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Marathons

Chevron Houston Marathon's Run for a Reason Charity Program Sets New Record, Breaks $2-Million Milestone

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HOUSTON (Mar. 16, 2011) - The Chevron Houston Marathon's Run for a Reason charity program has raised a record $2,086,000 to benefit 52 charities. With more than 16,000 donations, the 2010-2011 season marks the second consecutive year the Run for a Reason program has set a new fundraising record, generating more than $12.4 million in the program's 17-year history.

Race participants and donors raised $1.7 million prior to race day, January 30, 2011, of the Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon and El Paso Corporation 5K (EP5K), nearly reaching the program's previous record total of $1.8 million set in 2010.

"The growth and success of our Run for a Reason program is attributed to the dedicated runners and fundraisers who continue to do extraordinary things for charity and our community," said Wade Morehead, executive director of the Houston Marathon Committee. "It is important to our organization to give back, and we are honored that we can help these charities use our event as an avenue to raise money, especially during these challenging economic times when funds are needed more than ever."

The Run for a Reason program links runners with participating nonprofits and provides a platform for charities to raise awareness and funds as well as educate others about their cause. The program also offers alternative ways to enter the marathon and half marathon races through "Heroes" charity registration and "fundraise for registration" options. Details about these charity registrations can be found at RunforaReasonHouston.org.

More than 25,000 runners participated in the 39th annual Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon, EP5K and Texas Children's Hospital Kids' Fun Run this past January.

Official 2011-2012 Run for a Reason charities will be announced on May 2, 2011.

The 40th anniversary running of the Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon and EP5K is scheduled for January 15, 2012. Registration for the marathon and half marathon races opens on June 1, 2011 at www.chevronhoustonmarathon.com.

To learn more about the Run for a Reason charity program, please visit RunforaReasonHouston.org.

About the Houston Marathon Committee, Inc.: Established in 1972, the Houston Marathon Committee, Inc. (HMC), a Running USA Founding Member, annually organizes the nation's premier winter marathon, half-marathon, 5K and kids' fun run. In 2010, more than 30,000 runners participated in four race weekend events organized by 7,500 volunteers, creating Houston's largest single-day sporting event. In addition to hosting numerous world-renowned road races, including the USA Men's and Women's Half Marathon Championships since 2005 and 2007 respectively, and the 1992 U.S. Women's Olympic Marathon Trials, HMC will host the 2012 U.S. Men's and Women's Olympic Team Trials - Marathon on January 14, 2012.

For more information, visit houstonmarathon.com or call 713.957.3453.

Universal Sports Presents LIVE Broadcast and Online Coverage of the 2011 Honda Los Angeles Marathon

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Los Angeles, CA--March 17, 2011--Universal Sports will provide LIVE broadcast and online coverage of the 2011 Honda Los Angeles Marathon. The network's nationwide coverage, excluding Los Angeles, will begin on Sunday, March 20, beginning at 10 a.m. ET. The 26th annual race will feature over 20,000 entrants running along the 26.2 mile "Stadium to Sea" course that starts at Dodger Stadium and ends at the Santa Monica Pier. Runners are competing for the winner's prize of $25,000 in cash and a new Honda Insight EX sedan with navigation, as well as trying to win the unique Marathon Challenge, which rewards the first runner to cross the finish line – man or woman – with a $100,000 bonus.  

For the first time, Southern California-based footwear and apparel maker K-Swiss has teamed up with Universal Sports to be the presenting sponsor of the national telecast. The broadcast team will consist of veteran running analyst Toni Reavis, who has provided commentary for all 25 prior Los Angeles Marathons, and local TV sports news anchor Derrin Horton. Following the live airing, Universal Sports will offer an encore presentation of the marathon at 10:00 p.m. ET. Live race coverage, highlights and news of the event will also be available at the network's website, www.universalsports.com.

Kenyan Wesley Korir, 2009 and 2010 champion, highlights this year's field in the men's competition. Korir will be attempting to achieve his third consecutive victory, which would make him the first ever in L.A. Marathon history to three-peat. He faces tough competition in countryman Benjamin Maiyo, who enters this year's race with a time of 2:07:09, the fastest recorded time of any man in the 2011 field. Maiyo recorded his top time in the 2005 L.A. Marathon, where he finished second.

On the women's side, U.S. All-Americans Amy Hastings and Heather Wood will be making their marathon debuts. They are up against Mare Diaba of Ethiopia, with the fastest time in the 2011 women's field at 2:25:27, and Buzenesh Deba of Ethiopia, whose personal best is 2:27:24.

The Honda Los Angeles Marathon celebrity roster is spotlighted by Chef Gordon Ramsay and musician Flea, who is running for the Silverlake Conservatory of Music.

Universal Sports will continue its world-class marathon coverage later in 2011 with LIVE coverage of both the Boston and New York City marathons.

ABOUT UNIVERSAL SPORTS: Universal Sports, a partnership between NBC Sports and InterMedia Partners, LP, is the premier multi-platform media destination for Olympic-related sports programming in the United States. Universal Sports is available in 52 markets nationwide, including all of the nation's top 10 media markets and 20 of the top 25. Major world championship sports events aired on Universal Sports include track and field, skiing, swimming, gymnastics, marathons, figure skating, cycling and rugby. The network's website, UniversalSports.com, delivers an immersive user experience via live and on-demand competition coverage, interaction with top athletes through interviews and blogs and in-depth access to Olympic sports news and information year-round. For more information, please visit UniversalSports.com.

