The 2013 Chevron Houston Marathon is set to kick off on Sunday, Jan. 13, and there is a lot to watch for from the Bayou City.
Houston’s marathon ranks as one of the most popular for fans and for runners in the country. Its course is the fastest winter marathon and second fastest overall, according to Ultimate Guide to Marathons (via CheveronHoustonMarathon.com)
The guide also ranks the average 200,000-plus spectators as the fourth-biggest crowd for a marathon.
Here are a couple reasons why the runners and those excited onlookers will get their money’s worth this weekend.
Ethiopian Bazu Worku is the marathon favorite. His 2:05:25 time at the 2012 Paris Marathon leads all men, but he will have some stiff competition. Debebe Tolossa, 2012 Chevron Houston Marathon runner-up, will also be among those challenging Worku for the prize.
Competition breeds new levels of success, too.
“Deep fields increase the likelihood of runners working together in packs to achieve better times, and the four fields that our elite committee has assembled are without a doubt the deepest ever,” the Houston Marathon Committee said in a press release.
That’s all well and good, but the cream tends to rise to the top and it will take a remarkable performance for someone to swoop in and steal the victory from the favorites.
Show Me the Money
A little added incentive never hurt. The marathon is offering a $50,000 bonus in the men’s half marathon if the world record is broken during the event.
Additionally, there is $264,500 in prize money that will be distributed at the climax of these races. Winners of the men’s and women’s marathons will take home $40,000.
That’s not too shabby of a haul for one day’s worth of running. Well, one day’s worth of excruciatingly challenging and punishing of one’s body. You get the idea.
Will World Records Fall?
Atsedu Tsegay Tesfaye set the fourth-fastest time at the 2012 Prague Half Marathon. His 58:47 mark was just 0:24 slower than world record holder Zersenay Tadese, who set the bar in 2012.
There are a plethora of other qualified and distinguished runners participating, including 2012 Olympians and veteran marathon participants.
If a world record falls this weekend, it won’t surprise us too much.
*All prize, course or other information was obtained from www.CheveronHoustonMarathon.com unless otherwise indicated.