Running for a Reason: The 2017 Houston Marathon

While most people were still in bed early Sunday morning, thousands of runners descended on downtown Houston to run the 45th annual Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Half Marathon.

For PCHAS runners and their supporters, festivities began on the Saturday night before the marathon, when PCHAS hosted a pasta dinner for runners so they could load up on carbs prior to the race. “It is a wonderful time for fellowship, sharing about PCHAS and celebrating our runners. The event is also a PCHAS fundraiser. We raised $2,000 in one night,” said Sarah Cleary, senior development officer for Houston, southeast Texas and southern Louisiana.

Members of Team Butterfly at the PCHAS Pasta Dinner

Each year, the marathon supports the Run for a Reason Program, which enables runners to fundraise and raise awareness for meaningful causes. PCHAS runners and their supporters have raised over $21,000 so far. Running for PCHAS this year were Team Butterfly (a running group at Southminster Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of La Grange), Christopher French, Vaughn Mankey, Leonie Tchoconte, Randy Spencer and Jennifer Quintero-Pitts. Randy and Jennifer Quintero-Pitts are members of the PCHAS staff.

The morning of the marathon, PCHAS volunteers, including St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church’s youth group, Randy’s family, Sarah Cleary, and a PCHAS adoptive mother and her two children all gathered to hand out Gatorade to the runners at the mile 5 refueling station. “We so enjoyed cheering on all the runners including, of course, seeing familiar faces whiz by,” said Sarah.

PCHAS volunteers pass out Gatorade to runners

Running in the half marathon is no easy feat, but running for a good cause makes it all worthwhile, said Jennifer and Randy, who each raised more than $1,000.

“The clients we serve, especially the children in our care, motivated me to run,” said PCHAS Coordinator of Volunteers Jennifer Quintero-Pitts. “I had a challenging upbringing, so I can understand some of the emotional struggles and doubts our children face every day. I had to find ways to prove to myself and to others that I mattered.  And, now I’m running to help our kids know that they matter too!”

With the motivation of helping children and families and the support of friends, family, co-workers, and even strangers, Jennifer and Randy both had a great race, even though Randy was suffering from an upper respiratory illness.

“There were several times during the race that I hurt bad enough that I walked for a distance, and the encouragement of complete strangers literally moved me enough that I started running again” said Randy. “I was reminded how much my encouragement might help a co-worker, friend or person I am serving through PCHAS.”

Even through weakness, fatigue, illness, and sore muscles, our runners persevered for a bigger cause.

“I’m just thankful that I had the opportunity to raise funds that will certainly help children and families,” said Randy.

PCHAS is so thankful for everyone who ran, volunteered and raised money for PCHAS! Your support means we can continue doing what we do best: providing Christ-centered care and support to children and families in need.

If you would like to donate to PCHAS through one of our runners or fundraisers, there’s still time! Visit http://charity.marathonguide.com/houstonmarathon/Donate/CharityPage.cfm?CID=653.

By Alyssa Rueter