Think of an event you have attended 10 times or more in life.

Seen your favorite band in concert? A festival or parade in your town? Visited the same place for vacation? There probably aren’t too many.

The Chevron Houston Marathon has been an event worth repeating to me. Since 2010, I have signed up for the January race without any hesitation, and on the earliest day I possibly could. I never originally set out to run a certain number of Chevron Houston Marathons (though every year I see that long old-timey tee shirt line-up I’m excited for my shirts to soon become vintage!) but to be honest, Houston marathon number 10 has really snuck up on me. But in a good way, like I can’t believe it’s been this many!

When planning my race schedule each year, there really are not too many races that I run repeatedly, and yet when it comes to Houston, I never think twice. I started thinking about my own journey here and why Houston has such a soft spot in my heart and a firm standing commitment on my race calendar and ultimately, why I’ll be hitting the Legacy mark this January. Here’s what I came up with:

January is the perfect time to do something BIG in your life. Once the holiday season ends, sometimes those wintry blues can set in. Never fear! The Chevron Houston Marathon will swoop in just a few weeks later and raise the spirits of every runner in town. You know how people are typically friendlier around the holidays? I have a theory that having our city’s race a few weeks later really makes that holiday nice-ness stick around much longer in Houston. Whether you are a New Year’s Resolution-er or not, there is no denying that reaching a goal you have been training for feels great! If your prior year was a bad one, it can set a new tone for the upcoming year. If you had a great year prior, the marathon can be the cherry on top! I’ve heard some people say, “but it’s so hard to train through the holidays!” I say, having those training runs on the calendar actually keeps you a little more in line at those holiday parties and allows you to enjoy the holidays with less hangovers and more runner’s highs! The Houston Marathon is a symbol of new beginnings in so many different ways.

Be a local historian. After I racked up a few Chevron Houston Marathons it became pretty fun to be a resource of sorts within the running community. It’s great to be able to say, “remember the year of the {insert epic weather event here}…” Keep running Houston and one day you could be that runner that everyone gathers around for “marathon story time” and reminds us to be grateful that we aren’t doing loops around Memorial Park circa 1972-1977, and remembers seeing that sunrise view off the Elysian Viaduct. Legacy status really does offer each of us our 15 minutes of fame among fellow runners.

I love me a good running/life metaphor. My marathon chronology tells its own little story. Looking back at the years and recalling that some years were PRs, some were run for others, and some you are sure you will barely get through – yet somehow, you always do – sort of creates my own life metaphor. Conquering this benchmark every year reminds me that as runners we have tangible proof in those finishers medals to promise us that if we just keep pressing forward, even in the hard times (ahem, Memorial Drive), no matter how slowly, that we will make it through to the proverbial finish line. The even sweeter reminder is that if you need help or a few extra cheers during those low spots, in marathoning or even life, there is always someone to your left or right, running alongside you, who is willing to help if you just glance up to see them.

In the world of the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon, you are called a Legacy runner once you complete 10 or more of either race (they don’t have to be consecutive years either). And the definition of legacy says it is “anything handed down from the past”. I have to agree with that definition and encourage you to chase down legacy status for yourself. Pass down and share a piece of history by starting each of your years with a finish line that makes you proud and is also just the start of new possibilities. The community that awaits and the one you find along the way is worth the journey.

But if all of this is just too many touchy-feely intangibles for you, and you’d prefer to know what actual perks come with Legacy status, they can be found here and are also all top notch reasons to pursue that Legacy benchmark.


Heather Foley @haf811 is a #houambassador currently living in Pittsburgh, PA.  She has run in 5k’s to 100+ milers in many countries around the world but her favorite remains the Chevron Houston Marathon. This year will be her 10th Houston Marathon despite recently relocating from Houston to Pittsburgh, but her new city hasn’t halted her love of running. She views her biggest challenge in accomplishing her Legacy feat this year as navigating training through a snowy, icy winter! 2019 Legacy Finisher, here she comes!