FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Merga Shatters 20-year-old Course Record at 37th Chevron Houston Marathon
Erkesso eclipses women's course standard by 22 seconds; Keflezighi, Lewy
Boulet USA half champs; event record 22,000 participants
HOUSTON - (Jan. 18, 2009) - Ethiopia's Deriba Merga broke the 20-year-old
Chevron Houston Marathon course record by more than two minutes en route to
winning the 37th edition with the fastest marathon run in Texas on Sunday
Aided in the early stages of the race by three pacesetters, Merga, 28, set
a blistering pace, which, at mile 18, found him in range of running the
fastest marathon ever on U.S. soil. When the final pacesetter stepped off
the course after mile 17, Merga ran solo to hit the finish line in 2 hours,
7 minutes, 52 seconds, breaking the course and state record of 2:10:04 set
by Richard Kaitany of Kenya in 1989.
"I really tried to get the record," Merga said through a translator of his
attempt to run under 2:05:42, the fastest marathon run in the U.S. by
Khalid Khannouchi in 1999 at Chicago. "I can run better next year."
Merga's winning time was nearly four minutes faster than runner-up Benson
Cheruiyot of Kenya who ran 2:11:33. Russian Yuriy Abramov finished third in
The course record in the women's race also fell as Teyba Erkesso made it an
Ethiopian sweep of the marathon titles. Running her debut marathon, the
26-year-old Erkesso won in 2:24:18, 22 seconds faster than the time
countrywoman and training partner, Dire Tune, ran in Houston last year.
Erkesso's time also set a new marathon standard for Texas.
Romania's Nuta Olaru finished second in 2:27:25, a time that would have won
all but two previous women's marathons in Houston, while Lioudmila
Kortchaguina of Canada was third (2:30:43).
Both Merga and Erkesso earned $35,000 for their victories and bonuses of
$10,000 for the course records.
Keflezighi, Lewy Boulet set personal records en route to USA half-marathon
titles Meb Keflezighi (San Diego, Calif.) rebounded from an injury-plagued
2008 to win the 2009 USA Half Marathon Championships, hosted by the Aramco
Houston Half Marathon, in 1:01:25.
Keflezighi, 33, who suffered a serious hip-flexor injury following the 2008
Olympic Marathon Trials, took the lead within the first mile of the race
and the 2004 Olympic silver medalist ran to the finish virtually
unchallenged to win his first U.S. championship since 2007 (and the Team
Running USA athlete's first at the 13.1 mile distance).
"I've won 15 or 16 national championships, but this one is the most
special," Keflezighi said after setting a personal half-marathon record by
three seconds. "It feels good to be healthy again."
Two-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein (Eugene, Ore.), the race's #1 seed, was
national runner-up in 1:01:35, while Brett Gotcher (Flagstaff, Ariz.) was
third in 1:02:09, a PR by nearly two minutes.
2008 Olympian Magdalena Lewy Boulet (Oakland, Calif.) broke from a pack of
about five at mile 10 and went on to win the women's USA title in 1:11:47,
19 seconds in front of second-place finisher Kelly Jaske.
The victory earned Lewy Boulet, a naturalized citizen born in Poland, her
first national title. Jaske produced the surprise performance of the race.
While unable to catch Lewy Boulet late in the race, Jaske's runner-up
finish came in her first national championship road race. Colleen De Reuck
(Boulder, Colo.), 44, the 2004 Aramco Houston Half Marathon champion, was
third in 1:12:14.
Including participants in the EP5K, more than 22,000 runners competed in
the three Chevron Houston Marathon weekend events, establishing a
participation record for the event for the eighth consecutive year.
Runners in this year's race are expected to raise $1.5 million for 45
charities as part of the event's Run for a Reason program.
37th Chevron Houston Marathon
Houston, TX, Sunday, January 18, 2009
1) Deriba Merga (ETH), 2:07:52*, $45,000
2) Benson Cheruiyot (KEN), 2:11:33, $21,000
3) Yuriy Abramov (RUS), 2:12:21, $7000
4) Augustus Kavutu (KEN), 2:16:06, $4000
5) Andrew Smith (CAN), 2:16:16, $2000
*course and Texas state record (previous record, 2:10:04, Richard Kaitany
1) Teyba Erkesso (ETH), 2:24:18*, $45,000
2) Nuta Olaru (ROM), 2:27:25, $21,000
3) Lioudmila Kortchaguina (CAN), 2:30:43, $7000
4) Yulia Gromova (RUS), 2:31:28, $4000
5) Mary Akor (USA / CA), 2:37:53, $2000
*course and Texas state record (previous record, 2:24:40, Dire Tune (ETH),
7th Aramco Houston Half Marathon: USA Championships
1) Meb Keflezighi (CA), 1:01:25, $12,000
2) Dathan Ritzenhein (OR), 1:01:35, $6500
3) Brett Gotcher (AZ), 1:02:09, $4000
4) Andrew Carlson (AZ), 1:02:21, $2000
5) Brian Sell (MI), 1:02:36, $1500
6) Fasil Bizuneh (AZ), 1:02:40, $1250
7) Antonio Vega (MN), 1:02:55, $1000
8) Ian Dobson (CA), 1:03:12, $750
9) Justin Young (CO), 1:03:25, $500
10) Fernando Cabada (CO), 1:03:31, $250
1) Magdalena Lewy Boulet (CA), 1:11:47, $12,000
2) Kelly Jaske (OR), 1:12:06, $6500
3) Colleen De Reuck, 44, CO, 1:12:14, $4750
4) Desiree Davila (MI), 1:12:23, $2000
5) Amy Rudolph (RI), 1:12:34, $1500
6) Melissa White (MI), 1:12:38, $1250
7) Kristin Nicolini Lehmkuhle (MN), 1:12:41, $1000
8) Lindsey Anderson (UT), 1:13:10, $750
9) Sara Slattery (CA), 1:13:23, $500
10) Tara Storage (OH), 1:13:50, $250
Complete results at: ChevronHoustonMarathon.com