course with lots of spectators and supporters. A little hot, but it’s Houston.

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    donknox FIRST-TIMER '18

    I ran this race to see if it really was flat. Having just run Berlin a few months prior - it is not completely flat like Berlin but it'll do … MORE

    I ran this race to see if it really was flat. Having just run Berlin a few months prior – it is not completely flat like Berlin but it’ll do and it is way less crowded than Berlin. The only downside was the finish and post-race area. Extremely crowded and somewhat confusing. All in all it is a “do again” and if I duplicate my 2018 time in 2019 then I BQ for 2020 which is the goal. The finisher’s mug is awesome.

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    Profile photo of Stephen Orr
    dungoggallery FIRST-TIMER '18

    I ran a really solid race in richmond, virginia in 11/17 and wanted a race to try for a pr. houston popped up as a possibility and other runners recommended … MORE

    I ran a really solid race in richmond, virginia in 11/17 and wanted a race to try for a pr. houston popped up as a possibility and other runners recommended it as super well organised and a fast course. it was both of those things. I flew in on the friday and stayed at an airb&b right near the convention centre. the expo was cool. easy to get around and a few good speakers on the main stage. saturday throws in a 5km if you want to shake out pre race. i’m always in for another tshirt and it was nice to get a feel of the city and run through the proper race finish line. sunday morning and I was up early for the 7am start. this race knows what it is doing. I didn’t need to go to the convention centre for the pre race but everyone commmented how organised everything is. the starting area had plenty of space and all the usual pre race nervousness from competitors. 7am sharp and you are away. the course is the course. they run the houston half on the same day, same time and that draws a super hot field and a lot of national attention. 2018 and a new american record was set in the ladies, but I digress….the field splits around eight miles and it was nice to see off the half runners and see who I was up against. sufficient water stations and sporadic course support. the course is flat. the course has a lot of concrete which can bash up the legs a bit more than other surfaces. the course is fast. I can’t say I remember too much about scenery or special highlights. I was there to run fast and as I headed back into the city I needed a big big finish to run my first sub 3. houston gives you a great finish. no little rises or surprises. I ran the last mile in 6:24 and snuck under three hours by thirteen seconds. would I recommend houston ? hell yeah….

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    M_Sohaskey Apr 25, 2018 at 4:47pm

    Lucky 13 seconds! Congrats on the big sub-3 Stephen, and especially to your quads for staying strong despite absorbing all that concrete. I ran Houston as well this year, though… MORE

    Lucky 13 seconds! Congrats on the big sub-3 Stephen, and especially to your quads for staying strong despite absorbing all that concrete. I ran Houston as well this year, though from a different perspective since I started at the very back to fundraise for the Food Bank based on the number of runners passed. But like you I'd recommend this one without reservation, and luckily the ice storm held off until after the race. Appreciate your excellent review, and keep running strong! LESS

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    kristynauhles FIRST-TIMER '18

    This was a great way to stretch my legs and start marathon weekend. The course is flat and moderately crowded. A lot of families with children out running and enjoying … MORE

    This was a great way to stretch my legs and start marathon weekend. The course is flat and moderately crowded. A lot of families with children out running and enjoying the shorter race distance. Overall fantastic experience. You receive participation t-shirt and medal.

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    kristynauhles FIRST-TIMER '18

    I really enjoyed the Houston Marathon, loved the flat course with plentiful water stations and tons of fans along the course. The only hills are towards the end of the … MORE

    I really enjoyed the Houston Marathon, loved the flat course with plentiful water stations and tons of fans along the course. The only hills are towards the end of the race but overall the course is pretty flat. Fans line the majority of the course with only a few areas are lacking fan support.

