Do you know where you’ll be eight months from now on Jan. 18?
If you answered “At the starting line of the Houston Marathon,” it’s time to make it happen.
Early registration for the marathon and half-marathon is already underway for those who qualify based on their speediness, prior marathon experience in Houston or other special circumstances.
As in the recent past, most of the spots at the starting line will be distributed through a random lottery.
Registration for the lottery opens June 4 and runs through June 19. Results of the lottery will be announced June 23.
“We have the same total number of entries available as last year,” spokesperson Vicki Oddi said. “There will be 13,000 in the marathon and 12,000 in the half-marathon.”
Oddi noted that lottery registrants had a better-than-even chance of garnering an entry.
“There’s a pretty good chance of getting in,” she said. “More than half of the lottery registrants were able to register last year.”
Veterans of the race don’t have to sweat out the lottery.
Anyone who has run five or more previous Houston Marathons qualifies for a guaranteed entry until Thursday.
Even unsuccessful veterans of the application process may qualify for early registration.
“With our ‘Third Time’s a Charm’ policy, anyone who registered for two consecutive years without being selected is guaranteed an entry the third year,” Oddi said.
Older runners catch a break this year, too, as the finishing time needed to claim a guaranteed entry is now age-graded.
Houston’s standard qualifying time for an early, guaranteed registration is a four-hour marathon run in 2013 or 2014, but for men ages 65-69 and women 55-59, a 4:10 finish in a previous marathon earns an early spot.
The required times increase for the next age group to 4:25.
Equivalent half-marathon and 10K times may also be used for guaranteed entry into either the marathon or the half-marathon.
Oddi stressed that entry under any of the special provisions must be completed by Thursday.
Bernice Torregrossa is a five-time marathoner and a water exercise instructor. She can be reached at email@example.com.