Инстаграм @peopleofmemorialpark People Of Memorial Park
Kyle has only lived in Houston for a short time, but his story is a perfect example of how easy it can be to become integrated into the Houston running #community. Kyle says he does not remember a time when training and exercise were not an integral part of his family’s life. His grandfather is well-known runner, author, and coach @higdonmarathon. Kyle’s dad & grandfather both qualified for the Olympic Trials. He says if you add the marathon PR’s of Kyle, his dad, & his grandfather, his family is pretty sure there has never been another set of 3 generations w/ a faster combined time of 7:24:25. A #halhigdon training schedule generally recommends workouts based on effort: easy, moderate, or hard. Kyle grew up with this approach to running and is skilled at monitoring his progress based on this scale. In the last 25-yrs of training, Kyle used a stopwatch to gauge his progress during track workouts but only recently succumbed to the notion of purchasing a #Garmin to track his speed during tempo runs. During the summer of 2017, Kyle moved to southeast Houston for an internship at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Then, in May 2018, Kyle graduated from UT w/ a PhD in Aerospace, Aeronautical, & Astronautical Engineering and moved back to Houston to begin his career at NASA. During his internship, Kyle met @francoisdoc at the Lunar Rendezvous Run post-race party. Frank invited him to come to #MemorialPark for a Sunday morning long run. A year later when Kyle moved back to Houston, he decided to rent an apartment off Allen Parkway and commute to work in Clear Lake. He says he chose the location because it gives him more opportunities to run at Memorial Park and Buffalo Bayou. Kyle initially joined #BCRR, but he says he regularly trains with most of the clubs in Houston. After his first visit to the Park, he quickly realized that, regardless of whether he is doing a fast tempo run at 5:30 a.m. or an easy recovery jog after work, he can always find someone to run with. During his time on the trail, you may even see him wearing a watch! #fastfamily #rocketscientist #nasa #jsc #runhou
@gknow88 and @jygarza89 met 10 yrs ago on MySpace before internet dating was a thing. Although they have several dear friends who are longtime runners, that has not always been the case. Eugene (aka Gene by his wife & family) was fascinated with running as a child. When he was in the 3rd grade & tasked w/ writing a story about someone he admired, he chose Prefontane. After high school, he continued to race & was respected for his quick times, but he always trained alone. Then, in 2016 @dan_barron reached out to ask if Gene would consider joining the #HoustonHarriers. He declined, but Daniel was persistent. Today he freely admits that he had no idea what he was missing out on until he was exposed to the comradery & friendships of being part of the group. In the last 2 yrs, his times have continued to drop, and he attributes that to training with other Harriers who push him to run harder. He says his proudest running moment was when he traveled to CO & finally “caught his unicorn.” Gene is known for wearing a heart monitor around his chest, but never a shirt. He says he does not look at his heart rate while he is running, but when he gets home he likes to download and analyze the data. Jessica, on the other hand, loathed running and was perfectly happy to cheer for Gene from the sidelines. Then, one day, she decided to jog on a treadmill in an attempt to lose weight. Gene says he was shocked when she asked if he wanted to run with her. Over time, she was happy to see her weight drop, but felt that she was too slow to run with a group. After much encouragement, she finally agreed to join a Social Run @wildpearrunning and was also shocked that there were actually other people who ran her pace. She said it gave her confidence to enter races and she took pride in her accomplishments. Now they are expecting their first child, a son, and are excited about what the future holds. Gene is an electrical designer and Jessica teaches 2nd grade. Although their marathon times are a couple hours apart, together their sweet family is a beautiful picture of the awesome Houston running community and all it has to offer! #cutecouple #memorialpark #babyontheway
