In freezing conditions Ethiopia again stated its dominance on Houston, winning the men’s and women’s marathon and half-marathon.
Pre-race favourite Bazu Worku was able to claim his maiden marathon title, crossing the line in 2:10:17. Despite having a PB almost five minutes faster, Worku was happy to record the win in rainy, cold conditions.
“I’m very happy I won. The weather was not cooperating with us,” Worku told media after his win.
Emerging star Merima Mohammed narrowly missed the woman’s course record, the 20 year old winning in 2:23:37. In the challenging conditions she broke away from compatriot and main rival Buzunesh Deba at the 33km mark and never looked back, eventually winning by just under a minute. Mohammed missed the course record by just 23 seconds and was only 33 seconds off setting a new personal best.
Mohammed said to media after the race that she has plans to go faster.
“In the future, I would like to do much better, maybe into 2:18,” Mohammed said.
Before the race all eyes were on the men’s half-marathon field with a $50,000 incentive for a new world record. It turns out the sponsors (marathonguide.com) money was never under any real threat, the weather leading the eventual winner, defending champion Feyisa Lelisa, breaking the tape in 1:01:54, three and a half minutes outside the world record.
“Since the weather was so bad, I just wanted to win,” said Lelisa.
The women’s half-marathon was won by Mamitu Daska in 1:09:53, more than two minutes ahead of second place finisher Caroline Kilel of Kenya.
More than 25,000 athletes raced either the marathon or half-marathon event on Sunday.