As y'all read this I will be out running through the streets of Houston for the final time. When I cross the finish line I will have completed 15 Houston marathons and 30 marathons and ultras all together.
I'll probably keep running marathons after this - but I just won't participate in the Houston marathon anymore. The Houston race just isn't fun anymore. It used to be more of a party atmosphere but, with Chevron aboard as the title sponsor, the race has become more and more corporatized.
The race is so beholden to a corporation with a horrid reputation when it comes to environmental damage and human rights that in 2010 a team of runners sponsored by the Rainforest Action Network were kicked out of the pre-race Expo for speaking out against Chevron's record on human rights in Ecuador.
Once upon a time there was a marathon kick-off party at Memorial Park in early September. You could go to the park and register for the race in person. Now, with registration over the internet, the race is filled months and months in advance. Luckily since I have veteran status (having completed at least 10 races), I don't have to concern myself with the crowds registering on the interwebz. I just have to remember to sign up by November 1.
The addition of the half-marathon has made the race way too congested over the first nine or so miles. And what's the great feat about running 13.1 miles anyway? That's a distance I can do hungover on any Sunday morning.
My attention will now turn to Galveston, Seabrook and Huntsville. The races are smaller and less regimented. It's not a chore the register, pick up a packet and run those races. They're fun.
In the meantime, here's a look at Chevron's "dirty hands." Here's a little fact sheet on how Chevron has been complicit in violating the rights of indigenous peoples around the globe. Here's what the Rainforest Action Network has to say on the topic. Here's the report from the Corporate Research Project. And then there's Chevron's record on the environment.
And we're not even going to get started with the Aramco, the sponsor of the half-marathon.