The Houston Marathon’s Positive Transformation

The Texas race has blossomed since it was first held in 1972.

The Chevron Houston Marathon and the Aramco Services Half Marathon have come a long way. This Sunday, 22,000 runners are taking it to the streets to test themselves. But such an impressive turnout is relatively new for this 39-year-old race. Back in 1972, only 113 runners showed up to race five laps in Houston’s Memorial Park. Fast-forward to 2002, and the race still hadn’t changed much. That year, the current managing director of the race, Steven Karpas, joined the event’s staff.

“We were still a 26.2-mile local fun run,” he recalls. “We were struggling to draw 7,000 participants. Now we’re having to turn away more than 7,000 applicants.” According to an article posted on, one of the reasons for the growth in the past nine years is the charity fundraising aspect of the race. It’s called the “Run for a Reason” program.

Another reason for the surge in popularity of the race is apparently how well the runners are treated. Some past participants say the superior facilities make them feel like they are being treated like an elite runner.

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