The Houston marathon has been growing in popularity every year. Many people said they were starting their training regimen Wednesday.
The training starts at on the trail, not that it's easy to prepare for a 26-mile run through the city.
"I usually run about 70 miles a week, and that's kind of the norm," runner Darla Shinn said. "The marathon is always hard. It doesn't matter how much you run or how much you train."
Wednesday is the first day you can enter the Houston marathon's lottery system. About 30,000 people are expected to apply, but only 25,000 get to participate.
"The Houston marathon over the last five, six years has elevated into the top tier of marathons along with the Boston, New York and Chicago marathons," marathon managing director Steven Karpas said.
That's why organizers have planned a new course. It isn't 100 percent official yet, but next year, both full- and half-marathon runners will have the same starting line, on Congress Street in downtown.
"We all start at the same line and we encourage each other and understand what everybody goes through. Even as an elite runner, yes I do hurt. So I know their pain and they know my pain," runner Meb Keflezighi said.
The new course is flatter and avoids traditionally busy spots like the Elysian Viaduct and the I-10 underpass. Instead, runners will take in the sights of Washington Avenue, Heights Boulevard and West U.
If the new route proves popular, who knows, organizers might allow even more people to participate in 2015.
"We're hoping we can make this race even bigger than it already is," marathon race director Brent Koch said
"Twenty thousand, 30,000 participants in the streets, but each has different goals. But as long as you maximize that potential that you have, you're going to be happy," Keflezighi said.
The lottery system will be open until June 20. On June 24, the winners will be announced.
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