I am a denisen of the press conference. Much can be seen and learnt from how the press conference is run, how the city represents itself and how the event management cajoles local media and dignitaries to attend. Here is my piece on the Chevron Houston Marathon Presser.
Mayor Sylvester Turner is a real character. The Houston mayor obviously enjoys his job, and speaking at events such as the press conference for Houston is one of those must do events, which he also enjoys. Truth is, the Mayor seems to enjoy it. He knows a bit about running, he complemented the Houston marathon as the 'largest event' in a busy weekend. For a mayor who will soon host the SuperBowl, among other things (and a pretty good basketball team, I believe), the Mayor laid on the superlatives for the Chevron Houston Marathon. Of course, the good mayor noted that while, " I would like to run the race, I have this old football injury", which was greeted with some laughter. Mayor Sylvester Turner knows how to work a crowd.
I was always impressed with the ability of the Houston Marathon to bring in both Chevron and Aramco as sponsors. On the dais, both Chevron and Aramco complemented each other and noted how important it is to support the local community.
Wade Moorehead, Executive Director of the Chevron Houston Marathon did the intros and noted that the race has brought $27 milllion over the last twenty years to Houston charities. With 62 offiical charities, the Houston Marathon provides the runners with reasons to support the local charities in a big way.
What is striking about the Houston Marathon? Well, 27,000 plus runners this weekend, with nearly six thousand in the ABB 5k on Saturday and 13,500 in the marathon and 13,500 in the half marathon on Sunday.
Feyisa Lelisa, Olympic silver medalist is racing the half marathon, which he won in 2012 and 2013. Mary Wacera ran 66:29, the fastest half ever run in North America, on the Aramco Houston Half in 2016-and she is back! Mary noted that she is the focus of many athletes wanting to defeat her now. She takes it good naturedly, but she knows it is true. Bazu Worku, who won the Houston marathon in 2013 and 2014, is one of them, having moved from the marathon distance to the half marathon distance for 2017. Joining Worku in the half marathon is 2011 marathon winner Mamitu Daska.
The half marathon course is fast and flat. 2017 is the decade anniversary of Ryan Hall's masterful run over 13.1 miles, where he ran 59:43, breaking the national mark (set in 1985) by the amazing Mark Curp.
A runner of note is Bob Eury. Bob has run the Houston marathon for the past 33 editions. This year will be his 34th Houston! Bob was the volunteer Chairman of the Houston Host Committee for the 2012 Olympic Marahton Trials. Houston made history in 2012, when they hosted the Men's and Women's Trials conquerently.
The weather will be very hot and humid this weekend. The Houston race committee has asked us to make sure runners and walkers know that this weekend will not be PB weather. Slow it down, wear loose clothing and a hat and if you need to take walking breaks, do it. In 75 degrees and 90 percent humidity, one does not want to overdue it. Fit runners can get sick or worse, too, so mind the warnings!
The 2017 Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Half Marathon and ABB 5k give runners of all abilities events to run or walk in. Just be careful this weekend, and remember, next year could be cool and allow you a chance to run very, very fast!