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    Mueller375 FIRST-TIMER '14

    I started running in mid 2013 and signed up for this to be my first half. After overtraining I decided the half would be so easy that I would make … MORE

    I started running in mid 2013 and signed up for this to be my first half. After overtraining I decided the half would be so easy that I would make it a challenge and do the full. I have lived in Houston (too damn long) and never looked at the course. The course is boring lots of turns and while I had a horrible run time wise I would NEVER suggest this course for a person trying to check off TX on the road to 50. Do the Cowtown it’s a much nicer course better time of year (Jan for Houston and Late Feb for Cowtown) which means you get to start training later in the year for people living in hotter areas you can start training in August vs. starting in late sept means the temp drops a few degrees and it helps

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    Profile photo of Jennifer Turner-Globensky
    jenniferglobensky REPEAT RUNNER '18

    This was my second year running Houston. It is set up so nice, with a really good expo. You get a race shirt, Finisher Shirt and Finisher Mug!! The after … MORE

    This was my second year running Houston. It is set up so nice, with a really good expo. You get a race shirt, Finisher Shirt and Finisher Mug!! The after party and organization is great. The course is flat and a great opportunity for a PR is the weather is nice.. of course, the volunteers take such good care if you throughout the weekend!

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    Katie_Ho FIRST-TIMER '18

    The Houston Marathon ABB 5K is a well-organized kickoff to Marathon weekend. We flew into Houston the night before, so took advantage of race-morning packet pick-up. We stayed at the … MORE

    The Houston Marathon ABB 5K is a well-organized kickoff to Marathon weekend. We flew into Houston the night before, so took advantage of race-morning packet pick-up. We stayed at the Aloft Hotel downtown, so it was easy to walk to all event activities – I arrived at 7:15am and had my bib & gear check bag a good 25 minutes before the 8:00am start of the race. Even though the Expo didn’t open until 8:30am, the adjacent George R Brown Convention Center was open, so we were able to wait inside and use their facilities, which was wonderful given that it was 34 degrees outside… colder than this SoCal girl is used to!

    The 5K course is a simple out-and-back on two downtown city streets, running southwest of Discovery Green. Flat and not a lot to see, but I was pleasantly surprised at the number of spectators out cheering on the runners. With so many runners and so much excitement I started out way too fast and ran inconsistent mile splits, but overall felt strong the whole way and my overall pace was more or less what I expected. My Garmin recorded the course a bit long at 3.25 miles, even though I tried to run the tangents.

    On crossing the finish line we were handed a medal and small bottle of water. There were vendors at the post-race festival on the Discovery Green, but I was so cold I headed straight back into the convention center. We went to the Expo where Mike picked up his packet, then we strolled around and shopped for Skechers shoes – they have a giant booth where they sell shoes & apparel plus official race merchandise. Found a nice place for brunch (MKT Bar) a couple blocks away on the way back to the hotel.

    Swag-wise, the 5K medal was appropriately-sized, but without a strong reference to Houston, and the red cotton tee was just fine. Great morning for running (despite the cold) and always fun being with lots of other happy runners!

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    Lorelei Feb 16, 2018 at 5:45pm

    The level of spectatorship can really make or break a race. I know I get a lot of energy from all the cheers! I’m glad to hear you have such… MORE

    The level of spectatorship can really make or break a race. I know I get a lot of energy from all the cheers! I’m glad to hear you have such great support. I had to laugh a little at the temperature. As a Cleveland’s, 34 degrees is a heatwave right now. Lol! LESS

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    M_Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '18

    BOTTOM LINE: Recommending the Houston Marathon is as easy as sliding off a greasy log backward. Houston is a crown jewel of the US marathon circuit, being one of the … MORE

    BOTTOM LINE: Recommending the Houston Marathon is as easy as sliding off a greasy log backward. Houston is a crown jewel of the US marathon circuit, being one of the more smartly planned, flawlessly organized and professionally executed marathons you’ll ever have the pleasure of running. With 7,000 marathon finishers and over 11,000 half marathon finishers this year, it’s the tenth-largest marathon in the country. And yet everything flows so smoothly throughout the weekend, from the pre-race expo to the post-race exit from the George R. Brown Convention Center, that you almost won’t mind being herded like cattle into the crowded start corrals on race morning — and especially if race day temperatures hover around freezing like they did this year.

