FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Steven Karpas
Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Half Post Banner Year
17,779 registrants make for record-breaking attendance, performances
HOUSTON, Jan. 15, 2006 –– The 2005 Houston Marathon men’s division winner,
Kenyan David Cheruiyot, 34, proved that last year’s victory was not
beginner’s luck as he triumphed in what became a neck-and-neck race to the
finish line, securing his second win of the Chevron Houston Marathon in
2:12:02. Eight seconds behind him, finishing in second place, was
countryman Wesly Ngetich, 22, who was the leading contender in the half
marathon until yesterday when he pulled out to enter the full marathon.
Russian Firaya Sultanova-Zhdanova, 44, secured an early and wide lead in
the women’s division, winning in a time of 2:32:25 – just one second off of
the master’s course record – even after being forced to walk during the
last two miles due to a foot injury.
With a record prize purse of $172,900, an unprecedented 17,779 runners
competed in the Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon and
Houston Press/Smart Financial 5K, breaking last year’s record and reaching
the field limit in both the marathon and half marathon races. Runners also
will raise a record amount for charities with the total expected to exceed
$1 million – at least $200,000 more than last year.
Kenyan Nicodemus Malakwen, 24, broke away in the second mile of the Aramco
Houston Half Marathon to set a new course record with a time of 1:02:07. In
second place, was Brian Sell, 27, from Rochester Hills, Mich. With his
personal record time of 1:02:39 and second-place finish overall, Sell won
the USA Men’s Half Marathon National Championship, which was being hosted
as part of the Aramco Half Marathon. "It's good to see that we’re
(American runners) making progress to competing again on a world level,"
Asmae Leghzaoui, 29, from Morocco, pulled ahead in mile eight to finish as
the top woman in the Aramco Houston Half Marathon with a time of 1:11:56.
Seconds behind her were Dorota Gruca, Poland, and Adriana Pirtea, Romania.
One of the world’s fastest wheelchair athletes, Saul Mendoza, 38, of
Mexico, rolled in 1:43:11 to secure first place in his division for the
third time to start his season. Houstonian Ramiro Bermudez, 46, secured
first place in the half marathon wheelchair with a time of 59:54 – his
fourth win in the Houston half.
Race Director Brant Kotch expressed appreciation for the event’s 5,000
volunteers and quarter million spectators in a banner year. "The
record-setting attendance and performances this year underscore the fact
that Houston, as a world-class city, and the Chevron Houston Marathon and
Aramco Houston Half Marathon, as world-class events, are absolutely teamed
up in a winning partnership," said Kotch. "Every year since the Houston
Marathon’s inception in 1972, the community and volunteers here have banded
together to increase the magnitude of this international event; with
results like today’s, the city should be very proud."
Astronaut Bill McArthur was un-officially the 17,780th participant in the
day’s three races, "running" the half marathon on a treadmill from the
International Space Station. Coming in at 1:54:32, McArthur said he "felt
wonderful" – even if he wasn’t a threat to the elite runners.
The 5K women’s division was dominated by local contenders, with athletes
from Houston taking the top three winning spots including Jessica Word, 30,
in first place, Helen Grant, 42, in second and Rebecca Marvil, 47, in
third. Scott Gall, 31 from Cedar Falls, Iowa, finished first in the men’s
division with a time of 16:01. Less than 30 seconds behind were Ray Hunt,
40 from Deer Lodge, Mont., and local Spring resident Quenton Cassidy, 18.
The Chevron Houston Marathon, a Running USA founding member, is the
nation’s premier winter marathon, annually attracting participants from
across the U.S. states and more than 40 other countries. The Chevron
Houston Marathon offers the only closed marathon course in Texas and is
ranked among the top five in the nation by the Ultimate Guide for Marathons
for fastest course, organization and crowd support. More than 5,000
volunteers organize the race, which is Houston’s largest single-day
More information and complete race results are available online at
www.chevronhoustonmarathon.com or by calling 713-957-3453.
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