It'll be cold for Houston Marathon but that's not weird

By Justin Stapleton - KPRC Weekend Meteorologist

Runners wearing hoodies and jackets jog through downtown during the Houston Marathon in January 2017.

HOUSTON - When thousands of runners and walkers take to the streets of Houston this Sunday, they may be doing so during one of the coldest Houston Marathons we've seen since -- last year.

That's right. The 2018 marathon had a temperature of 28 degrees at the 7 a.m. starting block and featured clear skies and likely very little wind.

In fact, aside from 2017, which was one of the more toasty starting temps at a balmy 62 degrees, the average temperature for the start of the marathon during the past seven years has been between the mid-30s and low 40s.


For most runners, those are pretty ideal conditions -- not too hot and not too cold. The biggest factor, as any marathoner or even casual runner will tell you, is if you're fighting a headwind, which makes for a much more difficult run during those 13.1 or 26.2 miles.

One of the most grueling endurance tests for Houston Marathon runners came during the 1997 race. That morning, runners and walkers faced not only bitter cold as temperatures never rose above freezing, but sleet and wind coming in sideways at times. The conditions were so miserable, the race became a test of survival versus speed. 

The forecast temperature for this year's race Sunday will be around 30 degrees, making it one to layer up for if you're gutting out the miles or cheering on the sidelines. The wild card this year will be that we could see windy conditions, which would put the wind chill between 15 and 25 degrees at the starting line.

So this year, those that hit the pavement may be getting hit with another obstacle from Mother Nature as well as some very tired legs.

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