Friday, June 18, 2010

Houston Marathon amends lottery system

chron reports
The initial outcry about the Houston Marathon Committee's decision to implement a lottery to select participants for the Jan. 30 events was strong but has abated since more details were released this week.

Organizers told the board of the Houston Area Road Runners Association on Monday that HARRA would receive 500 spots in the Chevron Houston Marathon. They also said they would guarantee entries for the approximately 3,100 people who have finished five to nine Houston marathons, an offer that originally extended only to the 400 or so who had completed 10 or more races.
HARRA president Ron Morgan called the offer wonderful and said the organization has yet to determine how the entries will be allocated. He hopes demand among the group's nearly 1,800 members will not exceed supply, particularly since HARRA members who have run five or more marathons won't need those spots.
"We are not sure, but we think all HARRA members who want to enter the marathon will be able to," Morgan said.

HARRA's predecessor, the Long Distance Racing Committee, was the group responsible for creating Houston's marathon and staging it for many years. The race has also been the group's championship event in its fall racing series since its first run in 1972.
Nonetheless, others would like to see HARRA's arrangement extended to other groups.
"There was nothing to address the training programs that are out there, like USA Fit, which have a significant amount of people who want to run the marathon," said Richard Cooper, a Woodlands Fit organizer who has run nine Houston marathons.
But, Cooper said, "I'm pretty happy about the 5- to 9-under-the-belts ruling because it addresses the runners who have helped grow the marathon to what it is today."
Steven Karpas, the event's managing director, said the moves demonstrated the committee's commitment to local participants.
"Runners are beginning to understand the lottery actually gives them an equal shot at getting in the race," he said.
Karpas has said he expects about 30,000 people to register for 22,000 available spots, which will be evenly divided between the marathon and the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. The guaranteed entries do not apply to the half-marathon lottery.