It was 1972 when the first Houston marathon took place, with just 113 runners racing over a five-mile loop. According to race organizers, 200 people, five dogs and three cats lined the streets cheering the runners. In the 38 years since then, the race, now called the Chevron Houston Marathon, has grown into a world-class contest. More than 30,000 athletes and 200,000 spectators are expected to participate (no word on the number of dogs and cats). The course, which snakes through Montrose, Rice University, Memorial Park and other urban neighborhoods, is considered among the fastest in the world because of its flat terrain. That, coupled with Houstons mild weather, attracts top athletes. Defending champions Teyba Erkesso and Ethiopian Teshome Gelana both set track records in 2010 (actually, they were the state records, too). Those times will have plenty of chasers for the 2011 contest. Of course, world-class athletes arent the only ones running today. Theres also the Aramco Houston Half Marathon, the EP5K and the Texas Childrens Hospital Kids Fun Run for those not so worried about making the record books. 7 a.m. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For information, call 713-957-3453 or visit www.chevronhoustonmarathon.com. Free.
Sun., Jan. 30, 7:30 a.m., 2011