Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Aramco Houston Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K

Tons of shoes and the crates of
Brooks display stuff
What an awesome weekend for running!!

I was able to work for Brooks at the 2011 Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine Institute Expo on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. What an incredible experience to see how Brooks is able to cater to the needs of thousands upon thousands of runners with only the expertise of two people.

Awesome finished product
I got to Houston on Thursday to help the Brooks guys set up for the expo. Basically, we were able to take two rolling cases of equipment, 250 pairs of shoes, and tons of apparel and turn it into a functioning Brooks store - complete with advice on running, shoe and apparel selection, and generally great conversation about running and the races the next morning. Honestly, I wondered how and if it would all come together. All the setup looked so complicated when it was laid out on the floor. How was this going to get set up with just the three of us And how on earth does it get done with normally just the two of them? Well...fortunately for Brooks, Chris and Carlos knew exactly what they were doing and it all ended up looking amazing.

Brooks branded t-shirt
Friday was the first day of the expo. The forecast for Sunday's race was rain, so the LSD Lite II Jacket sold out in the first hour. We had a kind of unofficial sales competition amongst the volunteers with selling those. It was a hot item. The other hot item were the shirts that we had branded. We sold ever single one that was made. People loved that it said "Run Happy Houston". We decided that it sounded like Ron Burgundy's "Stay Classy San Diego". It was a great tagline for the weekend.

Start line of the 2011 USA Half
Marathon Championship
Saturday was the BIG day for the expo. Most of the Houstonians came on Friday, but most of the out-of-towners don't make it to the expo until Saturday. But before the expo opened at 9am, the 2011 USA Half Marathon Championships took place right outside the convention center. Eight miles of this course will be used in the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials, so this race was to test out some of that course. 70 males and 40 females competed. Seriously some of the best in the country. I'm so glad I was able to see such an intensely competitive race. A few people from my running club came to visit us at the Brooks booth, including Houston Marathon finisher and rockstar blogger Chrissy Hennessey.

Finisher medal
The highlight of the weekend was being able to pace a friend of mine who was trying to get her half time down to 2:10. Unfortunately, due to some foot problems and the non-stop rain, we didn't make it in 2:10. But it was still a good effort for her given the conditions. A buddy of mine from a coaching class also ran with us, so it was a great run of camaraderie and suffering together in the rain.

I got to meet some of my fellow ID brothers and sisters too. So happy to finally put some faces with the names that I see on the forum and on Facebook. 

It was really a great experience, and I can't wait until the next one.


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