Special Encore Presentation: The Houston Marathon: An Interview With Race Director Brant Kotch

June 5, 2015
Hosted by Coach Michael Merlino

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Episode Description

The Houston Marathon, held every Martin Luther King holiday weekend in January, is Houston's largest single day sporting event attracting over 30,000 runners and half a million spectators. It runs concurrently with the Aramco Half marathon on a Sunday along with a 5K race that is run the Saturday before. The first Houston marathon was run on December 30, 1972 and featured 113 runners and a crowd of approximately 200 people. The 2015 race has grown to a combined 5K, half marathon and marathon field of 31,000 runners with the 2016 race expanding that field further to 33,000, 1,000 more for the marathon and half marathon each. During In Flight Running episode 2, Coach Michael Merlino is joined by special guest Brant Kotch, Race Director for the Chevron Houston Marathon, as they discuss the history of the race, how it has grown into one of the top 10 big city races, why it is such a great event and what's in store for the 2016 edition. Join them for a fun running discussion!

In Flight Running

In Flight Running

Archives Available on VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Channel

Since the 1990s the popularity of running has exploded with more people than ever embracing the sport by training for and participating in road races world-wide from the 5K to ultra-marathon distance. The once elusive 26.2 mile marathon has now become one of the most popular physical and mental challenges in the world for those looking to go the distance and conquer a huge lifetime goal.

In Flight Running the radio show celebrates the great sport of running and welcomes listeners who are hungry to be the best runner they can be. Running coach and fitness trainer Michael Merlino and his guests offer training tips and an insider’s view of the coaching techniques and tools he uses to help runners train for and reach the finish line. Get expert advice on training, improving running form, injury prevention and treatment, nutrition strategies, race preparation and more. Tune in for some fun and engaging running discussions all designed to help take your running to new heights.

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Coach Michael Merlino

Coach Michael Merlino

Fitness trainer and running Coach Michael Merlino can speak from experience when it comes to the challenges of getting in shape and staying in shape. After leaving a ten year career in corporate human resources with a world renowned medical college and a Fortune 500 energy company, he traded his suit and tie for warmups and running shoes. He has taught thousands of runners and fitness clients how to get in shape and reach the finish line with sound run coaching advice and fitness and nutrition strategies that get results.

Michael owns Houston Texas based In Flight Running, a run coaching program that trains and prepares runners for races from the 5K to marathon level. He also owns Merlino Fitness, a fitness training business that offers both one on one and group strength training programs. He has been a running coach since 2000 and a fitness trainer since 1997. Coach Michael trains runners and clients at Houston area parks and running trails and his private fitness training studio.

He spends his time coaching and training others on the sport of running, improving athletic performance, getting in shape, maintaining fitness, weight loss and strength training. Michael is also a fitness and wellness consultant, speaker, blogger, writer and radio host for the Voice America Radio Network’s Health and Wellness Channel.

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Episode Directory

July 2015

June 2015

  • 6/26/2015: In Flight Running Friday, June 26, 2015 Listen Now
  • 6/19/2015: In Flight Running Friday, June 19, 2015 Listen Now
  • 6/12/2015: In Flight Running Friday, June 12, 2015 Listen Now
  • 6/5/2015: Special Encore Presentation: The Houston Marathon: An Interview With Race Director Brant Kotch Listen Now

May 2015

Bill Gardner

Bill Gardner is a longtime runner and now president and founder of Run In Texas, a running event production company that puts on unique races all over the state of Texas. Gardner is a veteran of 3 Boston marathons, has a 2:37 marathon PR, and has competed in ultramarathons including finishing the Western States 100 Mile Trail Run in under 24 hours.

He discovered his passion for directing races when he created the Prickly Pear 10 Mile & 50k Trail Run. He served as a volunteer race director for the event for 12 years, benefitting the local running club. He began directing races to put on the kind of events he personally enjoyed as a runner: races on trails or other unique venues, cool T-shirts, good beer and good food at the end.

