FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Records shattered at Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon
Hall crushes U.S. half marathon record; Tune sets marathon course record
HOUSTON, Jan. 14, 2007 – Ryan Hall separated himself from his competitors
with a blistering 4:36 first mile, then ran the rest of the Aramco Houston
Half Marathon alone on Sunday en route to a U.S. half marathon record.
The 24-year-old runner from Big Bear, Calif., ran 59:43 and became the
first American ever to break an hour in the half-marathon distance. Hall
beat the previous American record, set in 1985, by a minute and 12 seconds.
He obliterated the previous Aramco Houston Half Marathon course record, set
last year, by 2:24.
"I train in altitude," Hall said when asked about this significant record.
"I saw my splits around 4:30 and then thought, 'I can do this.'"
Hall, in his half-marathon debut, ran the last 12.1 miles through the
streets of Houston alone in what was arguably the best-ever performance by
an American distance runner. Fasil Bizuneh and Meb Keflezighi, the silver
medalist in the 2004 Olympic marathon, were left to battle for second
place, finishing two seconds apart in second and third place, respectively,
but more than two minutes behind Hall. Brian Sell, the 2006 U.S. half
marathon champion who won the race here last year, finished sixth.
Hall took home $21,000 for his efforts: $12,000 for his first-place finish,
$4,000 in bonus money for the course record and an extra $5,000 for the
Temperatures in the low 50s on Sunday morning made it a great day for
setting records, and Hall was not alone in erasing past marks.
Dire Tune, 21, came to Houston to set a course record, according to her
agent, and could proclaim "mission accomplished" 2:26:52 later. Tune broke
the old course record – set 23 years ago by former world marathon
record-holder and Olympic gold medalist Ingrid Kristensen – by 59 seconds.
Her previous best was 2:30:48 set in Los Angeles in 2005, where she
finished fourth. The Ethiopian pocketed $25,000 for first place and an
additional $10,000 for the course record.
In the men's marathon, Feyisa Tusse of Ethiopia crossed the finish line
almost three minutes ahead of his closest competitors. David Cheruiyot, 36,
who won the race in 2005 and 2006, finished fifth. Tusse takes home a
$3,000 bonus for running a time below 2:12 in addition to the $25,000
In the women's U.S. Half Marathon Championship, Elva Dryer and Kate O'Neil
battled for the lead throughout the race. Dryer pulled ahead in the final
stretch, clocking 1:11:42 at the finish, a five-second victory over O'Neil.
"I had to maintain a good stead pace," said Dryer. "A couple of us were
together at the beginning. I knew she wasn't far behind the whole time."
Dryer collects $12,000 for her run.
Fourteen athletes qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in Sunday's race.
In the marathon, five men broke the Olympic A standard by running under
2:20. Another five men qualified by running sub-2:22, the Olympic B
standard. Four women qualified by beating the Olympic B standard of 2:47.