Running USA's Annual Marathon Report

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U.S. finisher total surpasses ½ million mark for the first time; more all-time records for the classic distance; ING New York City Marathon sets another world record as largest ever

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - (March 16, 2011) - Despite the lingering recession, "marathon mania" continued in the U.S. with another record year of growth as U.S. marathons in 2010 had an estimated 507,000 finishers, an 8.6% increase from 2009, the second largest increase in the past 25 years (U.S. marathons grew 9.9% in 2009). Last year, across the country, the majority of large marathons reported sold-out or record fields, and 2011 looks to continue this growth trend as the following U.S. marathons have sold-out in record time: Boston (8 hours!), Marine Corps (28 hours) and Bank of America Chicago (31 days), while other marathons such as Chevron Houston, Big Sur, LIVESTRONG Austin and Cowtown also filled their fields.

In past annual marathon reports, Running USA has summarized why this impressive and historic growth has happened, namely training programs (charity and non-charity), the challenge of 26.2 miles, bucket list appeal, women's growth and fun, well-organized community events.

For the complete 2010 report with a summary of marathon demographics and interesting stats and trends, CLICK here.

Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon Makes U.S. Development Pledge

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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - (March 14, 2011) - Officials of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon have announced a major incentive for emerging American elite distance runners and a challenge to event directors of major U.S. distance races to help support the development of U.S. distance runners and to build upon the decade-plus resurgence.

"We want as many American men and women to participate in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston this January 14 and to that end, we will bonus any American $1000 cash for qualifying for the Trials at our race," said Steve Nearman, event director of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon, scheduled for Oct. 2. "This means sub-1:05:00 for men and sub-1:15:00 for women."

Nearman also announced another initiative, based on an inspiring story brought back from the recent Running USA 2011 conference by American Running Association CEO Dave Watt.

Watt recounted a moment at the conference when Team USA Arizona founder and coach Greg McMillan and his runners took the stage to receive a $25,000 grant from Running USA. McMillan and some of his runners in his emerging program broke into tears of joy at the significance of the grant. Many of the 500 attendees at the awards ceremony also got teary-eyed.

This story so moved officials of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half that they committing $1 per entry to fund an elite training program for the Olympic year 2012. With an expected sellout of more than 6,000 entrants, race officials are hoping their sizable grant will inspire other races to do the same.

"I challenge my friends and fellow event directors to follow suit," stated Nearman, adding that the Wilson Bridge Half already awards U.S.-only prize money. "If Carey Pinkowski of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon could donate $1 per runner, we're talking $45,000-plus. Dave McGillivray at Boston, another $25,000-plus. Mary Wittenberg at New York City, another $50,000-plus. Rick Nealis at Marine Corps, another $30,000-plus. Same with Jim Vandak at the Army Ten-Miler, another $30,000 or so. That's nearly $200,000 right there to support American runners."

Officials also announced the renewal of sponsors National Harbor, Westin National Harbor, R&B Inc., Elizabeth Lucchesi / McEnearney Realtors and Curcio Law Firm.

Like last year, the race will benefit Autism Speaks, Alice Ferguson Foundation, Back on My Feet, Child & Family Network Centers and Washington Area Women's Foundation. The race also announced a commitment to the RunningBrooke Fund, inspired by Brooke Curran who is well into her goal of running a marathon in every State and continent and the five World Marathon Majors.

"I am pleased to announce that the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon has 'laced up their shoes' to become the latest RunningBrooke Sponsor," Curran said. "By supporting the RunningBrooke Fund - committing to $1K a year for the next five years - The Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon is underpinning vital Alexandria charities that serve the at-risk in our hometown."

The course begins at the historic Washington home of Mount Vernon, VA, rolls up the George Washington Memorial Parkway and crosses the Potomac over the famous Woodrow Wilson Bridge before finishing at the unique Awakening statue in the resort of National Harbor, MD. For more information, visit wilsonbridgehalf.com and Facebook.

Russian Olympian, Japanese Marathoner Join Honda LA Marathon Field

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LOS ANGELES - (March 15, 2011) - Two professional female marathoners who were scheduled to run in the cancelled Nagoya Women's Marathon are headed to Los Angeles to run in the 26th Honda LA Marathon presented by K-Swiss on Sunday, March 20.

Russian Olympian Albina Mayorova and Japanese marathoner Eri Okubo will compete on the Stadium to the Sea course this Sunday, allowing them to race just a week later than they had planned in Japan.

"When we recognized the impact of the earthquake and tsunami on the running community in Japan, for which the Nagoya Women's Marathon is an important race, we immediately extended an invitation to the elite field to come to Los Angeles," said Nick Curl, LA MARATHON LLC chief operating officer. "Along with our ongoing fundraising efforts for Japan relief, we're delighted to welcome these two marvelous athletes."

Mayorova, 33, took part in the 2004 Olympic Marathon in Athens, Greece, finishing 40th and has been a top international marathoner for almost a decade, with a best of 2:25:35 set at Chicago in 2003. She could be a strong challenger to race favorite Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia.

Okubo, 27, has a best of 2:35:24 in the marathon, set at the 2010 Nagoya Women's Marathon and is well familiar with the U.S., having trained in Boulder, Colorado in 2003-04. Her last marathon was a sixth-place finish in Honolulu last December.

"These athletes will get a warm welcome here," noted Curl. "We applaud their determination and e ried@hath w@l ins r nd&#;sac&