He started his own company, Run In Texas, in 2009 to create cool running events in great Texas destinations. Today Run In Texas offers nearly 20 races at unique Texas destinations, from nighttime races on Texas beaches to a women’s run at a wildflower farm and to the one-of-a-kind Chupacabra Nighttime 5k and 10k Trail Runs, which are held in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. All of them benefit a non-profit partner, such as the U.S. Marines’ Toys for Tots, Team RWB and animal rescue groups.

For more information on Bill or Run In Texas events go to www.RunInTexas.com View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Brant Kotch

Brant Kotch is a Houston Attorney and currently serves as the Race Director for the Chevron Houston Marathon and related races and President of the Board of Directors for the Houston Marathon Committee, Inc. In those roles he has also directed high profile races including the 2012 U.S. Men & Women's Olympic Trials Marathon and 14 USA Half Marathon Championships. A casual runner dating back to high school, he started competing well in his age group during his college years and ran the Houston Tenneco Marathon from 1986 to 1992. In 1992 Brant started volunteering for his hometown marathon assisting the course director and in 1995 joined the race committee’s Board of Directors. He became the Course Director in 1997 and both the President and Race Director in 2002. During his tenure the Houston Marathon has grown from two to eleven full-time staff members, an annual budget of $1,000,000 to $5,500,000 and a race weekend field of 10,000 to 33,000 for the 2016 race. View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Catherine Kruppa

Catherine Kruppa, MS, RD, CSSD, LD earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences and Master of Science in Nutrition from Texas A&M University. She is a registered, licensed dietitian and wellness coach and the Director of Nutrition for US Diving. She is also Board Certified in Sports Nutrition. She specializes in weight management, sports nutrition, diabetes, eating disorders, heart disease, and pediatric nutrition.

Catherine was a member of the Texas A&M Varsity Diving Team and is currently an active member of the running community in Houston and a Boston qualifier. She has competed in 5 triathlons, 15 marathons and 3 ultramarathons with a personal best of 2:59 at the marathon distance.

Catherine is a frequent speaker for many organizations and businesses. She speaks on various topics in the area of nutrition such as: healthy eating, weight management, disease prevention, nutrition and exercise, and osteoporosis. She has also presented programs for Channel 13 News Health Beat, Channel 2 News, Channel 8 Midday Show and Fox News. Catherine also gives nutrition tips on KSBJ 89.3 and KLOVE radio in the Houston area.

She worked as the local Houston dietitian for the Dr. Phil Ultimate Weight Loss Program and the dietitian for the 2004, 2008 and 2012 US Olympic Diving Teams as well as for Former President George H. W. Bush, Olympic Gold Medalists Laura Wilkinson and David Boudia. View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Dr. Jeffrey Ross

Dr. Jeffrey Ross is a Houston Texas based, board certified podiatric surgeon specializing in sports medicine and running injuries to the foot, ankle and lower legs. His area of expertise is lower extremity biomechanics, computerized gait analysis, sway analysis and custom orthotics to correct gait issues. Dr. Ross is a diplomat of the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery, Fellow of the American College of Foot and ankle surgeons, past President and Fellow of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine and a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. He is a contributing editor to Inside Texas Running and Runner's World Magazines and has been mentioned in New York Times articles relating to the sport of running. Dr. Ross He is a frequent international lecturer and researcher on sports medicine topics especially those related to the sport of running. He has practiced what he preaches with endurance sports by completed 25 marathons including 5 New York City marathons, 2 Boston marathons and marathons in London, Jerusalem, Austin, DC Marine Corps, Little Rock and over a dozen Houston marathons. He has also completed 12 triathlons and is a former giant slalom and slalom alpine ski racer and has written detailed articles on foot beds for ski boots View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Salem Stanley

Salem Stanley is the president and founder of Vacation Races. He has been in the race event industry for about 5 years, 3 of those have been founding the National Park Half Marathon Series. The series was started as Salem was earning his MBA in marketing and entrepreneurship from Brigham Young University. Salem has been a lifelong athlete running track and playing football at the collegiate level. He grew up in southern Utah just outside Zion National Park but currently resides in San Diego. View Guest page

Episode Listing: