Are you the CEO of an international corporation? Are you always looking for ways to spend that extra pocket change? Do you dream of supporting a vital component of our city's attempt at health consciousness? If so, the Houston Marathon could have used you. But you missed the chance to attach your name to an important local sport for the paltry sum of $800,000. Not exactly jumping the gun, local front-runner Compaq Computers eventually claimed the marathon's sponsorship, which lapsed in January when Methodist Health Care announced it was ending its support. The 7,000 annual participants of this well-organized event have included elite runners from all over the world, and the loop course -- famous for its hoopla, which includes belly dancers, bagpipers and cheerleaders -- travels over 26.2 diverse miles of our city's concrete, including the historic barrios of Houston's north side, the ritzy Galleria and Tanglewood areas, Memorial Park and downtown, and passes by throngs of spectators more than 200,000 strong. Thanks, Compaq: The next race is January 14, 2001.