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Meet Houston Marathon runner Frank Lara as he prepares for his first marathon!

The 26-year-old is part of the Men's Marathon Elite Athletes. This event will be Lara's first-ever marathon!

HOUSTON — Preparations for the 50th Annual Houston Marathon are underway! The race is returning in person this year and is sold out with nearly 28,000 runners expected.

Among those preparing is 26-year-old Frank Lara, who's part of the Men's Marathon Elite Athletes. This event will be Lara's first-ever marathon!

"Growing up here, I remember seeing the Houston Marathon when the Olympic trials were held here in 2012, thinking they're running as fast as I can run for maybe a mile, how can they do that for 26 miles," said Lara. "It's crazy that it's been such a long journey now in the elite field of the Houston Marathon."

Lara grew up near Katy in the Eldridge area and attended St John Paul II Catholic School where he discovered his love of running.

"I joined the cross-country team because a girl I had a crush on joined the track team, and I was like, 'Hey, I’ll try this,' (and) ended up being kind of good at it," said Lara.

RELATED: 2022 Chevron Houston Marathon: What you need to know, including times of races, street closures

Nearly 15 years later, Lara holds several titles as a sponsored athlete, including the 2020 U.S. Track and Field 15K national champion.

Lara decided he wanted to run his first-ever marathon right here at home.

“It means nothing, or not as much to my competitors, but running in the streets of Houston, you know, which streets we're on, I know what these buildings are," said Lara.

"When I heard that the marathon was going to run the land bridge that they're building, I was so ecstatic," said Lara.

And Lara has a message to anyone who is chasing a goal that seems out of reach.

"Honestly I think anyone can do anything. It's a matter of putting in work and dedicating yourself to it," said Lara.

Lara currently lives in Boulder, Colorado, where he's a part of the Roots Running Project, a nonprofit for professional athletes.