Galveston Gets Its First Marathon In Over A Decade

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Galveston Mardi Gras Marathon: No guns allowed
Angry runners shut out of this year's first ever Chevron Houston Marathon lottery still have a chance to go the distance this winter thanks to the revival of a marathon on Galveston Island. The island hasn't had a full marathon since the mid-1990s, according to Jana Landry, who is helping coordinate the upcoming race.

The new race will take place Feb 20, just three weeks after the sold-out Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Half-Marathon. The Galveston Mardi Gras Marathon and Half-Marathon will also capitalize on the island's celebration of the pre-Lent holiday.

Landry and her husband Kevin are owners of three running stores in the Houston area -- On the Run, which has stores in Clear Lake and Houston, and Tri On The Run, which is located near Memorial Park. The couple are no strangers to race planning. They also organize the Tri-Girls series of women-only triathlons in May and August. Jana Landry said the idea for the marathon came about as a way to declare Galveston's recovery from Ike, which struck the Gulf Coast two years ago this week.

"We love Galveston. We lived in Galveston for four years," she said. "We just felt like Galveston needed another marathon."

The Landrys started planning for the run in April, before the Houston Marathon announced its plans to switch to a lottery system. They picked the date to correspond with Mardi Gras, not realizing that the popular Austin Marathon is on the same day. But Landry said she isn't worried. They don't expect the race to sell out on the first year, but she would be happy if 1,000 to 1,500 people signed up for each distance.

"Running in the Houston area has just exploded," she said. "I ran my first Houston Marathon in 1989 -- it was a two-loop course then -- and only a few thousand people signed up."

Part of the challenge of hosting a 26.2-mile race on the island is that Galveston is only 27 miles long. That means the full race will have to be two loops of the 13.1 mile half-marathon course, Landry said. The last Galveston marathon ran two loops along the Seawall, which Landry called "boring."

"Ours starts on the Strand, runs towards Moody Gardens, then comes back along the Seawall, so you get to kind of see a lot of Galveston. You get to see the historic district, the tourist district and the Seawall."

Landry said she also hopes to see some Mardi Gras spirit from the spectators who don't plan on racing. Registration for both runs is open at a discounted rate until Dec. 6.

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