Race Weekend kicks off on Friday, with the Memorial Hermann Ironman Sports Medicine Institute EXPO. The two-day EXPO will attract over 25,000 visitors each day and feature over 100 industry vendors.
Thousands of race participants will arrive on the starting line to run for personal accomplishment and to help others through the event's Run for a Reason charity program. This year's fundraisers will run for official charities and continue to build on the $2.5 million garnered in 2015. The Chevron Houston Marathon's Run for a Reason charitable program has generated over $24 million in its 22-year history.
In coordination with the Houston Marathon Committee, Bagram Air Field is staging its own event during the Chevron Houston Marathon race weekend 8,000 miles away in the mountainous region on race day January 17th. Bagram is the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan. Over 400 soldiers and civilian workers will participate in either the 5K, 10K, half marathon or marathon.
2015 Chevron Houston Marathon champion Birhanu Gedefa returns to the field in 2016 to defend his title, while two-time Chevron Houston Marathon champion Bazu Worku returns after a one year hiatus. On the women's side, 2015 Chevron Houston Marathon runner-up Guteni Shone leads the pack in the women's field and will be chased by 2015 Chevron Houston Marathon third-place finisher Biruktait Degefa.The prize purse for the open marathon races is $170,000, with a $40,000 first-place award for both the men's and women's winners.
Deep fields have also been assembled for both races in the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. 2015 Boston Marathon champion Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia leads the way and compatriot Mosinet Geremew, who has a personal best of 59:11, will look to challenge him. 2015 Aramco Houston Half Marathon champion Diego Estrada is the top American in the field. 2015 IAAF World Marathon champion and Boston Marathon runner-up Mare Dibaba is a top contender in the women's Aramco Houston Half Marathon. 2014 IAAF World Half Marathon Chamionships silver medalist Mary Wacera of Kenya and compatriot Cynthia Limo, who is #20 on the all-time on the women's half marathon list, will also be in contention.
On Sunday, the honorary starters for the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon will be Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. Other special guests include Katy-resident Rebekah Gregory, a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Chevron Houston Marathon Race Weekend By The Numbers
- 200,000 - Estimated number of spectators along the 26.2-mile course
- $51+ million economic impact to the city of Houston
- 47 - Number of countries represented
- 1 - Number of wheelchair racers
- 19 - Number of handcycle racers
- 9 - Number of visually impaired racers
- 8 - Number of wheelchair duo racers
- 42 - Average age of male participant
- 40 - Average age of female participant
- 47,880,000 - Estimated number of calories that will be burned at the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon
- H-E-B's free post-race participant breakfast serves: