Marathon partner Skechers to provide free shoes to HISD students

HOUSTON (December 16, 2014) -The Houston Marathon Foundation (HMF) announced today that it is providing $50,000 in support of youth and local running programs across the Greater Houston Region.  Since its inception in 2008, the HMF has provided over $700,000 in support of local youth initiatives, health and wellness programs, national elite runners, and community enhancement projects in Houston.

The Foundation is supporting a number of initiatives this year including Students Run Houston, Girls on the Run Greater Houston, Bel Inizio, and the Houston Wellness Project.

“While the Chevron Houston Marathon race weekend has grown considerably over the past four decades, it remains first and foremost a community event and our Foundation is committed to supporting local running programs for our youth and others who are learning about all of the benefits of running,” said Wade Morehead, Executive Director of the Houston Marathon Foundation. “Anyone can be a runner regardless of miles ran or speed, and we want to create initiatives and support local programs that introduce new runners to the sport, create opportunities and enhance the experience of current runners in the Greater Houston Region.”

The Students Run Houston initiative will disperse 100 pairs of shoes from Skechers, provide over 200 race entries and tech shirts, donate coaching stipends and assist with transportation needs for students participating in after-school running programs at Katy Students Run (Morton Ranch High School and Katy High School), Chavez High School, Sharpstown High School, Trinity Classical School and Ortiz Middle School.  All of these students will be participating in the Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon or the ABB 5K on race weekend January 17-18, 2015.

“The Houston Marathon Foundation makes it possible for us to do what we do,” said Jenny Demarest, founder of Katy Students Run. “KSR uses training for a half marathon as a way to illustrate concepts related to setting and achieving goals. It’s a perfect partnership: the HMF has the ability to give our participants entry to the Aramco Houston Half Marathon, thereby enabling a venue for our big and audacious goal. We could target a different event, but the Chevron Houston Marathon, the Aramco Houston Half Marathon and the ABB 5K are big and grand, they draw an impressive field and hundreds of thousands of cheering fans. We’ve worked with the Foundation since 2009 and the partnership continues to strengthen and grow as both parties seek additional events and avenues to grow the program together.”

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 seek 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.

“The girls in our program will benefit, not only from the generous funding provided by the Houston Marathon Foundation, but also from the exposure to elite athletes that HMF and GOTRGH are providing with our Adopt an Athlete Program,” said Mary T. Callahan, Executive Director of Girls on the Run Greater Houston. “Already, coaches and girls have mentioned how cool it is that they have been able to communicate with these women athletes and how excited they are to see them compete at the Chevron Houston Marathon, where many of the coaches and participants will be manning the fueling station at mile 6.5. This kind of exposure gives our girls an opportunity to see, up close and personal,  that with dreams, and hard work, you can accomplish anything.”

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. In the training process they learn about commitment, fitness, and nutrition. They see healthy behaviors in action and are offered tools to help them succeed once they are out on their own. Bel Inizio shows each woman that they matter.

“This fall we have teams from four transitional housing locations or agencies all working towards the same goal:  to complete their first race – the ABB 5K,” said Bel Inizio Executive Director Theresa Strong. “HMF started supporting Bel Inizio when we had only a few women completing each program.  This January, the generous support of the HMF is making it possible for 80 women to cross the finish line and begin their own Beautiful Beginning.”

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.”

“We believe that wellness is a daily process that never ends and is never too late to begin,” said Azita Di Marco of the Houston Wellness Project. “We are excited to work with the Houston Marathon Foundation and thankful for their support in bringing the Free Houston Wellness 5K’s to everyone in the greater Houston community.”

For more information, visit

About The Houston Marathon Foundation
Founded in 2008, the Houston Marathon Foundation is committed to support the advancement of running as an element of a balanced, healthy lifestyle in the Houston community and nationally.  The national focus of the organization is dedicated to promoting and improving the sport of distance running while locally, the organization supports running related program and community needs that will improve and create effective health-based initiatives.  Additionally, youth programs and after school running programs provide coaching, support, guidance and opportunity to over 1,000 Houston area students annually who would otherwise have few or no fitness opportunities and many of whom participate in the annual Houston Marathon Committee weekend events.

For more information, visit  or call 713.957.3453.