Saturday, January 15, 2022

The Road To Houston -- A Look Back: Volte Founder Bill Dwyer's 36-Year History of CHM Support

In 1987, a then record 2,849 runners crossed the finish line of the Houston Marathon.

The official recorded low temperature was 38 degrees and it never got warmer that day than 54 degrees.

While it was only the 15th Houston Marathon, it was - to that point - the fourth coldest on record.

Susan Rouse, who we profiled earlier today, was at the start ready to improve upon her debut time of 3:48:58 from the year before.

And whose marathon was it their first?

Our founder, coach and friend Bill Dwyer.

"It was 35 degrees and very windy," he said, much like it is going to be for Sunday's 50th running.  "I was bit by a dog on my calf the day before."

Bill Dwyer running the 1987 Houston Marathon
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

It was his third marathon as his first two marathons were the original rendition of The Woodlands Marathon.

"I ran 3:11:35, which was a 13-minute PR," Bill stated.  "Ultimately this would stand as my third fastest marathon with Dallas in 1988 and Houston in 1989 would be a little faster."

In the picture above, he said he's wearing the FM1960 Roadrunner's singlet, a Ten For Texas long sleeve cotton shirt and noted that it was his first time wearing tights for a race.

Nine Volte here.

As I started to write what you read above, and thinking about Susan's rich history with the race, I asked Bill a short while ago to document his history with the Houston Marathon.

He was gracious enough to do so.

This will be Bill's 36th year either running the race, volunteering or supporting runners - an incredible legacy of commitment to our community and what has turned out to become one of the top mid-major marathons in the world.

Here's his year-by-year history:

1987 - 3:11:35 First Houston
1988 - 3:21:35
1989 - 3:09:07 (3:08:54 on my watch...pre chip)
1990 - 3:30:47
1991 - 3:31:41
1992 - 4:03:13 
1993 - 3:49:37
1994 - 3:59:08
1995 - 4:13:12
1996 - 3:29:31 (good year)
1997 - 4:45:52 (ran with friend)
1998 - Support runners (my small group in Spring)
1999 - Support runners (my small group in Spring)
2000 - Support runners (my small group in Spring)
2001 - Support runners (my small group in Spring)
2002 - 4:37:55 Team In Training Official Marathon - but supporting along the way as the 4:30 TNT pacer
2003 - 5:32:49 Team In Training Official Marathon - but supporting along the way as the 5:30 TNT pacer
2004 - 6:09:00 Official Time Limit Pacer.  Stopped to help someone and ended up with marathon 14, but not recorded as official.
2005 - Support Team In Training
2006 - Support Team In Training
2007 - Support my small group (pre-Volte + Woodlands Fit + The Woodlands Running Club)
2008 - Support my small group (pre-Volte + Woodlands Fit + The Woodlands Running Club)
2009 - Support my small group (pre-Volte + Woodlands Fit + The Woodlands Running Club)
2010 - Support Strive Performance Coaching (Team Strive) + The Woodlands Running Club
2011 - Support Strive Performance Coaching (Team Strive) + The Woodlands Running Club
2012 - Volunteered at mile 13 Water Stop, where Dana-Sue Crews was the captain in support of Team In Training and the Bill Crews Remission Run 5K
2013 - Support Volte runners
2014 - Support Volte runners
2015 - Support Volte runners
2016 - Support Volte runners
2017 - Support Volte runners
2018 - Support Volte runners
2019 - Support Volte runners
2020 - Support Volte runners
2021 - Support Volte runners
2022 - Support Volte runners

Thanks Bill for all that you do for all of us! 

And if you're reading this and running tomorrow, run strong and run with endurance and do well!

The Road to Houston -- A Look Back: Volte's Susan Rouse Gets Ready for CHM #37 on Sunday!

Quality over quantity.

That's a saying we're sure you've heard a lot, but really it's true.

There's a lot to crow about when you're talking numbers, but nothing counts more than experience.

Volte's been blessed - taking nothing away from anybody else - to have coaches with the depth of years of experience like Bill Dwyer and Rich Cooper.

They're both "veterans" as defined by the Chevron Houston Marathon for their lengthy years of finishing the events, covering parts of five decades from 1987 to Rich's half marathon finish in 2020.

But what happens when the woman with the second most number of marathon finishes by a female at the Chevron Houston Marathon - count 'em, 36 - reaches out for a little help.  (Hint:  You help her!)

