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Chevron Houston Marathon

Sunday January 20th, 2019
Houston, Texas
Distance: Marathon · Half Marathon · 5K

The Chevron Houston Marathon offers participants a unique running experience in America's fourth largest city. The fast, flat, scenic single-loop course has been ranked as the "fastest winter marathon" and "second fastest marathon overall" by Ultimate Guide To Marathons. Additionally, with more than 200,000 spectators annually, the Chevron Houston Marathon enjoys tremendous crowd support.

Run over a five-mile loop at Memorial Park at the end of December, the inaugural 1972 Houston Marathon drew 113 runners and about twice that many spectators. Race director Pete League, who would serve in that capacity until 1976, ensured that the course was measured properly so it could be certified by the AAU, with assistance from distance running legend Ted Corbitt.

Danny Green, who went on to become one of the nation’s top high school track and cross country coaches at The Woodlands, overtook Clyde Villamez after the 24-mile mark and went on to win in 2:32:33.Green told the Houston Chronicle in 2002, “We were doing those loops in Memorial Park, and my family would be telling me where I was and where he (Villamez) was… I never ran any faster. I was never able to break that (2:32:33).”

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Chevron Houston Marathon
Prize Money: $188,000

Race City Location Map - zoom in · zoom out · big map
displays approximate race location · TX 77012

My Best Runs Comments

Bob Anderson
They say they do everything big in Texas, and this race lives up to that reputation. I've heard many great things about this race.
Kat Powell
Wanted to qualify for Boston, but was not ready to meet the challenge. The concrete was hard on my body and the cold beer at mile 20 was more appealing than a Boston Qualifier at the time. I am sure this flat marathon appeals to those conditioned athletes looking for a PR or Boston qualifier.
Race Date: 01/14/2018 Distance: Marathon
Division Time Name Age Home
Male 2:08:30 Bazu Worku 27 ETH
2nd Male 2:09:07 Yitayal Atnafu 24 ETH
3rd Male 2:09:32 Elisha Bamo 32 KEN
4th Male 2:14:45 Jose Antonio Uribe 32 MEX
Female 2:24:51 Biruktayit Degefa 27 ETH
2nd Female 2:24:57 Belaynesh Oljira 27 ETH
3rd Female 2:27:21 Melesech Tsegaye Beyene 23 ETH
4th Female 2:27:32 Gladys Kipsoi 31 KEN
Division Time Name Age Home
M 40-49 2:20:52 Juan Carlos Romero 40 MEX
M 50-59 2:49:52 Paul Thiels 54 Louisiana
M 60-69 3:13:30 Tim Heitzwebel 60 Texas
M 70+ 3:49:12 Larry Lichnovsky 71 Texas
F 40-49 2:49:18 Merrilee Blackham 40 Utah
F 50-59 2:57:42 Regina Yamin 53 Mexico
F 60-69 3:42:02 Pam Butler 60 Texas
F 70+ 4:53:46 Brenda Hilton 70 Texas
Chevron Houston Marathon
HOUSTON (January 14, 2018) – Exciting finishes, upset victories, American records, Olympic Trials qualifying times and personal bests highlighted a day that marked another poignant step in the city’s recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in August.

In the 16th year of the Houston Half Marathon, late entrant Jake Robertson of New Zealand won in 1:00:01, the third-fastest time in race history, while Ruti Aga of Ethiopia won the women’s race in 1:06:39—not only the second-fastest time in race history, but also the second-fastest time ever run on U.S. soil. The winners each earned a first-place prize of $20,000, plus time bonuses. Huddle’s record-breaking performance means that both the men’s and women’s American records have been set here in Houston.

Setting an American record in the Aramco Houston Half Marathon was Molly Huddle, whose time of 1:07:25 in finishing seventh broke the mark of 1:07:34 set by Deena Kastor in 2006. En route, she also broke American records at 10 miles and 20K pending ratification.

