On Sunday morning, drag yourself out of bed and go cheer on a stranger. It’s marathon Sunday. Clap your hands, yell “go runner,” hand out Kleenex or just stand there and watch the people go by in the Chevron Houston Marathon.
It will be inspiring for you and appreciated by the runners. But any good marathon spectator needs a plan. Here are the best spots to watch the full marathon. For a map of the half marathon (they need support too!) visit the course map.
- The George R. Brown Convention Center: This is the start and finish line, and the point where you’ll see the most emotion. There will be pain, anguish, happiness and maybe surprise. It will be crowded, but how exciting to be at the finish line of one of the largest marathons in the country. Expect the front-runners to finish around 9:10 a.m. and the rest of the big pack to roll in around noon.
- Miles Six-Seven, Bayou into Montrose area: There’s plenty of space to watch runners here when they’re still feeling really strong. Stand along the Bayou as they cross into Montrose and go all the way to Rice University. If you stay in this spot, you can also see the last few miles of the race coming back down Memorial Drive.
- Mile 10, Rice University area: This is one of my favorite places to run — with the buildings of the Medical Center on one side, the museums nearby and the beautiful rows of trees on the Rice loop. Most of the runners should still be feeling great at Mile 10. Give them some energy and enthusiasm to keep it up.
- Mile 12, University Boulevard: One of the most beautiful parts of Houston, this is a popular place for residents to have block parties to cheer on the runners in a straight shoot through West University. Join in at the near halfway point when runners are really feeling in their groove.
- Mile 16.5, Post Oak at San Felipe: How many times can you hang out at this busy intersection without worrying about being hit by a car? With plenty of nearby parking lots, stand along the sidelines and watch the runners enter the final 10 miles of the race.
- Mile 18, Tanglewood Boulevard: Also one of the prettiest streets in the city, this mile will be lined with lots of people cheering on the racers. Miles 18-20 is notoriously when runners start to feel the tolls of a marathon on their body. They'll be hoping not to hit “the wall.” Be there to encourage them along.
- Miles 21 and 22, Memorial Park: This is part of the last 10K of the race when many runners are feeling really drained and tired, and the beginning of small rolling hills along Memorial. Cheer them on through the final stretch down Memorial Drive.
Watching a marathon can be exciting for the spectator too. They are a very important part of race day to help spread enthusiasm and encouragement to all who participate in running the distance. And what a great way to bring the city together.