Eli grew up in Mexico and moved to Houston in 2004. She is the youngest of 11 kids, and her parents taught her the importance of living an active & healthy lifestyle. Her husband is a native Houstonian and avid runner. He introduced Eli to Memorial Park, and they eventually decided to buy a house near the Park. She says her new friends she met on the trail helped her learn English and feel at home. Eli is a strong and confident wife, mother of two, and business owner. She uses Memorial Park daily to incorporate it in all areas of her life: she wants to teach her daughters the value and importance of a healthy lifestyle, she enjoys her free time to continue her training, and she periodically uses the Park for her thriving training business. Eli always planned to run a marathon, but never made time to train for it. Then, in 2018, she decided it was time to stop talking about it and actually start training. She finished this year's Houston Marathon and says it was a wonderful experience. She even qualified for the 2020 Boston Marathon. This photo was taken 2 days after the race. She could not bend her knees because she was swollen, sore, and stiff and even needed some help to get on the bench! Eli has a passionate and vibrant spirit and attributes her inner joy to being a grateful person. She says that even on the tough days, there is always something to be thankful for in life! #memorialpark #runhou #runhouston #beautifulmom #helpmeup #icantbendmyknees
Brenda @linbren grew up playing sports in her neighborhood. She was the only girl on her block, but that did not stop her from participating in pickup rounds of basketball, baseball, and any other game the group invented. In high school Brenda tried out for the track team. However, she had a history of seizures, and the coach decided that allowing Brenda to compete was too risky. He told her she could work out with the team, but could not compete. After graduating, life got busy and she stopped exercising. Then, in 2010, she was going through a divorce and a friend encouraged her to take up running as a way to relieve stress. Brenda googled “places to run in Houston” and found that #MemorialPark was the #1 recommendation. She started coming to the Park after work and quickly realized that her time on the trail not only helped to clear her mind, it also gave her a confidence and joy she had not felt in many years. By 2017, Brenda decided to sign up for a 10K and spent 6 months training for the race. Although her seizures are not as frequent as they were when she was a child, she says she still occasionally has one if she is under a tremendous amount of stress. So, the night before the 10K, her cousin called urging her to reconsider participating in the race. Brenda tried to explain that she had been training for the race for several months and did not believe in allowing a fear of what might happen to sideline her from life. The next day, on the morning of the race, her mom also called with the same concerns as her cousin. To Brenda’s delight, her sweet #daddy offered to ride his bike and hop around the course to make sure she was all right. Since that time, Brenda’s dad has brought his bike to almost every race she has entered. She says he cheers loudly and she loves hearing his voice, even before she ever sees his face in the crowd. Brenda has yet to have a seizure during a race, but she still delights in having her father’s support. She says she wants to make sure that she lives each day to the fullest and does not have any plans to slow down, especially with her dad by her side. #fearyoudontownme #overcomer #daddysgirl
Michael @michaelgntx has had a hard life. He was molested at the age of 7 and often witnessed his mother being physically abused by a stepfather. He has a twin brother who was Mr. Athletic, and although they were not identical, people always asked Michael why he was not as athletic or as tall as his brother. The thought that he would never be as manly weighed on him. Then, his girlfriend miscarried, and he experienced deep grief over the loss of his son. After graduating, Michael joined the Navy and was stationed in Sicily during #DesertStorm. More than anything he wanted to find a way to escape, but when his 8-yrs were up, he was left w/ the same problems he had carried his entire life. He says he cannot make excuses to justify his bad choices, but he wonders if he would have hit rock bottom if life had been easier. Michael quickly became addicted to alcohol, but when that was not enough to numb the pain, he turned to drugs and anything else that would give allow him to escape his heartache. In 2014 he moved to #Houston to sleep on a yoga mat in his sister's living room. Although the majority of his life revolved around his addictions, there were occasional times of being clean and sober. Michael loves to run, and when he came to #MemorialPark for the first time, it was like a refuge. He always left feeling refreshed & strengthened. He jokes that being at the Park is like taking Prozac; he’d be a hot mess if it wasn’t there! Finally, in 2018, he felt like he would soon be dead if he did not get clean. He joined Narcotics Anonymous and found the faith, support, & tools he needed to begin his journey to recovery. He says God also changed his heart when he finally admitted his ways were not working for him. Instead of being angry at God for allowing the tough times, his motto is, “The pain was in vain if you don't learn from your mistakes.” Last year Michael decided he should to use his story to help others. He launched a prayer & giving ministry, Archangel Ministries, and set out to love the City of Houston. Today he partners w/ several organizations to bring hope and healing to people who are experiencing the same struggles he has gone through.
