Press Releases

Olympic Bronze Medalist Announced as Grand Marshal of the TXU Energy Turkey Trot

HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Sheltering Arms Senior Services and TXU Energy are proud to announce boxing champion Marlen Esparza as the official Grand Marshal of the 20th Annual TXU Energy Turkey Trot benefitting Sheltering Arms Senior Services, taking place Thanksgiving morning, November 22, at Dillard’s by the Galleria. As Grand Marshal, Ms. Esparza will officially fire the gun to announce the start of each race.

Olympic Women's Boxing Medalist Marlen Esparza will serve as Grand Marshal for the 20th annual TXU Energy Turkey Trot benefitting Sheltering Arms Senior Services on Thanksgiving morning in her hometown of Houston. (Photo: Business Wire)

"Ms. Esparza's hard work and dedication is inspiring," says Jim Burke, chairman and CEO of TXU Energy, the presenting sponsor of the Turkey Trot. "It's fitting in this milestone 20th year of the Turkey Trot to have a Grand Marshal who has reached such impressive milestones of her own."

Marlen Esparza Bio

Boxing since she was 11 years old, Ms. Esparza recently competed in the 2012 London Summer Olympics, where she took the Bronze Medal in the ladies’ Flyweight division. She became the first U.S. female boxer in history to win a round and then the first to medal. Prior to this, she became the first female Flyweight boxer to win the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, advanced to the quarterfinals at the Women’s World Championship in China, and was the top qualifier in the Americas in order to qualify as the first U.S. Olympic female boxer in history. Currently a member of the 2012 USA Boxing National Team, Ms. Esparza was also ranked #1 in the U.S. for the last seven consecutive years along with winning six consecutive U.S. National Championships where she was again awarded “Outstanding Fighter of the Tournament” at the 2011 U.S. National Championships. Ms. Esparza is undefeated in every national tournament she has entered in to-date and has a win/loss record of 69-2 in the U.S.

Recent Appearances

  • Featured in CNN’s “Latino in America 2” series titled “In Her Corner,” reported by Award-Winning Anchor Soledad O’Brien in 2011.
  • Named “12 Athletes to Watch in ‘12” by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
  • Part of Coca-Cola’s U.S. “8-Pack Athletes” for their 2012 Summer Olympics campaign.
  • One of three 2012 Summer Olympic female hopefuls worldwide selected to represent CoverGirl.
  • One of three U.S. Olympic hopefuls to be selected for McDonald’s Olympic ad campaign (along with Lebron James and Lolo Jones).
  • Represents Nike.

A Houston native, Ms. Esparza graduated in 2007 from Pasadena High School in the top 3% of her class, where she was also Class President and a member of the swimming, track-and-field, and cross country teams.

To continue her education during her rigorous boxing career, Esparza has taken online courses through Houston Community College and, in 2013, plans to attend either Rice University, St. Thomas University or the University of Texas, all of which accepted her prior to graduating high school, before continuing to medical school to specialize in Anesthesiology.

Following London 2012, Ms. Esparza now looks to return to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 to pursue the Gold medal.

About the 20th TXU Energy Turkey Trot benefitting Sheltering Arms Senior Services

Celebrating two memorable decades, the TXU Energy Turkey Trot benefitting Sheltering Arms Senior Services has become a Houston Thanksgiving family tradition and the third largest footrace of its kind in the city. Founded in 1893 and part of the Neighborhood Centers Inc. family since 2011, beneficiary Sheltering Arms offers a variety of activities and services for seniors in twenty locations throughout the city. Early registration for the TXU Energy Turkey Trot ends November 16, after which registration rates for each event increase. For more information and to register, visit

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