FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Steven Karpas
Record-Setting Weekend on Tap for Upcoming HP Houston Marathon
Nobel Prize honoree, Grammy winner among 16,000 runners expected
HOUSTON - (Jan. 4, 2005) - The 33rd running of the HP Houston Marathon is
poised to be the biggest and best ever, with record weekend participation
of more than 16,000 runners expected.
Registration for the HP Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon
is up 10 percent compared to this time last year. Both races, along with
the Houston Press 5K, are scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 16.
"The interest from Houston's running community and around the world
continues to grow," said Brant Kotch, race director of the marathon. "We
are expecting runners from all 50 states and 20 foreign countries. This is
the fourth consecutive year that we have seen an increase in
Among this year's participants are a Nobel Prize honoree and a Grammy-award
winning singer. Dr. Louis Ignarro, who won the 1998 Nobel Prize for
Medicine, will join the 7,000-plus runners expected for the HP Houston
Marathon. Dr. Ignarro received the highest honor in medicine for his
discovery concerning nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the
cardiovascular system. An avid runner, the California resident will be
running his first Houston Marathon.
Grammy winner Shawn Colvin will be running her first half-marathon when she
toes the starting line for the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. Colvin, best
known for the 1998 Grammy-winning Song of the Year "Sunny Came Home," lives
in Austin, Texas and competes in both road races and triathlons. She will
sing the national anthem before the race and then take her place among
6,000 runners anticipated to compete in the Aramco Houston Half Marathon.
The Aramco Houston Half Marathon also will be hosting the 2005 USA Men's
Half-Marathon Championship, featuring several of America's top distance
runners. They will be competing for $48,900 in prize money, $17,500 of
which is reserved exclusively for Americans.
A spectacular F-16 fly-by will kick off race morning with two F-16 fighter
jets from the 147th fighter wing at Ellington Air Force Base taking to the
Houston sky. Following the patriotic liftoff, Houston Mayor Bill White will
fire the starting gun to begin the marathon and half-marathon at 7am. The
Houston Press 5K begins at 7:20am.
The traditional Hoopla Brigade will greet runners as they make their way
through Houston. Hoopla volunteers outfit the various water stops with
themes, music and cheering sections to encourage participants. New to the
race this year will be the "Elvis Mile," mile 24 in the marathon, which
will be manned by 10 Elvis impersonators who will be rocking runners to the
This year's record participation is expected to result in a windfall for
the race's Run for a Reason program, which raises money for several
Houston-area charities. More than $700,000 is projected to be raised in
2005, compared to approximately $600,000 last year.
The HP Houston Marathon, a Running USA Founding Member, is the nation's
premier winter marathon, annually attracting participants from all 50 U.S.
states and nearly 20 foreign countries. In 2004, more than 18,000 runners
took part in four marathon weekend events (marathon, half-marathon, 5K and
children's run). The HP Houston Marathon offers the only closed marathon
course in Texas and is ranked among the top five in the nation by the
Ultimate Guide to Marathons for fastest course, organization and crowd
support. More than 5,000 volunteers organize the race, which is Houston's
largest single-day sporting event.
More information is available online at www.hphoustonmarathon.com or by