    The race itself was a high-energy tour of the nation’s fourth-largest city, with an untold number of HOOPLA (cheer) stations set up along the course, along with a diverse array of musical performers to keep you constantly entertained and keep your mind distracted from the fact you’re running 26.2 miles on one of the hardest surfaces on the planet. The course is largely flat and speedy, though several wickedly positioned uphill jags in the final four miles will look to sap whatever life remains in your concrete-stricken legs. And once you cross the finish and collect your well-deserved medal, actual breakfast food awaits inside the George R. Brown (see “Production” below). Apologies to all you diehard fans of green bananas and stale bagels.

    I ran this race differently than I had any of my other 29 marathons, starting from the very back (nearly 54 minutes after the gun) and passing runners to raise money (over $8,000!) for the Houston Food Bank’s Harvey relief efforts. So my focus throughout the race was less on enjoying myself (though I definitely did) and more on amassing “roadkill” (to use the Ragnar term for runners passed). That said, this struck me as an ideal marathon (or half) for first-timers, with so many raucous spectators and supporters — 250,000, according to the race website — to keep propelling you forward when the Gatorade and energy gels no longer can.

    As a mobile supporter who likes to spectate at several points along the course, Katie had a tougher time in Houston than at most other races. Luckily the race provides a handy business card-sized Spectator Guide that folds out like an accordion, so figuring out where you want to see your runner on the course is easy enough. Getting there, on the other hand, can be a logistical nightmare. Katie spent much of the morning directing Lyft or Uber drivers who either didn’t realize the marathon was happening or didn’t know how to circumnavigate road closures to reach her destination. As it turns out, having her own vehicle would have made the morning more manageable and less stressful — something to keep in mind if you’re planning to be a mobile spectator yourself.

    Disclaimer: I grew up in Texas and graduated from Rice University, so I already had a strong personal connection to the city. Even objectively, though, Houston is a must-run event for the hardcore marathoner or half marathoner based on the three E’s: efficiency, energy and all-around excellence. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the city’s unity and pride were on full (and vociferous) display throughout the weekend, and I’m psyched to have played a small role in helping a world-class city get its groove back.

    PRODUCTION: In the best situation, producing a 20,000+ person event in a major urban center is a significant challenge. Throw in one of the most devastating natural disasters in U.S. history, and you add a level of complexity and uncertainty to the mix that would cripple most race organizations. And yet the Houston Marathon team managed the unforeseen arrival of Hurricane Harvey like the experts they are. And any arguments I might have with the production are more suggestions than gripes.

    The 2018 Race Program provided a wealth of interesting and relevant information about race weekend, the runners and the city itself. And honestly I read more of the program in Houston than I did in either Boston or New York City. Flooding apparently moved this year’s expo to a smaller hall than previous years within the George R. Brown Convention Center (GRB); however, packet pickup was quick and easy, and the expo itself was very manageable and easily navigated within an hour, even with several stops at sponsor booths (gotta check out all the races!).

    I stopped at exactly zero aid stations on the course, but I did notice water and Gatorade were provided in different-colored cups (water in plain Dixie cups, Gatorade in branded cups). As trivial as this may sound, visually differentiating the two helps to alleviate in-race confusion, particularly for the tired runner, and it’s one of my litmus tests for whether a race organizer knows their stuff. Because many don’t.

    Immediately after the race, finishers were funneled into the GRB. There we collected more swag (see below), enjoyed a McMuffin-style breakfast and ice cream sandwich plus hot and cold drinks while chatting with fellow finishers, and finally reunited with friends and family to wander the “We Are Houston” RunFest set up on the Discovery Green outside the convention center. In my experience this smartly conceived, one-way directionality of post-race traffic flow (exit –> swag pickup –> breakfast –> gear check –> family reunion) on such a massive scale is unique to Houston. And while it arguably makes life more difficult for family members who have to wait at one end of the hall for their runner to reach them, it’s easy to see how creating this “finishers only” space would benefit the runners by reducing both traffic and confusion, particularly in the dining area. Though I can’t imagine this setup is optimal for sponsors who are (literally) left out in the cold in their tents on Discovery Green — aside from HEB which provided breakfast, Skechers was the only sponsor I noticed with presence inside the GRB.

