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Defending champion Biruktayit Degefa is hoping to get a third title at the Houston Marathon

The defending Houston Marathon champion, Biruktayit Degefa, who also won in 2016, will be chasing a third title. The 28-yer-old has competed here the past five years, finishing third in 2015 with a 2:23:51 PR and second in 2017.

The strong Ethiopian contingent includes Muluhabt Tsega, who improved to 2:25:48 in Shanghai last November, Sechale Delasa, who was third here in 2016; and 23-year-old Gebayenesh Ayele, who improved to 2:26:54 last September in Hengsui.

Kenyan hopes lie with Sarah Kiptoo, whose 2:26:32 dates back to 2013 and Gladys Kipsoi, who was fourth here last year in 2:27:32.

Notable debutantes include 19-year-old Meseret Belete, who clocked a 1:07:51 world U20 best in the half marathon in Copenhagen last year.

Abayneh Ayele of Ethiopia is the fastest in the men's field at 2:06:45, clocked in Dubai in 2016. But the 32-year-old struggled last year, recording a season's best of just 2:13:47 in two races over the distance. His 25-year-old compatriot Yitayal Atnafu has shown stronger form, producing back-to-back fourth place finishes at the Paris Marathon the last two years, clocking 2:07:21 in 2017 and improving to 2:07:00 last year.

Three others will bring sub-2:09 bests to the start line: Kenyan Dominic Ondoro, who ran his 2:08:00 lifetime best in 2013; Birhanu Gedefa of Ethiopia, the 2015 Houston winner in 2:08:03, and Kenya's Albert Korir, who improved his personal best to 2:08:17 last March in Otsu.

Of course the perdicted cold weather could be a factor.

(01/18/2019) ⚡AMP
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Chevron Houston Marathon

Chevron Houston Marathon

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. Established in 1972, the Houston Marathon...

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