@camoreno2 grew up in LaPorte and still lives there today. She is a die-hard UH fan and will stay up late to watch them play, even when she has to leave her house at 4:15 the next morning to run. She only started running 7 years ago at the age of 49 when a group of friends from work suggested they train for a 5K. After the race she decided she wanted to run a marathon for her 50th birthday, and she did! She quickly became one of the fastest Masters runners in Houston and has run the Boston Marathon 3 times. Although she lives 40 minutes from Memorial Park, Cristy runs there almost every morning. She enjoys meeting her friends and feels like they inspire her to run faster than she would if she was running on her own. She has stopped trying to explain her love of running to her family. She says they think she is crazy to want to train so often and cannot comprehend why she would ever want to drive to the Park to work out. Last year Cristy endured a stress fracture in her sacrum. She was devastated to have to stop running, but instead of sitting home agonizing about her injury, she volunteered to continue making the drive into town on Saturday mornings and pass out water during the Houston Harriers long runs. Looking back, she says the injury gave her a new perspective on running. Although she was frustrated to not be training, she felt like her time supporting her teammates was just as important. In November she was given the green light to start running again. Her return has been filled with ups and downs as she has had to overcome a fear of getting injured again. However, she says she tries to constantly remind herself that she has a purpose in the running community that far exceeds how fast she races. Instead, she feels called to love and encourage her friends. She constantly asks how she can pray for them, and she wants to be known as someone who truly cares about them all. #truefriend #fastmaster #houstonharriers #memorialpark #gocoogs
Jon @mr.pokey101 is highly respected in the Houston running community. He graduated from Cy Creek High School in 1983 but thinks most of today’s athletes receive better coaching than he did when he was in high school. Cy Creek was a very new school during Jon’s time there, and it had a fledgling cross country and track program. He had 4 cross country coaches and 3 track coaches while at Cy Creek. Despite the turnover, Jon was state champ in cross country and the 1600 his senior year. After high school he attended and ran for Rice University where he still holds the school record in the 3000. He is also the only American to run sub-4 in the mile and break 2:20 in the marathon in the same year. Looking back he thinks he learned the most and ran his best times under Coach Jim McLatchie who is also highly respected in Houston running lore. Under McLatchie he finished 8th at the 1996 Olympic Marathon Trials in 2:15. In the last 10-yrs Jon has set many personal goals for running. His most recent goal was to break 20-minutes in a 5K, and he ended up running 19:59. However, he says more often than not, in the midst of pursuing a goal, he ends up injured and has to stop running for a while. Jon has been the head coach of the men’s track and field program at Rice University since 2001. He says these injuries come more as a result of the job demands (14 hours on his feet for a few days in a row each week) than from training. When asked if these setbacks cause him to become depressed or frustrated, Jon rolls his eyes and shrugs his shoulders. He freely admits that he could probably realize more success in running fast if it were not for his affinity for good beer. Also, he insists that these days life is about more than running fast. Instead he is proud of his family and the incredible success of the individuals he coaches. #beersnob #isurvivedmclatchie #glorydays #memorialpark #riceuniversity #stillrunning #coach
@gordo26.2 says he does not remember his parents fighting, but shortly after he turned 12 he was shocked when they announced they were getting a divorce. He went to live w/ his grandmother & floated btwn families who allowed him to crash on their couches. Looking back Sal says life was hard. He has never spoken to his father since the divorce, although his mom did call when she found out he was getting married. She cried & said she wished she could have been a better mom. Sal spent 2 yrs in college pursuing a degree in chemical engineering, but when his money ran out he left school to find a job. A couple men took him under their wings & taught him about carpentry and running a business. He thrived under their mentorship, and one of those men turned out to be his father-in-law. Sal grew up playing soccer, but after getting married and starting his company, Houston Total Carpentry, he says he & his wife decided they were ready to live “the good life.” He stopped playing soccer and they spent many evenings toasting their successes at local restaurants & bars. 5 yrs later, Sal found himself weighing 230 lbs, and his waist size had grown 4 inches. In his job as a carpenter, he struggled to climb a ladder without losing his breath, & he was exhausted at the end of each day. Then one day he decided he had had enough. He was terrified, but told his wife and son he was going to attempt to finish a lap at #MemorialPark after work. It took him an hour to make his way around the trail, but the next day he went back. Sal says that on the 2nd day he asked his family to come to the Park in case he passed out. Instead, he has fond memories of coming around the corner at the Tennis Center and seeing them clapping & cheering as he finished the lap. In the last 8 yrs, Sal has lost 70 lbs and PR’d at the 2018 NYC Marathon in 2:52. Despite what he assumed 16 years ago, he says today “God blesses my life.” He makes a point to take his son to visit his grandmother in Mexico and see the different life styles b/c Sal wants him to see how hard life can be. He is also grateful for the #Houston running #community that has helped him to run longer & faster than he ever thought possible!