    And speaking of Skechers, all official Houston Marathon apparel and merchandise is 50% off at the Skechers booth on race day. So if you’re willing to wait and gamble that your size will still be in stock come Sunday, you can score some pretty sweet deals on everything from water bottles to shoes. I actually train in Skechers and ran the marathon in the Skechers GoRun Ride 6, so I can vouch for the fact the company makes a very comfy running shoe.

    The GRB opens on 5:00am on race day to accommodate early-arriving runners, a nice convenience and especially in bone-chilling cold like we had this year. Coming from out of town, we stayed in the downtown area (at the Aloft Houston Downtown) within walking distance of the start line, and so were able to wake up later than most and arrive after the starter’s pistol had already fired. I’m pretty sure that not having an insanely early wakeup call helped me relax and enjoy one of my best pre-race night’s sleep in recent memory.

    My only real suggestion for the organizers would be to move the celebratory photo-op signage (“Feel the pride,” “Feel the accomplishment” etc) from the finish chute just inside the GRB — where many dazed and exhausted runners passed them by without so much as a glance — to the family reunion area where they’re much more likely to be appreciated. Oh, and I’d recommend rethinking the on-course announcement at miles 20 and 23 that “Registration for the 2019 Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Half Marathon opens this afternoon at 3:00pm!” The timing was so absurd that even in my depleted state, I couldn’t help but laugh in the moment. Or maybe that was the point?

    SWAG: The finisher’s medal is entirely unique and distinctly unTexan, being the creation of local aerosol/graffiti artist Mario E. Figueroa, Jr. aka Gonzo247. And though I wouldn’t have been upset with something in the shape of Texas, as a lover of street art this is a standout addition to my collection. Beyond the medal, runners received not one but two shirts — a Gildan short-sleeve cotton tee at registration with “Run Houston Strong” printed on front and a Skechers short-sleeve performance finisher’s tee after the race, which like the medal features Gonzo’s artwork above the word “FINISHER.” But wait, there’s more! Unfortunately, that “more” came in the form of a glass finisher’s mug that I will never use and which will sit on my shelf at home gathering dust for all eternity.

    For more details on my “come from behind” fundraising strategy, check out my blog report at https://wp.me/p2rSqE-1D1

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    PeteSinCA Feb 09, 2018 at 6:13am

    The differentiated cups is a great idea. In small races having the volunteers call out what they have works OK, but when there are scores or hundreds of people going… MORE

    The differentiated cups is a great idea. In small races having the volunteers call out what they have works OK, but when there are scores or hundreds of people going through an aid station every minute, that would get lost in the din. Nice attention to detail by the organizers and sponsor. LESS

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    42kStraley FIRST-TIMER '18

    I loved this race but i was unfortunately stricken by the flu so I didn't get to see how fast this flat course is. I got to see big city … MORE

    I loved this race but i was unfortunately stricken by the flu so I didn’t get to see how fast this flat course is. I got to see big city skyline and quaint southern landscapes. It was a beautiful course. There was a ton of supporters throughout the whole course and I laughed many times at some of the signs and antics of the crowd.

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    M_Sohaskey Jan 16, 2018 at 11:47am

    I know you were looking forward to running this one fast Michael, so I'm sorry you weren't able to make it happen this time. But you're right, it was an… MORE

    I know you were looking forward to running this one fast Michael, so I'm sorry you weren't able to make it happen this time. But you're right, it was an excellent course (despite all the concrete) with amazing, raucous spectator support. And on the bright side, you got to fully enjoy and appreciate the energy of the city on marathon Sunday. Hope you're recovering well from both the flu and the 26.2 miles, and thanks for your review! LESS

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    RGarrett REPEAT RUNNER '15

    This race has amazing community support and people lined along the street almost the full course. It can be warm, but this is know to be a fast course. Mostly … MORE

    This race has amazing community support and people lined along the street almost the full course. It can be warm, but this is know to be a fast course. Mostly flat but does end with a false flat climb to the finish line.

