By Ambassador Dendy Farrar
Recently my beloved Chevron Houston Marathon asked the question, “Why do you race?” via an Instagram post. As I read the question, I thought to myself, “What a great question. I’ve asked myself ‘why do I run?’ and ‘why did I start running?’ many times, but I’ve never considered why it is that I race.” All of this pondering naturally led to this blog post.
One of the most obvious things about races that is appealing is that all of the leg work has been done for the runners. The distance has been mapped out and flagged in obvious ways. Traffic is stopped and volunteers and police are present to direct us and keep us safe. Because I live in the suburbs of Houston, it is a real treat for me to run Houston proper. It is an even bigger treat for me to run my city with streets closed to traffic, aid stations every two miles, and timing mats every 5 kilometers that alert my loved ones through an app of my progress. We racers get to explore our surroundings without having to worry about cars hitting us or going into unsafe areas. We runners get to run without having to navigate ourselves. We get to just run, and wave at spectators, among other runners, until we reach the finish line. Then, once we’ve finished, we’ll be offered a medal, shirt, water, and food. Just like that! There was that little bit about the entry fee, but it’s very much worth it. There’s just nothing like race day. There is something so magical about the way the entire city of Houston, the fourth largest city in the U.S., comes together on marathon weekend. Crowds line the streets as we make our way from the George R. Brown Convention Center, through West University, the Galleria area, Memorial Park, Downtown and all of the other neighborhoods on our way back to the GRB. I can’t even imagine the logistical puzzle it must be to organize a road race the magnitude of the Chevron Houston Marathon, and I’m happy to run this well-organized race where all of the leg work has been done for us runners.