This beautiful group of ladies meets at Memorial Park 2 mornings per week. Although they don’t all stay together during their time around the trail, they do all finish at the stretching deck where they catch up on life, take pictures and discuss their upcoming races. They are all members of the Houston chapter of #BlackGirlsRun and are excellent examples of what it takes to balance exercise, work, friendship, and the ups and downs of life. Sherry, who is 2nd from the left, has not always been a runner. While in college she joined Army ROTC as a means to pay for nursing school. While stationed in Seoul, South Korea, she was an Army operating room nurse, but longed for deeper friendships away from work. She met a group of soldiers who met on weekends to run and throw great parties. It was a safe space where the officers and enlisted took the rank off and simply had fun. Although Sherry despised the thought of running, she decided to join the group. To her delight, she was able to build strong relationships and found the comradery she had been looking for. After her time in the military ended, she continued running and eventually joined #BGR. The group meets at #MemorialPark every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 5:30 am, and just like she did in Korea, Sherry has developed deep friendships that extend beyond their time on the trail. Regardless of whether she is running around the Park or competing in a half marathon, she now follows a run-a-mile-walk-a-minute interval. Just like the tortoise in Aesop’s fable, in some cases, she eventually catches other runners who start out faster than she does. Sherry says that even though the Park is 30-minutes away from her home, she does most of her training there. She thinks it is safer than running alone in her neighborhood, but more than anything, she likes seeing her friends! #peopleperson #BGR #nursepractitioner #wellnesscoach #tortoise #memorialpark #rotc #Armyofficer
If you meet @jaimesportspt at his physical therapy clinic, you may assume he has been studying PT and helping people recover from injuries for decades. He is a wealth of knowledge regarding strength, conditioning and how the body functions. He can also perform any therapy exercise w/ ease, as if he practices them every waking minute that he is not at the clinic. However, Jaime did not start out pursuing the field. When he left his home in the valley of south Texas for Texas A&M, his only goal was to find a major that would provide the highest income. Two years later, he was heavily involved w/ the Corps of Cadets, bonfire construction & working full time at @thedixiechicken, but failing his electrical engineering classes. He decided to meet w/ counselors from other majors and finally found a school that would accept his lackluster grades. Five years later, Jaime was working to earn a paycheck, but as soon as he left work, he headed straight for the parks around Austin b/c he was obsessed with #rockclimbing. Then, an ankle injury caused him to stop climbing & go to physical therapy. The appointments left him fascinated with the profession and he began researching what he needed to do to change careers. Unfortunately, since his grades from A&M were so low, he could not find a PT school that would accept him. So at 28-years of age, Jaime moved back home & enrolled as an undergraduate to start college for the 2nd time. After he graduated from PT school and began accepting patients as a sports resindent, he met several runners and was inspired to start training. The only problem was he says he knew nothing about training philosophy and was convinced that every workout needed to be at race pace. When he did finally realize that he should follow a program, he saw improvements, and his times dropped. Although there are plenty of other professions that pay more, Jaime says he loves his job and is thankful for the ankle injury that helped him find it! #physicaltherapy #pt #physicaltherapist #memorialpark #runhou #runhouston #3degrees #moneydoesntmakeyouhappy
Kathy is a native Houstonian and has trained at #MemorialPark for the last 40-yrs. She says she cannot imagine paying to work out at a gym when running at the Park is so easy and peaceful. She was an elementary teacher for many years & still tutors young children. She has the gift of encouragement and sees potential in every child. Kathy says that for many years, one of the items on her #bucketlist was to write a book. She did not know what it would be about; it was just a goal she had. Then in 2016 her great-niece was 7-days shy of her first birthday when she developed a fever. Tragically, 4 days later her niece passed away on Oct 12th. The entire family was devastated, but as they rallied together for strength and support, they resolved that her death would not be in vain. They asked