HOUSTON (November 2, 2015) – The Houston Marathon Foundation (HMF) announced today that it will provide $45,000 in financial support for several U.S. elite long-distance runners and development programs, including funding to Team Green (Woodlands, TX), Team ZAP Fitness (Lenoir, NC), Team USA Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN), and five 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon qualifiers from the Greater Houston Region.

2015 Houston Marathon Weekend Chevron Houston Marathon Aramco Half Marathon Aramco USA Half Marathon Championship Houston, Texas Jan 18, 2015 Photo: Andrew McClanahan@PhotoRun Victah1111@aol.com 631-291-3409 www.photorun.NET

Becky Wade at the 2015 USA Half Marathon Championships

For the second consecutive year, the HMF will again provide financial support to local Houston athlete Becky Wade, a former Rice University four-time NCAA Division I All-American who will compete at the Trials next February.  In her marathon debut in December 2013, Wade won the California International Marathon in 2:30:41.  In 2015, Wade finished 11th at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships in Houston and 5th at the U.S. Marathon Championships in Los Angeles.

“Providing support for elite U.S. distance runners across this country has been a priority of the Houston Marathon Committee and the Foundation since the inception of both organizations,” said Houston Marathon Foundation and Committee Executive Director Wade Morehead. “It is an honor and a privilege to support these wonderful people and talented athletes in their efforts to achieve their goals on an international stage amongst the finest long-distance runners world-wide.”

This will be the inaugural year of support for Team Green Running (TGR), which was formed to help athletes at all levels and abilities in their quest for excellence. The club’s focus is on distance running and supporting runners in cross country, on the roads and the track. TGR’s primary goals are to develop post-collegiate distance runners at the National and International level; to train and assist open and masters runners to compete at the State and National level; and to develop youth programs that educate and supplement school programs.

For the third consecutive year, the HMF will support Team USA Minnesota, whose training center was formed in 2001 and designed to improve the competitiveness of post-collegiate American distance running and to develop Olympians. Team USA Minnesota’s mission is to provide an opportunity for talented distance runners to train in an environment that will prepare them to compete on a level with the best in the nation and in the world and to raise awareness of the sport of distance running.

The HMF will also provide funding to the ZAP Fitness Foundation for the second year in a row.  The non-profit training center was founded in 2001 by the late Andy Palmer and his wife Zika as a way to give back to the sport of distance running because it played such a significant role in both of their lives. The objectives of ZAP Fitness include financially supporting 8-10 post-collegiate distance runners in their efforts to make World Championships and Olympic Teams, and providing role models for America’s youth by promoting an active healthy lifestyle as well as promoting achievement.

The HMF is proud to support the other local athletes who have qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon. Houston-area athletes who will join Wade and compete in the Trials, include Jarret LeBlanc, Kiya Dandena, and Samantha McClellan. The HMF will also provide support for area runner Mary Davies, who trains in Houston in her quest to qualify for the 2016 New Zealand Olympic team.

In addition to the numerous U.S. elite distance running programs supported by the HMF since its inception in 2008, the HMF has provided funding to create opportunities for new runners in the Greater Houston Region and also to support the vibrant local running community.  An announcement outlining the local programs to be supported this year by the HMF will be released at the end of November.

For more information, visit www.houstonmarathonfoundation.com.