HOUSTON (USA): Ethiopia’s Biruktayit Degefa will try to defend her title at the Chevron Houston Half-Marathon on 19 January, while current and past champions Ruti Aga, Jake Robertson and Shura Kitata are back in the Aramco Houston Half Marathon on the same day. Jemal Yimer, the fourth fastest of all time (58:33) is quickest in the half line-up, one of eight sub-hour runners. Kitata (59:16), Bernard Kipkorir (59:07) and Robertson (59:58) will oppose him. Caroline Chepkoech, who is sixth fastest all time at half-marathon (65:07) faces European 10,000 m champion and 66:09 runner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter from Israel. As well as Gelete Burka (66:11), Aga (66:39), Molly Huddle, Jordan Hasay and Sara Hall lead a top US contingent. Hassan El Abbassi (2:04:43) and Woldaregay Kelkile Gezahegn (2:05:56) are the quickest marathon entrants. Degefa’s main opposition could come from fellow Ethiopian Askale Merachi. The events are the only associated marathon and half-marathon events on the same day to be IAAF Gold Label races.