HOUSTON (June 28, 2017) – The Houston Marathon Foundation (HMF) announced today that Robert “Will” Lord, recent graduate of George Ranch High School and Bayli Luke, recent graduate from Cypress Falls High School, were named recipients of the Susan Poorman Blackie Scholarship. The two stand-out students and former high school runners will each receive a $5,000 scholarship grant annually for four years, totaling $20,000 in financial aid toward their college tuitions.

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

“With the selection of these two remarkable student-athletes, our Foundation will be contributing $30,000 in scholarship support this year to six local runners who are now attending college in the state of Texas,” stated Wade Morehead, Executive Director of the Houston Marathon Foundation and Committee. “It is truly inspiring to read the applications and essays from local high school students who credit running for the profound impact it has made on their grades, achievements, and relationships. The mental toughness needed to be a long-distance runner is applied daily by these students to achieve their goals in all aspects of their lives.  We are honored to support them.”

Robert “Will” Lord who has participated in the Chevron Houston Marathon six times and the Aramco Houston Half Marathon four times, is a lifelong runner with a true love of the sport.  Lord, ran his first half marathon at seven years old with his father and his first full marathon at age twelve.  He hasn’t missed an event and doesn’t plan to moving forward.  Lord hopes to be the youngest legacy runner (10 events completed) ever in the Houston Marathon.  In addition to the hours spent training, he is also a dedicated student who graduated with a 4.0 GPA.  Lord will be attending Southwestern University where he will run Cross Country and Track.

“Will Lord is an outstanding young man,” said William Fairhurst, former cross country coach at George Ranch HS. “What separates Will from most individuals you meet today is his heart. Not only is he gifted and trained in the ways of running, but he is also kind and passionate.” William Fairhurst, former Cross Country Coach at George Ranch High School.

Bayli Luke graduated 20th out of 869 students and was a 4.0 GPA student leader who was also a varsity member and captain of the soccer, track, and cross country teams, as well as a member of the National Honor Society.  Luke will be attending Concordia University Texas, to study pediatric medicine, where she will also run Track and play Soccer.

“It was a pleasure to coach and mentor Bayli Luke, both as an athlete and a person,” said Cypress Fall Cross Country coach Dave Rainey. “Bayli can cause a spark in those around her with her smile and her expression of encouragement. Her positive outlook on life and the people she surrounds herself with and her approach to the task at hand makes her a capable young lady. No doubt Bayli will leave footprints behind for others to follow because she has shown the way.”

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)

For more information on the Houston Marathon Foundation, visit houstonmarathonfoundation.com.


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.