friends & family to stop for a few minutes on the 12th day of each month to spread joy by serving & loving others. This challenge has been carried out in many ways with most people performing a simple, random acts of kindness. As Kathy grieved the loss she chose to focus on finding ways to bless other people, and a story began to develop in her mind. Every time she saw a butterfly she thought of her niece & felt peace that life could be beautiful, even in the midst of heartache. Then, one day in 2017 Kathy was jogging @ Memorial Park and saw a vibrant butterfly flutter past her. She says it was as if that was all she needed to begin writing her book about finding #healing and #hope after the death of child. She says she immediately drove home & completed the rough draft of The Magnificent Garden in less than an hour. By the end of the year, Kathy had added illustrations and her book was published! Today it is available on Amazon & she sold over 900 copies. She has also received many stories of how it helped others heal. For Kathy, Memorial Park has always been a great listener as she has poured her heart out & processed tragedy during her time on the trail. Just as the Park helped her find peace and provided the prodding she needed to begin writing her book, she hopes her work will inspire others to want to spread joy and love everywhere they go! www.mc12.com #whataburger
Nhi @_nhinnguyen grew up in Houston’s Spring Branch neighborhood and graduated from Memorial High School. She started jogging in high school and joined the #MHS cross country team because she has a passion for learning new things and attempting new challenges. When she left for college, she decided to major in theater, even though she had never been in a play and did not have any experience performing. The idea intrigued her because it seemed challenging and she liked the thought of embracing a different personality. Although Nhi is a native Houstonian, her parents grew up in Vietnam, and Vietnamese is spoken in their home. Upon entering college, Nhi also enrolled in speech therapy because she wanted to make sure she could be understood clearly while she was on stage. However, what she learned intrigued her even more. She realized that an audience will accept the way she speaks as long as she is confident and speaks with authority. They care more about her heart and personality that they do about whether she fits the mold of a typical southern girl. This realization gave Nhi the confidence she needed to pursue improv comedy to think quickly and respond to random situations that are presented during the shows. In order for Nhi to pursue her passion at night, she works at Jack Rabbit Running Store during the day to obtain a steady income. She says she loves serving the customers who come in because runners are generally happy people. She has a theory that since runners make exercise a priority, they also like to have fun and have an optimistic outlook on life. Nhi’s ultimate dream would be to star on Saturday Night Live. However, she also feels like she doesn’t need to take life too seriously. Instead, she is content to pursue her dream and hopefully bring a smile to the people of Houston. #memorialpark #snl #runnersarehappypeople #thisphotowasnoteasy
Part 2 of 2 – After his father passed away, Alton spent countless hours caring for his aging mom. She loved to fish, and he often took her to Lake Conroe where she would sit in her wheelchair and sing hymns while fishing. She insisted that she did not want to be kept alive by a machine, so when the time came for her to be admitted to hospice care, Alton had to give the doctors his approval. He says that even though he had not cried in several years, when he agreed to hospice for his mom, it was like Niagara Falls came out of his face. To his surprise, when she did eventually pass away, he did not cry. Alton’s mom had diabetes, and he wants to make sure he and his children remain active so they can avoid similar complications. He often asks his kids and grandkids to join him for a run. They have 4 races they do together every year, and he calls them the Family Runs. They include the Blue Bell 5K, Father’s Day 5K, Turkey Trot, and 12-K of Christmas Fun Run. He says his daughter has declared that she prefers to take spinning classes instead of run. He has agreed that spinning is acceptable, as long as she stays active. Today Alton is appreciated as the man who smiles at everyone he sees along the trail at Memorial Park. He knows many people on a first name basis, and it is difficult to walk more than 10 steps with him before he sees someone he recognizes and stops to say Hello. In addition to walking and running at the Park, he lifts weights and swims. When asked if he would ever consider retiring, Alton quickly declares he would not. He says he’s not sure what he would do with all his spare time, because he is not physically able to run at Memorial Park twice/day. For Alton, that’s the only thing he could think of doing that would fill his time and bring him joy! #memorialpark #happy #altonisthebest
