HOUSTON (July 31, 2018) – The Houston Marathon Foundation (HMF) announced today the recipients of the 2018 Susan Poorman Blackie College Scholarship: Sydney Lawrence, recent graduate of Stratford High School in Spring Branch Independent School District (SBISD); and Ricardo Urbina, recent graduate of Chavez High School in Houston Independent School District (HISD). The two stand-out 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 tuitions.

The scholarship was created in honor and memory 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.

“We are excited to now have four consecutive years awarding the Susan Poorman Blackie College Scholarship, with the selection of these two new remarkable students. This year the HMF will be contributing $40,000 in scholarship support to eight local runners now attending college in the state of Texas,” remarked Wade Morehead, Executive Director of the Houston Marathon Foundation and Committee. “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. We are honored to support them and now include them in this elite group of previous winners.”

Sydney Lawrence was exposed to long-distance running at a young age. Her mother, Valerie Lawrence, a Veteran Marathoner, has completed the Chevron Houston Marathon for the past 16 years and can be credited with motivating Sydney to become a Houston Marathon intern as well as a race weekend volunteer. Her mother’s example of dedication helped pave the way for Sydney, who throughout her high school tenure, woke up every day at 5 a.m. to train for the cross country team so she could also practice with the soccer team in the afternoon. Her commitment to excellence extends far beyond her athletic endeavors. Lawrence graduated first in her class at Stratford High School, was a member of the National Honor Society, and participated in the Academy of Finance and Business Professionals of America programs. She will be studying business while attending the University of Texas-Austin.

The eldest of five children Ricardo Urbina, knows what it takes to be regimented and lead by example. Throughout his tenure at Chavez High School, he worked a part-time job for more than 20 hours each week while also serving as the Company and Fitness Commander with the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC). He trained with and volunteered for the Chavez High Run Club, which is an official member of the HMF We Run Houston after-school running program. Urbina has run the Aramco Houston Half Marathon for three consecutive years completing the race in 2016, 2017, 2018 and intends to keep his streak going into 2019. In addition to running the event, he has also made it a priority to volunteer for pre-race needs assisting the HMF with event organization. Urbina will be attending the University of Houston- Downtown in the fall to study computer engineering.


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)


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 houstonmarathonfoundation.com.