By Ambassador Emilia Benton

When it comes to nailing down my one marathon for the year, the decision is always an easy one for me: the Chevron Houston Marathon, duh.

I ran my first Houston Marathon in 2012, sort of by accident after I was initially set to run the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. After totally bonking at the 2011 New York City Marathon, my goal race and my second marathon ever, I came home and sulked for about five days before upgrading my registration to the full marathon. It was about 10 weeks away, and although I was ambivalent about the race itself at that point (the Houston hoopla must not have been in full effect yet), I was set on making redemption mine.

As training continued and the weather grew cooler, I finally began to feel some excitement and anticipation for Houston. Despite some ill-advised decisions (like going skiing for the first time three days before my 22-miler), I knew this race day was going to be better than my last one. When race weekend finally rolled around, my twin sister, Carla, and I spectated the Olympic Marathon Trials on Race Eve, which pumped us up even more and long story short, we both ran PRs the next day. I’d only moved back to Houston from New York eight months earlier, and I didn’t realize how much I would love running through the streets I grew up in in my beloved hometown until that day. And running a sub-4:00 PR – 3:58 – was definitely the icing on the cake.

Fast-forward to three-plus years and three more Houston Marathons later, I haven’t PR’d the marathon again. Still, Houston is hands-down my favorite race, the one I live for every year. Houston and New York are the only marathons I’ve run to date (each three times), and I’d say they’re pretty equal as far as spectators coming out in full force. And since I don’t see myself leaving Houston anytime soon, I can’t imagine ever being here for the Houston Marathon and not out there running it. I’m also definitely (always!) still hungry for a marathon PR, and, eventually, a Boston qualifier. The fact that I love running the Houston Marathon so much has made me not really care how long that second goal may take. Running more than one marathon per year doesn’t fit well in my life right now, so if I have to keep choosing, you can bet that it’ll always be Houston.

What made you choose the Chevron Houston Marathon?

About the author: Emilia Benton
Emilia is a 20-something writer and editor born and raised in Houston, with some East and West Coast stints thrown in between. Although she’s been a runner since she was a 16-year-old high school sophomore and has run 22 half marathons and 6 marathons to date, she admittedly is always learning something new about the sport. She loves traveling (especially if it involves a race with her twin sister, Carla), baking, country music and all things hot pink.
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