Houston Marathon runners gain inspiration

Runners in the Chevron Houston Marathon could run either 13 miles or 26.2 miles.

Michael Brown

Runners in the Chevron Houston Marathon could run either 13 miles or 26.2 miles.

Sophia Lima, Staff Writer

With fans lining the streets of Houston, 27 thousand Houstonians took their marks on Congress Avenue at 7 a.m. on Jan. 15 as they prepared for the Chevron Houston Marathon.

These 27 thousand included a variety of skill levels, from some first-time runners to Nike runners on the U.S. Olympic team, whom the Mavericks were able to look up to as inspiration. Runners had the option of participating in the 13-mile half marathon or the 26.2-mile full marathon.

Participating in the event for the fourth time, junior Drew Woodfolk was one of the brave runners to tackle the full marathon. He came into the marathon with hopes of decreasing his time and crossed the finish line in three hours and 21 minutes, finishing nine minutes faster than his goal.

“I began distance running in sixth grade and began running the marathon in eighth grade. I have come a long way since then as my time has improved by over two hours since my first marathon,” Woodfolk said.

Woodfolk had the opportunity to run this year’s marathon with two familiar faces, seniors Jayan Hanson and Peyton Brown, who both ran the half marathon.

“It was really enjoyable to run alongside two seniors, who have been pivotal role models and aided in my growth as a runner,” Woodfolk said.

Michael Brown
Amy Malin, in orange cap, leads a KSR student, center, through the half marathon.

Describing the environment of the marathon as “electric,” Woodfolk, as well as the other Mavericks, appreciated the strong fan base supporting them along the course.

“Seeing family and St. John’s students and faculty members supporting us was very exciting,” Brown said.

While many runners found motivation for themselves, history teacher Amy Malin also helped motivate others. Malin is part of a mentoring program, Katy Students Run, that helps students build community and learn life skills by training for a half-marathon.

“We teach them to dream big and set goals. Many of them never thought they could run 13 miles. We started from five kilometers, then tried eight miles, then ten miles. You don’t get up one day and just run 13,” Malin said. “It’s about celebrating success, but also reevaluating and making changes when you didn’t meet your past goals.”

John Saunders
History teacher Amy Malin, bottom far left, coached the group KSR once a week for months in preparation for the half marathon.

As a mentor on the board of directors, Malin trained with the students every Saturday morning since September. 

“The entire season is a struggle because some have never run before in their life. They learn about making the right choices before they run, like sleeping enough and drinking enough water,” Malin said.

During the marathon, every student or small group in the program ran with one mentor.

“They are my motivation. When I’m asking them to run, I can’t say no myself. I woke up at four a.m. every Saturday because if I didn’t, I’d have 15 kids wondering where I was,” Malin said.

While most Mavericks spent months preparing for the marathon, some had less than 24 hours.

I actually was not planning on running it until the day before. A fellow cross country runner unfortunately got a concussion and could not run, so she offered me her extra bib. I was already planning on running my weekly long run of about 10 miles that Sunday, so I decided I would run the half marathon,” Brown said.

After finishing her first half marathon strongly, Brown hopes to one day complete the full Houston marathon.