The Chevron Houston Marathon is just a few days away. If you're out there running or cheering someone on, be on the lookout for a big bear in the streets of Houston.
Here's a description: red, 7-feet tall, 92-inch waist! That would be Clutch, the vivacious Houston Rockets mascot, who is running in the Aramco Houston Half Marathon this year.
"This is going to be the greatest physical challenge I've ever taken on in costume," says Robert Boudwin, the man behind the costume.
13 miles, in the Clutch costume from head to toe.
"It's not going to be easy, but I'm confident I can complete it. My goal is two hours. I have a lot of encouragement, a lot of people I'm surrounded by, to give me goals," says Boudwin.
The deep meaning for "why" he's running will also help keep his big feet pounding the pavement. It is to honor the man who died, but put plans in place before death, to donate his organs, and ended up saving Boudwin's father. His father's life was spared with a double lung transplant.
Now Boudwin, or Clutch, wants to encourage others to donate life.
"If it wasn't for the forward thinking of Ian to be an organ donor, the talent of the doctors and the technology, my dad wouldn't be here. It is very important to me to try to inspire others to give the greatest gift of all, which is the gift of life," says Boudwin.
"Ever since that happened, Clutch has been a huge advocate for us, and we think it's great that on Jan 19th, he's going to be in his Clutch gear, running with other Houstonians and people throughout the country during the Houston marathon in his Donate Texas get-up. We think this is going to attract some attention and get more donors," explains Laura Davis with Donate Life Texas.
Clutch will wear a "Donate Life" t-shirt and headband to encourage others to sign up to be an organ donor.
"It's really important! Across the country, more than 120,000 people - men, women, and children, are waiting for life saving transplants. In Texas alone, there are 11,000 waiting - 3,000 in the Greater Houston area! The more people who are signed up as registered donors, the better chance to find a match," explains Davis.
It's not Clutch's first "rodeo." He has run 10 miles in costume on a treadmill before and has participated in too many 5-K events to count, plus he runs anywhere from between 4 and 10 miles out of costume every day!
"It's not every day you see a giant bear running a marathon, so we really think this will be a spectacle of him running," laughs Davis.