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    Dewpoint over 60 really hampered my race performance and I turned it into a training run with walk breaks. Fast, flat course, but it was so flat that it kind … MORE

    Dewpoint over 60 really hampered my race performance and I turned it into a training run with walk breaks. Fast, flat course, but it was so flat that it kind of burned my legs out; great for a half marathon, but a few more hills for the marathon would have been appreciated. The last stretch down Allen Parkway was actually my favorite stretch! I love the custom finishers mug, but was unable to use it at the post race after party because I didn’t have ID (left it at the hotel and walked to the race). 1st time that’s ever happened at a race. Glad I got to experience the race and course. It’s been on my list for a while. Oh, the homemade breakfast after the finish was the best!

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    cpayne REPEAT RUNNER '17

    11th time running the Houston Marathon & 1st as a Legacy Runner. 32 Marathons, but I always come back to my "hometown hero" race. Not just b/c it's home, but … MORE

    11th time running the Houston Marathon & 1st as a Legacy Runner. 32 Marathons, but I always come back to my “hometown hero” race. Not just b/c it’s home, but because they really know what they are doing.

    First and foremost…..flat! Gotta love it!

    Second and probably even more important….CROWD SUPPORT! The full 26.2 miles is full of people cheering you on. From the people living in the neighborhoods you run thru, from congregation members when you run by their church, to fans who come to watch their family members, to square dance clubs, belly dancers, Elvis, high school bands, cheer leaders….the list goes on and on! I have run 32 marathons and other than the Boston Marathon the Houston Marathon is the best in this category!

    They give a participant shirt, finishers shirt, & finisher mug. Wish they would eliminate 2 shirts and give 1 jacket or something nicer/better quality.

    The Expo is huge! Probably the biggest I have attended (other than Boston of course). Each year seems to be fewer vendors, though, and less promotional items distributed by the vendors.

    Post Race Breakfast is plentiful compared to other races I’ve attended. The local HEB store provides a free sit down hot breakfast of eggs, sausage, biscuits, yogurt, soda, coffee, ice cream, fruit, cookies, etc….. They also have volunteers walking through the Convention Center passing out snacks if you do not want to go to the food court area.

    Tip: The official merchandise is ridiculously priced like most races. Race morning they have it all marked down to 50% off in the runners area before/after the race. Now you can’t guarantee what will or won’t be there, but this year there was a LOT left in all sizes.

    Cannot recommend this race enough for so many different reasons!

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    M_Sohaskey Mar 10, 2017 at 1:01am

    WOW, "11-time runner" says it all, congrats! As a 50 stater who grew up in TX, graduated from Rice and now lives in CA, I'm definitely looking forward to running… MORE

    WOW, "11-time runner" says it all, congrats! As a 50 stater who grew up in TX, graduated from Rice and now lives in CA, I'm definitely looking forward to running Houston soon. Maybe next year, on back-to-back weekends with the Miracle Match in Waco. But then I also want to run the Cowtown... so many races, so little time! Love that Houston does crowd support so well, a race has so much more energy when the community gets involved. And great tip on the official merchandise, that'll be good to keep in mind. Houston, we have a great review... thanks again, Cheri! LESS

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    gjramsey FIRST-TIMER '17

    Great race production, love the GRB for the gathering area pre-race and post-race. Some bottleneck getting out of the GRB this year because of new fencing for the now active … MORE

    Great race production, love the GRB for the gathering area pre-race and post-race. Some bottleneck getting out of the GRB this year because of new fencing for the now active light rail. Love the setup for hydration. Do not like the Sketchers finishers shirt.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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  1. Races
  2. Chevron Houston Marathon & Aramco Houston Half Marathon