HOUSTON (November 12, 2015) – The Houston Marathon Foundation (HMF) announced today that it is providing $90,000 in support towards local running programs and youth initiatives across the Greater Houston Region. Since its inception in 2008, the HMF has provided over $800,000 in funding for local youth initiatives, health and wellness programs, national elite runners and community enhancement projects in Houston.

This year, the Foundation is supporting Students Run Houston, Katy Students Run, Girls on the Run Greater Houston, Bel Inizio, the Houston Wellness Project, the Brookwood Community and race participants with special needs.

“Supporting the local running community and creating opportunities for new runners in the Greater Houston Region is a primary goal of the Houston Marathon Foundation,” said Wade Morehead, Executive Director of the Houston Marathon Foundation and Committee. “We are excited to work with these wonderful organizations again this year, helping students and adults train for their first running event and supporting local groups who promote the benefits of running as part of a healthy lifestyle.”

The Students Run Houston initiative will provide over 300 race entries, tech shirts, coaching stipends and transportation for students participating in after-school running programs with Katy Students Run (Morton Ranch High School, Katy High School and Katy Taylor High School) and HISD schools (Chavez High School, Sharpstown High School, Hamilton Middle School, Spring Woods Middle School and Ortiz Middle School). This program will allow students to have a safe after school environment, build self-esteem, set long- and short-term goals, and help them train to cross the finish line. All of these students will be participating in the Aramco Houston Half Marathon or the ABB 5K on race weekend, January 16-17, 2016.

Girls on the Run Greater Houston is a non-profit program that works to encourage pre-teen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games, culminating in a celebratory 5k race. The organization’s curricula seeks to address all aspects of the girls’ development to enhance their physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual well-being, while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness. It also affords area runners who could not afford to participate with an opportunity to participate in the program and run with their peers.

Bel Inizio helps disadvantaged women develop self-confidence and life skills through fitness and nutrition. Participants train to complete a 5K, which helps prepare them for the ultimate race – the race for a better life. While training, these women learn about commitment, fitness, and nutrition, while also learning how to succeed independently and to build self-esteem.

The Houston Wellness Project is a nonprofit organization that strives to empower all individuals to make positive healthy lifestyle choices by providing accessible wellness education and programming. They offer a free monthly 5K in the heights and George Bush Park and are a recent recipient of the Houston Press “best health and wellness enterprise.” In 2016, they will be adding two new sites to their free runs – Pearland and San Jacinto.

The HMF, as part of their special needs initiative, will support the Brookwood Community with the Cross Country Championships Run, which is conducted to promote awareness of the campus and fundraise for the development of a campus running trail. Brookwood provides meaning and purpose for adults with disabilities. The Brookwood Citizens have full-time jobs in various enterprises that provide revenue to support their community.

Additionally, the HMF will provide free entry fees for Duo Team wheelchair captains and for guides who assist runners participating in the visually impaired division at the 2016 Chevron Houston Marathon Race Weekend of Events.

In addition to the numerous U.S. elite distance running programs supported by the HMF and funding provided to create opportunities for new runners in the Greater Houston Region and also to support the vibrant local running community, the HMF also distributes the Susan Poorman Blackie Scholarship annually and partners with Texas Children’s Hospital to put on an annual Family Fun Run on the Katy Campus (April 11, 2016). An announcement outlining these two HMF initiatives will be released later this year.

For more information, visit www.houstonmarathonfoundation.com.