FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Deriba Merga Commits to Run Houston
Fourth-place Olympic Marathon finisher looks to PR at Chevron Houston
Marathon; Teyba Erkesso, 10 mile world record holder, joins women's field
HOUSTON, TX (Jan. 6, 2009) - Fresh off a fourth-place finish at the 2008
Olympic Marathon in Beijing, Deriba Merga (ETH) has committed to the
January 18th running of the 2009 Chevron Houston Marathon.
Merga's performance in China (2:10:21) was part of an impressive year of
running for the 28-year-old from Nekemte, Ethiopia.
Most recently, Merga clocked a personal record (PR) and a course record of
59:15 in winning the New Delhi Half Marathon on November 9, 2008. Prior to
the Games, he ran a PR of 2:06:38 to finish sixth at the London Marathon in
Merga is the second-fastest Ethiopian marathoner of all time. Only world
record holder Haile Gebrselassie has run faster. Merga is one of the most
talented runners to commit to the Chevron Houston Marathon in the history
of the event and with the assistance of two pacesetters, he plans to take
aim at Houston's course record of 2:10:04. The course standard is one of
the oldest in the sport, set in 1989 by Richard Kaitany (KEN).
"We witnessed a sensational, record-setting run from one of the best
runners in the world at the 2008 Chevron Houston Marathon, and we could see
a repeat performance in 2009," said Race Director Brant Kotch. "Ethiopia's
Dire Tune set a women's course record by more than three minutes last
January, and Merga possesses the ability to do the same to the men's mark."
Joining Merga in Houston will be three-time Chevron Houston Marathon winner
and No. 1 seed David Cheruiyot (KEN). Cheruiyot won back-to-back marathons
in 2005 and 2006 and added his third Houston title in 2008.
Kasime Adillo (ETH), second in Houston in 2008 in 2:12:47, Yuri Abramov
(RUS), Kenneth Mungara (KEN), winner of the 2008 Toronto and Prague
marathons, and Andrew Smith (CAN) also are scheduled to compete in the
Teyba Erkesso (ETH), Amane Gobena (ETH), Lioudmila Kortchaguina (CAN) and
Albina Gallyamova (RUS) will lead the women's marathon field.
Erkesso, 25, who ran a world record of 51:44 at the 2007 Cherry Blossom Ten
Mile Run, will be running her debut marathon and is expected to challenge
Houston's 2:24:40 course record set by her teammate, Tune, in 2008.
Kortchaguina is a three-time Canadian marathon champion and owner of a
2:29:42 PR from the Ottawa Marathon in 2006. She placed seventh in the half
marathon in her previous trip to Houston two years ago.
Gallyamova will return to Houston as one of the sport's top masters (40 and
over) competitors. She took fourth overall and was the top masters finisher
in 2:37:50 at the 2008 Los Angeles Marathon. Gallyamova, 44, also finished
fifth at the 2008 Country Music Marathon in Nashville in 2:40:23, which was
good for first among masters. She won the open title in Houston in 2003 in
The prize purse for the open marathon races is $130,000, with a $35,000
first-place award in both the men's and women's events. A course record is
worth a $10,000 bonus.
For more information, visit www.chevronhoustonmarathon.com or call