City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More
Team Legacy

Featured Article

Journey to the Finish Line

First-Time The Woodlands Marathoner Chase Hammett on Preparing for the Big Run

For Chase Hammett, running his first marathon meant learning how to listen to his body and challenge his mind. In the months before The Woodlands Marathon, he bought new shoes, lifted weights and trained hard by running parts of the course long before race day. Chase, an Army veteran and lifelong soccer player, wanted the marathon to be more than just a physical challenge.

“I wanted to show people that you're able to overcome things, even if they're difficult,” Chase says. “It’s about taking small steps at a time.”

This year, The Woodlands Marathon made a sweeping comeback after dwindling participation during the pandemic. More than 5,000 runners dashed through the city, cheered on by some 25,000 spectators. The course is beloved by runners for its flat, scenic route that winds through the most beautiful aspects of The Woodlands, including a dazzling finish at The Woodlands Waterway. As a Boston Marathon Qualifier, the race attracts elite runners from around the region and the globe. 

The marathon is the single largest event in The Woodlands, bringing a $4.5 million economic boost to the area and uniting a community already known as a haven for outdoor fitness. The township also hosts the Ironman triathlon as well as various trail and specialty runs throughout the year. 

“I think it’s incredible how active the community is and how much the community appreciates the value of fitness,” Chase says. “It motivates me to stay healthy and active as well.”

This year’s marathon was sponsored by Legacy Capital as a way to give back to The Woodlands fitness lovers. Chase is a managing partner at Legacy Capital’s Woodlands location. While he raced, the team handled race-day announcements and distributed medals. Legacy Capital will serve as the title sponsor for the next five years, says race director Willie Fowles, an exciting development for race organizers. 

Training for a first marathon proved stressful, but it's the kind of stress that creates personal growth, Chase says. Finishing the race got tougher at mile 19, a typical mile maker where even experienced marathoners can hit a mental and physical block called “the wall.” It’s a point when the body exhausts its supply of glycogen, a carbohydrate stored in the muscles and the liver. The body prefers to burn glycogen during exercise, so when a runner hits the wall, the body attempts to shut down into preservation mode, leaving the runner with intense fatigue and foggy thinking. The last seven miles of the race are all a mental game, Chase says, but the right training and encouragement from the crowds helped him push through.

“You have so much community support,” he says. “If your mind does get tired, you can kind of look elsewhere for that second wind.”

To keep himself going, Chase listened to podcasts, drank liquids along the route and took extra snacks to stay fueled. He also invested in the correct shoes–but not at first. When he started training, he took the advice of popular running magazines and bought a pair of heavily-cushioned running shoes. After a painful first run, which left him with sore knees and blisters, he returned the kicks, opting instead for a minimalist pair of Nike Free running shoes. Knowing what worked best for his body made training much easier, Chase says. He also took advantage of training workshops hosted by the marathon and applied their running strategies. When race day finally came, he was comfortable with his fitness and knew exactly what to expect at every leg of the journey. His advice for anyone thinking about running next year? Just do it. There is no failure in the sport of running, he says, and even if you don't complete your first one, you’re still growing.

“Something as big as a marathon is a huge accomplishment,” he says “But learning about your limitations and then exceeding those–that’s invaluable knowledge.” 


  • First-Time marathoner Chase Hammett
  • For Chase, the marathon was about discovering his limitations and moving beyond them.
  • Team Legacy
  • The marathon organization hosted training workshops that helped the runners