If you haven't met Susan Rouse yet, you need to.

Inspiration is a word that gets tossed around all too frequently, but what Susan has done - without a lot of fanfare and with a huge dose of humility - should be an encouragement to you.

Four Ironman finishes.

Comrades in 2010.

A marathon finish in all 50 states.

Her count of marathons and ultramarathons are well over 100.  (And those aren't "just" finishes.)

And the 2022 Houston Marathon will be her 37th Chevron Houston Marathon, with her first one coming in 1986.

That, folks, is a Houston Marathon finish in five different decades!  She's been running longer than some in our group have been on the Earth!

"I was asked earlier this year to coach a good friend, Susan Rouse, for the 2022 Chevron Houston Marathon." said Volte founder Bill Dwyer.  "So after the shock of someone who - in my opinion - knows the sport as well as anyone, I said, "Yes."  Training has gone well and Sunday is setting up nicely for a quality finish.

When someone all of us admire, like Dwyer, admires somebody, it's really a big deal.

"I have run many of the same events as Susan back in the 80's & 90's," he said.  "The Sunmart Trail Run sticks out in my memory as Susan seemed to always collect one of what we called "ponies" -- the Sunmart age group award, a statue of a running horse.

"It's an honor for me to be involved with such a class athlete."

Susan is all smiles coming into the the finish of the 2015 Houston Marathon!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)

Even though she ran sub-3:30 - 3:28:02 - at the age of 51 in 2010, Susan says her best marathons in Houston were in 1994 and 1995 when she ran them two seconds apart -- 3:23:51 and 3:23:53.  How's that for consistency?!

We asked her what her most memorable Houston's were.

"The year of the freeze (1997), twice as pace group leader, 3:30 & 3:40 and my 20th - 2003 - when I started splurging on staying downtown in a hotel," she said.

Therefore, she's been overstimulating the Houston economy for nearly 20 years now.

With the exception of 2004, she ran sub-4 all the way through and including the 2015 race, where things have gotten a bit more challenging, she says.

"The later ones with health and aging issues and -- hanging in when it's gotten tough!" Susan said.

As a five-decade runner at the Houston Marathon, she can testify that while there's been a lot of change it has grown and developed into one of running's jewels.

"The numbers started growing after the half was added (in 2000) and when Ryan Hall set the half record (2006), and generally because it’s a wonderful world class event," she said.  "My goodness I’ve been privileged to run so many amazing marathons, triathlons, and ultras but I’ve always thought Houston was the best!! That’s not changed! The crowds (hoopla), the GRB, seeing friends I know, great course, Expo & post race party."

While we're pulling for all 40 or our runners in either the marathon or half marathon, this is the first one that we'll be able to cheer Susan on - and her husband Dan Jordan - as a teammate.

Susan's History at Houston
36-year Legacy Runner

1986 - 3:48:58
1987 - 3:30:04
1988 - 3:47:24
1989 - 3:25:05
1990 - 3:31:34
1991 - 3:30:00
1992 - 3:27:47
1993 - 3:37:37
1994 - 3:23:36
1995 - 3:23:51
1996 - 3:23:53
1997 - 3:40:04
1998 - 3:31:02
1999 - 3:30:46
2000 - 3:31:32
2001 - 3:30:56
2002 - 3:34:43
2003 - 3:36:48
2004 - 4:15:20
2005 - 3:35:38
2006 - 3:24:48
2007 - 3:39:59
2008 - 3:43:28
2009 - 3:27:18
2010 - 3:28:02
2011 - 3:42:01
2012 - 3:35:05
2013 - 3:53:13
2014 - 3:44:13
2015 - 3:49:41
2016 - 4:02:10
2017 - 4:27:14
2018 - 4:25:31
2019 - 4:28:51
2020 - 4:43:44
2021 - 5:15:11  Covid Virtual Year

Friday, January 14, 2022

The Road To Houston -- A Look Back: Rich Cooper and the 1998 Houston Marathon

By Rich Cooper

It’s hard to believe this year will be the 22nd time I have participated in Houston Marathon weekend, where some of the most memorable marathons in the early part of my adult running career were completed at.  
Following the epic adventure of the 1997 Ice Marathon, I was fully immersed back into running. I couldn’t stop talking about it. 

My training also went up a notch as I now wanted to reach some ambitious goals.  
I was running and racing a lot. 

The impact of finishing Houston in the previous year also boosted my confidence in everything I did.  
As I mentioned earlier, running changed my life. 

In the summer of 1997, I met my future wife Ginger.  How she put up with me at the time I’ll never know because all I did was talk about running and working out.  
The 1998 Houston Marathon is my second most memorable race. 

I put everything into training. 

I decided to train again with Houston Fit only this time I would start my career in coaching as I signed on to be an assistant coach to the Yellow Group.  
This marathon would turn out to be a totally different story then the year before. 

The weather was decent. I had a goal of running a sub four-hour marathon. 

Little did I know something terrible would change my running forever.  
It was a really nice day. I had done everything right in the week leading up to the race.

When the gun went off, I stuck to my planned pace and I was feeling really good. 
All of us at different stages in our career have experienced the feeling of being in “THE ZONE” and on this day I was living in it! 

Today was going to be the day!  
The crowds were amazing. The one area on the course which stood out the most was in Rice Village. The crowds were at least two deep, there was music and the people were going nuts! 

My girlfriend Ginger lived in Rice Village so she was waiting for me. 

I gave her some excess clothing and took off on my quest.  
I was having a really good race. 

At the halfway point everything was progressing perfectly.  
Then it happened.  

Rich Cooper at one of the early City of Conroe Turkey Trot 5K's
(Photo courtesy of Jon Walk)

I had just turned onto Wesleyan when, while running in the center of the road, my right foot struck an uneven part of the road and “POP!” 

My foot violently turned out. I stopped and started walking, cursing my bad luck. 

The pain was terrible.  
An aid station worker ran up to me and asked me if I was okay, I promptly told her in a not so nice way to get away from me.  
I was devastated, but I decided I would keep going, hoping the pain would eventually go away. It did not.  
I kept going running and walking. 

When Ginger saw me at mile 18, she knew immediately something was wrong. (I was at least 20 minutes late). 

I told her I had sprained my ankle, but I was going to keep going.  
The rest of the way was all a blur, but I was determined to finish, and I finally crossed the finish line in 4:22:44. I did it. And I had improved my time from the previous year. 

I could barely walk, and I was escorted to the medical section for evaluation.  
When the doctor removed my shoe, he looked at me and asked me where I had hurt my foot?   

I replied, “At mile 14.”  
He said, “You ran on this for 12 miles?”

I replied, “Yes.”  
He just shook his head and said, “You runners are a crazy bunch.  You may have fractured your ankle.” 

I was stunned.  
The next day I went to the doctor and was told I had a severe high ankle sprain. 

He told me it would take at least four months to be able to start running again.  
When I think back to that moment on Wesleyan, I should have stopped right there but, runners can be a stubborn bunch. 

After that day, my running gait was never the same.  
The lesson I learned from that day is there is no shame in dropping out of race when you're hurt. 

A long time ago, a coach told me the hardest thing for a runner to do is not to finish a marathon, but to not finish one. 

I should have DNF’d that day.  
Still, the fact I ran 12 miles on a bad ankle is something I’ll never forget. 

To this day it fuels me as a coach to advise my runners to think before they do something that may change their running going forward.  
It was a great day, painful but great. I’ll never forget it. 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Volte, Friends and Others at the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon

With the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon about upon us, we visited the marathon's Results site to see how many times our runners, friends and community members have run the races.

Obviously, we're not able to get all of the affiliated event results nor we were necessarily able to capture races run under a maiden name (even though that site may have linked them if they had been notified).

Since the marathon included submitted 2021 virtual results - and some of our runners did both the marathon and half marathon, we only counted those virtual as one.  And if it was both, we put the tally in the marathon column.  (There weren't many.)