In the 46th year of the Houston Marathon, Bazu Worku, 27, of Ethiopia came back from a 23-second deficit at 40K to win here for the third time, breaking the tape in 2:08:30. Finishing second for the third consecutive year was Yitayal Atnafu of Ethiopia, in 2:09:07.

Atnafu, 24, ran the 18th mile in 4:30, the fastest of the day, to pull away from the field, and appeared to have the race in hand before fading in the final kilometers and being caught by his training partner. Worku also won here in 2013 and 2014.

“I was having a plan,” said Worku through a translator. “At 25K I was doing my pace, and at 35K.” After catching up with Atnafu just past 40K, he said, “I knew that I was winning.”

Finishing in sixth (2:15:52) as top American was Wilkerson Given, a local favorite, coached by Danny Green, the winner of the first ever Houston Marathon in 1972. Given was among three men running times that qualified them to compete in the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon.

For the women, Biruktayit Degefa, 27, of Ethiopia won in 2:24:51 after a spirited battle with countrywoman Belaynesh Oljira, runner-up in 2:24:57.

It was Degefa’s fifth-consecutive appearance here at the Chevron Houston Marathon, a streak that included a win in 2016 and a second-place finish last year.

“When I come to Houston, I feel it is special joy, because I consider Houston as my hometown,” she said through a translator. “As if I’m coming to a family. I came here very prepared, and I knew that I would be winning today.” Both male and female marathon winners each earned a first-place prize of $45,000, plus time bonuses.

Sarah Crouch was the top American, seventh in 2:35:22, while Hiruni Wijayaratne, eighth in 2:36:35, set a women’s national record for Sri Lanka. Including Crouch, seven American women qualified to run in the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon.

The half marathon saw Robertson, who has lived and trained in Kenya since he was 17, pull away from Guye Adola just before 20K. He kept the hammer down through the finish, trying to dip under the magic 60-minute mark before winning in a time that tied his personal best.

“Wow … the best in the world,” he said afterward. “The whole caliber of the field, I’m speechless. It’s an amazing feeling.”

Finishing as top American was Sam Chelanga, sixth in a personal best 1:00:37, while Bernard Lagat, 43, set an American masters record, winning the masters division in 1:02:00 and placing 15th overall. Lagat’s time is also the fastest ever run in the world by a 43-year-old, according to the Association of Road Racing Statisticians.

The women’s half marathon was both fast and deep. Before Mary Wacera shattered the event record for the Aramco Houston Half Marathon by running 1:06:29 in 2016 for the fastest half marathon ever on U.S. soil, the event record was 1:08:26. In today’s race, a remarkable seven women bettered that time, with Aga’s 1:06:39 now ranking as the second fastest ever run in this country.

Asked what she would do with her prize money, Aga said she would use it to build a house.

Caroline Chepkoech of Kenya was runner-up in 1:06:48, the fourth-fastest time in race history, with the next five women all breaking into the top 10 all-time here.

Setting a national record for Saudi Arabia with a time of 1:26:47 was Sarah Attar, who in 2012 was among the first two women to compete at the Olympics for her country.

Huddle, 33, is among them. A 25-time national champion and two-time Olympian, Huddle set the American record for 10,000 meters when she finished sixth in Rio in 2016. In November, after winning the USA 5K championships at the NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K, Huddle declared her intention to run here under 68 minutes, a time that would overtake Kastor’s mark. She ran with the leaders through 10 miles, but said she was worried about falling off record pace after that.

“This has to be one of the deepest halfs in the country for women, ever, and to be in that race and to be fit and ready for it is lucky, is awesome,” she said. “So even when I was hurting, I was like, just hang on to these women. They’re all here today. It was a great day for the women.”

Of the American record, Huddle said: “It means a lot. To be in the company of Deena Kastor, who had such a great marathon career, gives me a lot of confidence, and that’s a really special feeling. Deena has really set the bar high for us.”


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