HOUSTON - As the Chevron Houston Marathon draws near, runners are getting ready for what promises to be an exciting race.
A 5K is scheduled for Saturday and the full marathon is scheduled for Sunday. The race starts at Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston, runs through Rice and West University and it then passes along the Galleria, Tanglewood and Memorial Park and finishes up back in downtown in front of the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Runners said they're excited about the course.
"Nicest crew, good course, good weather even with the rain," said runner John Sotomayor.
It's the largest single-day sporting event in Houston, with a record 25,000 registered runners and attracting more than 250,000 spectators, including nearly 7,500 volunteers, to downtown Houston. I
Houston mayor Annise Parker said Houston is a great place for a marathon.
"Houston does great sporting events very well. There is no sporting event that has the history that we have with the marathon," said Parker.
"After seeing the field, it's hard not to get excited," said elite runner Luke Puskedra. "I decided to build my whole peak of the season around this race."
The Chevron Houston Marathon race weekend accounts for more than $50 million in economic impact annually for the Houston area.
Wet, windy weather expected
The Houston marathon weekend will be a wet and windy one. Runners in the 5K on Saturday, the AARAMCO Half Marathon and full Chevron Houston Marathon on Sunday will face rainy and windy conditions.
The changes this weekend come along with a cold front that will cause a drop in temperatures from the 70s Friday to the 40s on Sunday afternoon, just as marathoners are finishing their races.
Kirstin Anderson said she looks forward to what will be cooler temperatures.
"I like running in the cold," she said. "I prefer it to be cold, but I hope it doesn't rain too much."
Garrett Rychlik is a veteran runner and agreed with Anderson.
"Yeah, 40s are perfect, but with the rain mixed in, then you're looking at different type of clothing to wear -- and then the wind. It's not a good thing to have to battle the cold, the wind and the rain at the same time."
Chevron Houston Marathon organizers said they expect up to 200,000 spectators for the weekend. They won't have the luxury of running to keep warm, so the best advice is to dress for winter cold and rain by wearing warm and water-resistant layers, and make sure you head and feet are dry and warm.
Kathleeen Lane is in Houston to cheer on a friend and said she expects to have a jacket and an umbrella for protection and that's all.
If the forecast is anything close to being right, Lane may want to change those plans.
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