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Looking for the Best Boston Marathon Qualifying Races?

View our list of marathons that give you the best chance to BQ.

Race Dates

2019: TBD
2018: Sunday, January 14, 2018

Course Information

Profile: Pancake Flat
Type: Loop
Surface: Road/Pavement
Certified?: Yes

Race Day Weather

Mean Temp.: 52°F (11°C)
Average High: 62°F (16°C)
Average Low: 41° F (5°C)

Historical Weather

PR Score & Course Score

PR Score: 99.45
Course Score: 99.45

Race Size

2018: 6,964 Finishers
2017: 7,109 Finishers
2016: 7,804 Finishers

BQ Percentages

2018: 12.2%
2017: 6.7%
2016: 11.6%

Miscellaneous Information

Pace Groups?: Yes

Marathon Pace Bands & Elevation Wrist Bands

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Course Description

The Houston Marathon is a fast, flat, single-loop course with just a few elevation changes - mainly uderpasses and overpasses. Less than 40 feet of elevation separate the high and low points of the course.

Marathon Rankings

The Houston Marathon was the 10th largest marathon in the U.S. last year and was the 10th largest in 2016.

This year 12.2% of finishers qualified for the Boston Marathon and 6.7% of runners qualified for Boston in 2017.

This gives the Houston Marathon the 304th highest percentage of Boston Marathon qualifiers in the U.S. last year and the 10th highest percentage so far in 2018.

Its Course Score of 99.45 ranks it as the 110th fastest marathon course in the U.S. and the 8th fastest course in Texas.

The typical race time temperature and humidity levels are within the ideal range for optimal marathon performance. This, coupled with the Course Score, gives the Houston Marathon a PR Score of 99.45. This PR Score ranks it as the 74th fastest marathon in the U.S. and the 5th fastest in Texas.

Learn more about PR Scores and Course Scores on the FAQ page.

Elevation Chart

Max Elevation: 68 feet (20m)
Min Elevation: 27 feet (8m)


Recent Houston Marathon Reviews

4.6 Stars from 17 Reviews
View all Reviews

review of 2018 Houston Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


I was very impressed with the number of porta-poties available, especially within the starting coral so you don't have to go once you actually start.

I was impressed with the app, real time streaming of my projected position. My family used that to see where I was and met me on the course. They showed where it had also sent them pictures of me during the race, which was neat.

After the race was great. Got to have a massage and breakfast.

The one thing that could have been better was the start in the last coral D. It was impossible to get in the queue where your projected pace was. (I realize with 27k runners, this is difficult to implement). Another big issues was that after about 30 minutes, we started moving towards the start, so I presumed we would get to keep going as in other large marathons I have run. At that point I took off and got rid of my through away sweats. Only we moved only a few minutes and then stopped, which happened repeatedly. That's when I was really cold, up until we finally got to run. They could have exerted more control over staggering the coral starts to have avoided the starting and stopping.

Race Tips

Get to your corral very early if you want to get with your pace group. Course was mostly flat, but not pancake flat. One significant hill at an overpass and some rolling hills. My gps tracked 276 ft total climb. (In contrast to Cowtown Marathon>1200).

As I mentioned above the start was overly crowded and hold on to any through aways.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

I stayed downtown, which was convenient but expensive. $135 + $35 valet parking. Next time I would probably stay elsewhere and take an Uber.

review of 2018 Houston Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


This is my favorite marathon race. I love most everything about it; the expo is huge and superb, course is flat and fast with minimal turns and corners, bands and entertainment on every part of the course, superb city turnout along the whole route, great finish and celebration area after the race. Want your best time and BQ, you need to run Houston. Super city with great places to eat before and after the race. Super communication from Marathon organization and the best run marathon I have been at.

Race Tips

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

review of 2018 Houston Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Weather is nice and course is flat. People are friendly.

Race Tips

PR there every year.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

review of 2017 Houston Marathon.   

4 / 5 Stars


Houston is a great course. Flat and Fast, if the weather is cool! Be wear of the humidity. This year the humidity was 96% at the start and the temperature was 65 degrees, which was tough for anyone who didn't do their training in Texas. However, in 2016 the conditions were great and the temperature at the start was 45.

Race Tips

I ran this race in 2016 and 2017, both times I started with the 8:00/mile pace group. In 2016, the paces were so great! We ran exactly 8:00/mile for the first 12 miles. I fell back after that, so I'm not sure what pace they ran the rest of the time. In 2017, I started with the 8:00/mile pace group and the first mile we ran a 7:45. I knew this was too fast for me, so I immediately dropped off. I saw a picture of my pacer from mile 23 and he was all alone, so I guess the weather + faster than expected start made it so no one could keep up.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

I took an uber from midtown to and from the race and it was less than $10 each way. I found this to be much easier than trying to find a parking spot downtown. If you do drive, the garage right next to the convention center is fairly large. The Convention center opens at 5:30 am, and it's great that there is a large indoor waiting area! The race start is at least half a mile (maybe a mile by the time you get to the real start line, and not just the corral entrance) from the convention center and the corrals are huge, so be sure to leave the convention center about 20-30 minutes before your corral closes to be sure you have time to get to the corral without running and to find your pace group.

review of 2017 Houston Marathon.   

3 / 5 Stars


Hilly at the middle and end of race.

Race Tips

Just push if weather is bad... lots of other qualifiers around that same time so don't run in 100 % humidity with 70 degree temps. Bad idea if trying to qualify.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Marriott Marquis perfect location

Finish Time Equivalent

If you ran the Houston Marathon in 4:41:00, what would your time in the Boston Marathon be?

See how your race times would compare on other marathon courses using the Marathon Time Converter Tool.