Media Advisory: Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Houston Marathon Foundation Announces 2019 Scholarship Class Recipients

HOUSTON (July 17, 2019) – The Houston Marathon Foundation (HMF) is thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2019 Susan Poorman Blackie College Scholarship: Katherine Babcock, recent graduate of The Woodlands College Park High School, Conroe Independent School Distrct (ISD); and Gerald Beaugene, recent graduate of William B. Travis High School, Fort Bend ISD. The two exceptional students and high school distance runners will each receive a $5,000 scholarship grant annually for four years, totaling $20,000 in financial aid toward their college tuition.

Originated to honor, and in memoriam, of Susan Poorman Blackie, co-founder of the HMF and long-time Houston Marathon Committee volunteer board member, the scholarship is designed to recognize exceptional student-athletes in the Greater Houston Region who have demonstrated academic success, participated in high school running, showed exemplary character, volunteered for extracurricular activities and applied to attend a college or university in the state of Texas.

“With the selection of the fifth class of Susan Poorman Blackie Scholarship Recipients the Houston Marathon Foundation continues to build on its commitment to the future of our local youth. Since the awards origination in 2015 we have awarded a total of $100,000 in scholarships to our eight, now 10 with the induction of the 2019 class, recipients,” said Wade Morehead, Executive Director of the Houston Marathon Foundation and Committee. “The success of these students in their higher education endeavors continues to validate the importance of the Houston Marathon Foundation’s mission to enhance and enrich lives through a physically and mentally balanced lifestyle. The dedication and commitment these students exhibit through long-distance running and academic performance has created a strong foundation for them to build upon in all aspects of their lives.”

An avid basketball and lacrosse player, Katherine Babcock faced challenges in her athletic endeavors when she had to undergo shoulder surgery her sophomore year. Since sports had always been a major part of her life, as well as a significant stress reliever, running became a natural fit into her regimen. She began running every day and what began as two mile runs turned into twelve. As the distances of her runs grew, so did her love of running. Katherine’s inherently competitive nature led her to join a running club where she began to compete in races and eventually joined the cross-country team her junior year. Since then she has completed multiple shorter distance events and five half marathons – even fundraising for charity for one. It’s clear Katherine’s sense of commitment and community extends far beyond her running. She served as president for both her National Charity League Class and Girl Scout troop, and has held leadership positions in many other organizations scholastically. Katherine graduated from The Woodlands College Park High School and will be attending the University of Texas-Austin in the Fall to study business.

Gerald Beaugene moved from New Jersey to Texas his Freshman year of High School. Faced with the challenge of connecting with and making new friends, Gerald searched for a group of friends with like-minded values and goals. He found the cross-country team to be a perfect fit. This group not only became his friends, but they forged a bond together over their love for running which continued to push them all to achieve more. Gerald never felt the same sense of accomplishment as he did finishing a race. The support he felt from his running community to help others get better and challenge themselves always shone through in every event. It was this support that enabled Gerald to complete his first marathon this year at the 2019 Chevron Houston Marathon. Throughout high school, Gerald spent his weekends working the labor-intensive job of vacuuming car interiors, through the heat of July and the chills of December, while balancing school, cross country and work. From this he learned many life skills, along with an understanding of why his education is so important. Gerald graduated from William B. Travis High School and will be attending the University of Houston where he will be studying business marketing.   


Susan Poorman Blackie Scholarship Past Recipients:


Chris Winske (Morton Ranch High School, University of Incarnate Word)

Laine Zizka (James E. Taylor High School, Texas Christian University)



Abigail Smith (Seven Lakes High School, Baylor University)

Nicolas Terrazas (Stratford High School, Rice University)



Bayli Luke (Cypress Falls High School, Concordia University Texas)

Robert “Will” Lord (George Ranch High School, Southwestern University)



Sydney Lawrence (Stratford High School, University of Texas-Austin)

Ricardo Urbina (Chavez High School, University of Houston-Downtown)



Katherine Babcock (The Woodlands College Park High School, University of Texas-Austin)

Gerald Beaugene (William B. Travis High School, University of Houston)


About the Houston Marathon Foundation

Founded in 2008, the Houston Marathon Foundation is committed to supporting the advancement of running as an element of a balanced, healthy lifestyle in the Houston community and nationally. The primary focus of the Foundation is to support the Houston running community; to create opportunities for local youth and educate students on the many benefits of long distance running; to promote participation and accessibility for participants with disabilities; and to support the training and development of U.S. elite runners nation-wide. The HMF is dedicated to promoting and improving the sport of distance running and enhancing running-related programs and community organizations that will improve and create effective health-based initiatives. The after-school running programs supported by the HMF provide coaching, support, guidance and opportunities annually to over 2,000 students in the Greater Houston Region who have limited access to fitness opportunities and many of whom train and ultimately participate in the annual Houston Marathon Committee weekend events.

For more information on the Houston Marathon Foundation, visit