Part 1 of 2 - Alton has been a Memorial Park regular for 20 years. He calls the group of men he meets in the morning “The Posse” and has many stories of their sweet friendship and competitive nature over the years. Alton grew up in Houston. His dad told everyone that he only obtained a 4th grade education, but Alton is not sure if even that is an exaggeration. During his senior year of high school, Alton remembers a day when his dad asked him what he planned to do after graduating. He assumed he would be a truck driver like his dad was, but when he presented his plan, Alton’s dad surprised him by insisting that he was going to college. The thought had never crossed his mind, but Alton agreed and enrolled at TSU the following fall. Today he is a self-employed accountant, which gives him the flexibility to come to the Park during the mid-morning. He is often asked if he chose the profession because he likes numbers. Instead he says that when he enrolled at TSU and needed to declare a major, he opened the newspaper to the Help Wanted ads. He saw that accountants made $650/mo, and that’s what he wrote down as his major. He jokes that he is thankful Engineering did not start with an “A” because he would have been a terrible engineer. During college, Alton took several courses that required him to add or subtract multiple columns and rows of numbers. Inevitably, one of the calculations would be off and he would have to go through the entire page looking for his error. Then, one day, he was complaining to his father about how much easier his work would be if he had an adding machine. He says his dad never liked banks, and to Alton’s surprise, his dad instructed Alton to go outside, get a shovel, and start digging under the water heater. Sure enough, there was a box of money, and Alton withdrew the $50 needed to buy the adding machine! #happyman #lovehissmile #theposse #accountant #memorialpark
Carolina @tropicalfruit_runner grew up in #Venezuela and has always been very active. She swam throughout her childhood. Then a friend at the university introduced her to #rugby. She played rugby for 10 years and started running to stay in shape. In 2014 Carolina’s job as a systems engineer transferred her to Houston. During her years of playing rugby, she jogged alone, but in Houston she quickly realized there are many great places where she can exercise outdoors with other people. She says she has made many amazing friends and feels like the running community is now her second family. Another thing Carolina appreciates about Houston is there are many races that encourage participants to also raise money for charities. Carolina is a #foodie and thinks it is tragic that there are people loves giving back by helping those in our City who don’t get nutritious meals. She uses her running as a means to raise funds for the @houstonfoodbank and Fort Bend Seniors on Wheels and also volunteers with @girlsontherun because she believes giving back to the community is very important. Finally, Carolina is a huge fan of #MemorialPark. She says the diversity she sees on the trail is a beautiful picture of the world, all on a 3-mile path. When she looks back at her life growing up in Venezuela to where she is now, she is overwhelmed to think about how much she has changed in such a short time. Carolina’s enthusiasm and appreciation for Houston’s incredible food, the compassionate citizens, and the thriving fitness community all make her proud to call Houston #home. #beautifulinsideandout #colorful #trailrunner #servant #runhouston #runhou
Jewett Brown has been a regular of the Memorial Park morning crowd for many years. He starts his workouts at 4:30 a.m. by jogging a lap. At the end of the lap he walks backwards from the stretching deck to his car because he once read that walking backwards helps strengthen different muscle groups. Finally, if the weather is nice, Jewett walks a second lap. Although his exercise routine is fairly consistent, he is better recognized as the man who never wears a shirt. Ever. Even during the January 2018 freeze when it snowed. Jewett says if the temperature gets below 45 degrees, he carries a hand warmer and tosses it between his hands while he is making his way around the trail. He insists that even on the coldest of days, he only needs a half mile jog to warm-up and is never bothered by the chilly air on his bare skin. Last February Jewett was at home when he felt an intense pain in his chest and began blacking out. Finally, he called 911 and was rushed to the hospital with a heart attack. He is