Best spots from which to watch Chevron Houston Marathon

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The Chevron Houston Marathon will wind through parts of Houston, and Katherine Whaley has the best spots to watch

If you haven't trained to run the Chevron Houston Marathon, you can still be part of the action on Sunday morning. Here are some of the best places to cheer on the racers.

The center of activity is right around the George R Brown Convention Center -- the race starts at Congress and San Jacinto and ends at Lamar and Crawford. From this area, you will be able to see the thrill of accomplishment as racers cross the finish line!

Another great spot is along Mile 4 - in the heart of River Oaks, along West Grey. Here, you can enjoy a scenic view of the route, and duck into one of the many coffee shops to warm up and grab a drink.

The Galleria area also provides some ideal options for viewing the runners. Mile 14, at the corner of San Felipe and Post Oak, is just past the halfway mark. The area has ample parking, and wide sidewalks along the route.

Mile 20 in Memorial Park is where runners need your support the most! Known as "The Wall," this is the spot where participants "hit the wall" before reaching the final stretch. You will want to cheer extra loud to help them finish strong!


1. Start/Finish Line
The George R. Brown Convention Center is the hub of race day excitement both before the starting gun and after the winners break the finish line tape. From this vantage point, the true thrill of victory and agony of defeat can be seen up close and personal as runners start and complete the 26.2 mile course.

2. Refueling Stations
Located at every mile and a half along the course, these areas are crowd favorites to watch runners jockey for the best position to intercept a smooth water handoff. The refueling stations are also a popular scene for many of the marathon's HOOPLA happenings.

3. Mile 4: W. Grey
Spectators can wait for the runners at the River Oaks Shopping Center, where coffee shops, restaurants and retail live alongside the historic River Oaks Theatre-the oldest working theater in the city.

4. Mile 5-7: Kirby
The perfect combination of residential, retail and scenery, the Kirby miles provide easy access to spectators wanting to cheer on the runners.

5. Mile 8: Bissonnet and Mandell
The last place to see runners in both the marathon and half marathon is at the corner of Bissonnet and Mandell, where runners either go straight for the half marathon route or take a right turn for the marathon.

6. Mile 10: University Boulevard and the City of West University Place
In an area filled with upscale homes and some of Houston's trendiest shops, "West U" residents turn out in large numbers to cheer on the runners. The entire community takes on a festive air with many holding block parties and other marathon-related social events.

7. Mile 13: Westpark and Post Oak
As one of the key milestones that marathoners reach on their way to the finish line, the halfway point is a great place to see how runners are holding up to the challenge of 26.2 miles.

8. Mile 14: Post Oak and San Felipe
This venue offers race spectators varied viewing points close to the Galleria's many shops and restaurants. Post Oak's wide sidewalks and numerous street-level parking areas are great places to cheer on the runners.

9. Mile 15-16: Tanglewood Boulevard
Leaving the Galleria area, runners will head down what may be the prettiest mile on the course - Tanglewood Boulevard. Runners will be greeted with banners, flags and cheering residents.

10. Miles 20-21: Memorial Park
Memorial Park's miles of beautiful jogging trails attract thousands of Houstonians daily. The Memorial Park area also is the site of every marathoner's nemesis - the infamous wall. An invisible barrier at the 20-mile mark, the wall drains many runners' physical, emotional and psychological will. Once over the wall, the marathon becomes a 6.2 mile race to the finish.
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