The Chevron Houston Marathon continues to grow. The Aramco Half Marathon continues to draw fine athletes and the weekend, even with cold weather, had some exciting performances. Justin Lagat wrote this piece on the January 20, 2019 event. The Chevron Houston Marathon was the 2012 Trials host in 2012, and had the event taken from them in 2016. They contirnue to support Olympic Trials qualifiers with 47 qualifiers.
Great competitions at the Houston Marathon despite cold weather
The organizers of the Houston marathon brought together some of the world’s greatest athletes, especially for the half marathon event, and it was awesome to watch the competitions in all the events.
Brigid Kosgei dominated the women’s half marathon after dropping, one after another, a leading pack that comprised of some of the world’s most decorated women in the half marathon distance including Fancy Chemutai, Ruti Aga, Gladys Cherono and Edith Chelimo. They had all crossed the 5km point at a fast time of 16:06.
The second 5km split got even faster with 15:26 and the pack soon remained with just three; Kosgei, Aga and Chemutai. It was followed by 5km split of 15:18 before Chemutai, who was by then the only one still giving company to Kosgei, began to drop back leaving the latter with a male pace setter.
Kosgei crossed the finish line in a new course record, and the fastest time ever run on American soil, of 1:05:50. The excited runner could hardly move her lips to talk and express her joy at the finish line due to the cold weather. Chemutai followed to take second in 1:06:48 and Aga came in third at 1:06:56.
Yimer Jemal seemed to control the pace in the men’s half marathon race with a number of surges at the front as though he was attempting to break away from the rest of the field, but could not. It was until the last stages of the race that the three main contenders; Bedan Karoki, Yimer and Shura Kitata were the only ones remaining at the front.
While Kitata remained patient, Karoki and Yimer exchanged the lead at the front with each one seeming to be trying to break away. But, it was Kitata who did the best timing and made his move when it counted the most. With the last few meters to the finish line, Kitata moved past Karoki and soon overtook Yimer in a sprint finish to win the race in 1:00:11. Yimer followed in 1:00:14 while Karoki came third in 1:00:18.
Biruktayit Degefa ran in an almost similar version to Brigid Kosgei in the full marathon as she was running against the clock after around the 35km. She narrowly missed the course record of 2:23:14 as she crossed the finish line in 2:23:28. Belaynesh Fikadu was second in 2:26:41. Meseret Belete was third in 2:26:56.
The men’s full marathon had a quite interesting and tactical race after Albert Korir and Yitayal Atnafu went together up to the last few hundred meters before engaging in a finishing kick. Korir won in 2:10:02, Atnafu followed in 2:10:08 as Justus Kimutai took 3rd in 2:10:25.