convinced that he would have died that day if not for the Houston #firefighters at Stations 13 and 31. After a couple weeks away from the Park, Jewett returned and resumed his regular routine. He also stopped by the fire stations to ask if there was anything he could do for the men who saved his life. They suggested he could bring them food, so he immediately bought 8 of Domino's largest Meat Eater pizzas. A year later, he still follows the same run a lap, walk backwards, walk a lap schedule. He also still only wears shorts, a visor, and tennis shoes. The only difference is today he carries a metal tube with nitroglycerin tablets in his pocket and is 30 pounds lighter. He likes to say that the countryside is peaceful, but living in Houston has its benefits, especially if you need an ambulance to be at your home within minutes! #makesmecoldlookingathim #handwarmer #memorialpark #hfdisthebest #dontforgetthevisor
@daddymaximo22 grew up in Pearland and started running as a young boy. In high school he showed promise, so Maximo’s dad decided to hire a personal coach. They asked for suggestions and learned that former University of Houston coach, Howie Ryan, was highly regarded. The only problem was Howie asked that they meet in Houston at #MemorialPark. Maximo and his dad agreed that the opportunity to run under Howie’s tutelage was worth the sacrifice, and they began making the drive from Pearland to the Park twice a week at 5:00 a.m. Maximo was thankful to have Howie’s wisdom and customized advice. His parents were also delighted when he completed the 2007 Houston Half Marathon in 1:12:38 as a 17 yr-old and was heavily recruited to run in college. Since graduating from Houston Baptist University, Maximo has become a husband and a #daddy. He takes great joy in seeing his son run, but the pride is not about how fast he races. Instead, Maximo loves seeing him work hard and give his best effort, just as Maximo did 15 years ago. In recent years he has continued to be one of the top finishers in local races. He also started volunteering with @team_catapult and has had the privilege of guiding some of the nation’s fastest blind and visually impaired athletes. Just as training under Howie inspired him as a teenager, guiding the Catapult runners gave him a new perspective on what was possible with courage and determination. Maximo is a wealth of knowledge about training, form, running gear, and the Houston running community. Sadly, for Houston, his job at Rogue Running recently transferred him to Austin. He will be missed, but undoubtedly his influence and work ethic will be appreciated in Austin, just as it was in Houston. #runhouston #houstontoaustin
Leah @fitfoodiele is a native Houstonian. She played basketball & volleyball throughout high school and college and met her husband while attending the University of Houston. After graduating & getting married they set out to start their careers, but both of them had an unsettled passion for fitness and a desire to help others improve their lives. Finally in 2012 they decided it was time to stop talking about their dreams & start pursuing them. Leah launched a website and blog that includes recipes, tips on improving your health, & observations about life as a wife and mom. Her husband meets w/ clients in person or online who are wanting to improve their strength & conditioning. Leah says that since she works from home and the demands of life never seem to cease, she has found that one of the best ways to relieve stress is to get outside & go for a run. She spends her time praying for her family, coming up w/ new ideas for her business & being thankful for the time alone, even if it is only an hour. Although she has participated in numerous fun runs, last year she decided it was time to attempt a marathon. She was selected as a 2019 #HoustonMarathonAmbassador, but unlike most of the other representatives Leah has been journaling about her experiences leading up to the race w/ fresh eyes. Each week as her long runs have progressed she has reached a new milestone in the longest distance she has ever run in her life. If truth be told the thought of running the marathon is completely overwhelming & she has struggled to maintain confidence. She says a marathon even seems more intimidating than having a baby! A friend recently assured her that since she has finished 20-miles, she will be fine on race day. This made her feel slightly better, but she freely admits she is extremely nervous. Regardless of her time when she finishes she has treasured the journey getting to the starting line & is thankful for all she has learned about herself along the way. Her husband also likes to offer that the thought of leaving the house at 5:00 am to follow Leah around the marathon course w/ their 8, 5, & 2 yr old kids sounds almost as tough!