36 - Susan Rouse (36M)
21 - Rich Cooper (11M, 10H)
17 - Dan Jordan (13M, 4H)
14 - Michelle McGill (14M)
13 - Bill Dwyer (13M)
13 - Tammy Grado (6M, 7H)
12 - Michael Csikos (11M, 1H)
11 - Ruth Perez (5M, 6H)
11 - Todd Hunter (11M)
10 - Julie Stevenson (6M, 4H)
10 - Paul Vita (5M, 5H)
9 - Alfredo Gonzalez (1M, 8H)
9 - David Odom (6M, 3H)
9 - Laura Godfrey (8M, 1H)
8 - Geri Henry (4M, 4H)
8 - Jen Smith (5M, 3H)
8 - Juan Murillo (7M, 1H)
8 - Juliee Sparks (4M, 4H)
8 - Mary Lee Miller (6M, 2H)
7 - Faith Craig (5M, 2H)
7 - Luis Murillo (5M, 2H)
7 - Mike Kuykendall (7H)
7 - Randy Harris (7M)
7 - Sandra Tezino (1M, 6H)
7 - Tammy Hinke (1M, 6H)
6 - Judith Albarran (5M, 1H)
6 - Kimberly Simmons (3M, 3H)
6 - Naika Vargas (1M, 5H)
6 - Trudy Regnier (4M, 2H)
5 - Devyn Cook (5M)
5 - Gustavo Murillo (3M, 2H)
5 - Kim White (2M, 3H)
5 - Tom Hinke (2M, 3H)
4 - George Roffe (4M)
4 - Neven Krstulovic-Opara (4M)
4 - Stephanie Reed (4M)
3 - Brian Hanyzewski (3M)
3 - Carrie Hyde (2M, 1H)
3 - Curtis Hooper (3M)
3 - Erika Sampson (3H)
3 - Jerritt Park (2M, 1H)
3 - Jose Murillo (3H)
3 - Laura Hanyzewski (3M)
3 - Leticia Gonzalez (3H)
3 - Paolo Biagi (1M, 2H)
3 - Robert Dempsey (2M, 1H)
3 - Sally Buckelew (1M, 2H)
3 - Yaya Herrera (2M, 1H)
2 - Amanda Jenkins (1M, 1H)
2 - Auggie Campbell (2H)
2 - Bonnie Scholz (2H)
2 - Brittany Haddad (1M, 1H)
2 - Chriss Neumann (2M)
2 - Christopher Branch (2M)
2 - Darren Hadden (2M)
2 - Gabby Westbrook (1M, 1H)
2 - Gourav Kumar (2M)
2 - Jane Campbell (1M, 1H)
2 - Lisa Csikos (2H)
2 - Llana Bingham (2H)
2 - Mayra Caamano (2M)
2 - Ramon Rosales (2M)
2 - Rob Gay (2M)
2 - Robert Cardnell (1M, 1H)
2 - Sharon Mitchell (2M)
2 - Sue Griffis (2H)
2 - Tim Russell (2M)
2 - Waverly Walk (1M, 1H)
1 - Desna McDonald (1M)
1 - Holly Benson (1M)
1 - Jeffry Lehner (1M)
1 - Layton Gill (1M)
1 - Lillian Evans (1H)
1 - Mimi Torrez (1M)
1 - Rapha Machado (1M)

16 - Ken Johnson (15M, 1H)
15 - Vincent Attanucci (15M)
13 - John Laskowski, Team Strive/Outrival/Mach 5 (12M, 1H)
13 - Josh Rivas (11M, 2H)
13 - Randy Bradley (11M, 2H)
13 - Reggie Bruhn (13M)
11 - Jon Walk (9M, 2H)
9 - Shannon Truman (7M, 2H)
7 - Erika Park (1M, 6H)
5 - James Griffis (4M, 1H)
4 - Gena Alvarez, Strike Force Racing (4H)
3 - Landa Wright (1M, 2H)
3 - Scott Mayer, Team Strive (3M, last 2010)
2 - Brandi Perkins (2M)
2 - Greg Alvarez, Strike Force Racing (2H)
2 - Ronnie Delzer, Vantage Point Endurance (1M, 1H)
1 - Rick Ames, Team In Training (1M)

7 - Jill Tresaugue (4M, 3H)
5 - Amanda Cruise (4M, 1H)
4 - Kate Looney (3M, 1H)
3 - Krista Blevins (3H)

24 - Jim Braden (19M, 5H)
19 - Dan Green (15M, 4H - Eight sub-3 marathons, 1972 winner)
15 - Sandra Sutherland (5M, 10H)
13 - Fran Blanton (13H)
13 - Nancy Prejean (8M, 5H)
11 - Barry Blanton, Red X Running (1M, 10H)
8 - Dana Lyons, Finish Strong Racing (8H)
6 - (Pastor) Jeff Wells (5M, 1H - Four marathons sub-2:30, 1976 winner)
3 - Juris Green (3H)
1 - Michelle LeBlanc, Mach 5 Racing (1H, 2009)