Debate Continues

Registration for Houston Marathon lottery begins: Runner who wants to race for slain friend waits

Registration for Houston Marathon lottery begins: Runner who wants to race for slain friend waits

News_Steve Popp_Houston Marathon 2010_history_Chevron Houston Marathon 2010_Start Line
Photo by Victah Sailer/Photo Run
Marathon_Riley_Miles_for_Micah
Jennifer Riley hopes to sport her "Miles for Micah" shirt at the 2012 Chevron Houston Marathon, in honor of her slain friend. Courtesy of Jennifer Riley
Events_Chevron Houston Marathon_Jan 10
News_Steve Popp_Houston Marathon 2010_history_Chevron Houston Marathon 2010_Start Line
Marathon_Riley_Miles_for_Micah
Events_Chevron Houston Marathon_Jan 10

For anyone hoping to participate in the 2012 Chevron Houston Marathon (or the Aramco Houston Half Marathon), Wednesday is the day the hoping starts. 

On Wednesday morning, the floodgates opened so that those wishing to run the grueling 26.2 miles on Jan. 15 can enter their names in a lottery for a chance to get into the race. 

Due to the high demand for limited spots in the race, organizers established a lottery for the first time last year, in an attempt to create the fairest conditions possible for selection.

Still, going into lottery No. 2, not everyone is a fan of the procedure.

Would be first-time full marathoner Jennifer Riley has a love-hate relationship with the current state of registration. Even though she made the lottery cut for last year's Aramco Houston Half Marathon, Riley is wary of the system's uncertainty. While she understands that the event's high capacity is a argument for the regulation of registration, she says it can be "frustrating." 

Some of this frustration comes from the fact that those running for charity automatically get a spot in the marathon through the Run for a Reason Charity Program. While this is admirable on many levels, running for charity can be pricey for a runner, potentially putting many who cannot afford the charitable endeavor at a disadvantage. 

Despite some frustration, there are runners who appreciate the lottery system.

Five-time Chevron Houston Marathon runner Daniel Murphy says he is thankful for the new system. Murphy sees the lottery system as "a necessary evil." He believes it keeps registration much more organized than in other large city marathons (the ING New York City Marathon, namely) and allows out-of-town runners to more easily participate.

Of course, it also means many people who desire to run can't. 

Lottery registration is open from now until June 23. Wednesday's opening coincides with the celebration of National Running Day

Worried that marathon running might be too intense for you? Help yourself by looking for inspiration in unusual places. Every would-be marathon runner has a story. Riley's is one of the more gut wrenching.

While Riley does not fancy herself a traditional runner, she has taken on the challenge of marathons in honor of a great friend.

After the tragic loss of her closest childhood friend, Micah Rine Pate, in 2009, Riley decided she would run for Pate, who was murdered by her husband. If Riley is selected, look for her on race day with her "Miles 4 Micah" shirt.