It was an excellent weekend of racing in Houston, but it was also a TOUGH weekend, with nasty, cold, wet, windy conditions. Those of you who followed me on Twitter yesterday will have got the gist of it. Andrew Carlson was the top American man in 2:17:16. He ran 2:11 in Houston this time last year at the US Olympic Trials, and was hoping for a 2:09/2:10 yesterday. So that will give you some some idea of the impact of the weather. At the post-race Press Conference, he described the race as “a war of attrition”. Mamitu Daska, who was the women’s winner of the Half, said the rain and wind was so tough in the middle of the race, that she could barely keep her eyes open! In these conditions, our Canadians had mixed fortunes. After being forced to drop out of last summer’s Scotia Vancouver Half, then out of STWM in October, our #1-ranked female marathoner, Lanni Marchant, had an encouraging return to racing with a solid 1:14:49. It was undoubtedly tougher over the 42k, and Athletics Toronto’s Matt Loiselle was forced to step off with cramps at 20 miles. At that point, he was running with fellow-Brooks athletes, Andrew Carlson. Orillia’s Lisa Avery was also looking for atonement after dropping out of STWM in October. Going into Houston she said she would save her attack on the 2:35 qualifying standard for Moscow this summer for Ottawa Race Weekend — instead looking for a solid 2:40/2:45 in Houston, to get her back on track. She finished in 3:08.
All this makes STWM 2010 alumnus, Merima Mohammed’s 2:23:37 victory yesterday truly remarkable! (also read David Monti’s excellent Race Report for Race Results Weekly).
A HUGE shout out to the Houston Marathon team, the voluteers and the MANY, seriously hard-core spectators out on the course. You got 2013 off to a flying start, despite the weather! Here’s Houston Marathon’s Race Report/Press Release.
HOUSTON – Twenty-year-old Merima Mohammed of Ethiopia overcame leg problems and cold, wet conditions to run the second-fastest ever women’s race at Sunday’s Chevron Houston Marathon, while fellow countryman, twenty-two year old Bazu Worku, ran away with the men’s title.
Course record-holder Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia defended his title in the men’s Aramco Houston Half Marathon and Mamitu Daska, the 2011 Chevron Houston Marathon champion, won the women’s crown. Daska is the first-ever woman to win the marathon and the half marathon at Houston.
“The conditions were challenging for everybody, but it is a testament to the athletes we attract that we had such great performances,” said Wade Morehead, Executive Director of the Houston Marathon Committee. “Despite the bad conditions, we had tremendous support from our sponsors, spectators and volunteers.”
Mohammed ran the first half of the race with Buzunesh Deba (ETH) and Meskerem Assefa (ETH) and that pack stayed together through 33km, when Mohammed made a strong move and broke away. She stretched her lead to 47 seconds over Deba by the 40km mark and crossed the line in 2:23:27, missing the course record by 23 seconds. Deba finished as the runner-up in 2:24:26, which is the fifth-fastest time in race history. Assefa finished third in her marathon debut in 2:25:17.
“I had a problem with my left leg,” Mohammed told reporters through a translator while massaging her left calf. “It was hurting badly. It was a very painful situation.”
Worku, who had been running in a pack of nine early in the race, came through the half at 65:25 with five others. But by 25km, he had opened up a 50 second lead over Solomon Molla. Worku continued to stretch that lead with every mile and finished in 2:10:17, winning by more than two-and-a-half minutes. Teferi Balcha claimed runner-up honors 2:12:50, with Molla third at 2:14:37.
Lilesa ran side-by-side with Deriba Merga until the pair entered the home stretch, where Lilesa used his superior speed to win in 61:54. Merga was second at 62:00 and Kenya’s Wilson Erupe made a late surge to take third in 62:12.
took command early in the race, leading through 5km in 16:18, and then doubled her margin by the 10km mark, clocking 32:42. At 15km, she had a 1:27 lead over Caroline Kilel of Kenya and her margin of victory was 2:05 when she crossed the line at 69:53, the fifth-fastest time in race history. Kilel finished as the runner-up for the second year in a row, finishing in 71:58 and Hellen Jemutai, also of Kenya, was third in 72:34.
Chasing the American prize purse, presented by Marathonguide.com, Andrew Carlson and Tera Moody were the first U.S. finishers in the Chevron Houston Marathon. Carson was seventh overall at 2:17:16 and Moody was sixth in 2:39:10.
“The extra prize incentive from Marathonguide.com was a great addition to our event,” said Brant Kotch, Race Director of the Chevron Houston Marathon. “Along with the substantial support we receive from Chevron and Aramco, this kind of financial help can only enhance our competitive fields.”
The top Americans in the Aramco Houston Half Marathon were newly-minted U.S. citizen Shadrack Biwott, who finished fourth in 62:23, and Lisa Uhl, who took sixth in 73:38.
For more information on the 2013 Chevron Houston Marathon Race Weekend, please visit http://www.chevronhoustonmarathon.com or http://www.hmcpresscenter.com.