Ethiopians Set Course Records at Houston Marathon

Ethiopians Teshome Gelana, Teyba Erkesso Win

2010 Chevron Houston Marathon
in Course Record Times

Shalane Flanagan debuts in course-record fashion at USA Half Marathon

(Jan. 17, 2010) – Teshome Gelana and defending women’s
champion Teyba Erkesso led an Ethiopian sweep of the 2010 Chevron
Houston Marathon, each setting course records in the process. 
Gelana, 25, running his second marathon in six weeks, broke away from a
pack of five runners at the 22-mile mark and finished in 2:07:37. His time shaved 15 seconds off the previous
course record set by fellow Ethiopian Deriba Merga last year. 
“I did not expect to run this fast,” said Gelana, who entered the race
with a personal record of 2:11:50 set in 2008. “It was unexpected, but I hope the future will bring even more
interesting things for me. I think I can
run 2:05.”
Zembaba Yigeze (ETH)
was second in 2:08:27, while Jason Mbote (KEN) was third in
2:08:58. For the first time in the
history of the race, the top six runners ran under 2 hours, 10 minutes. American Brett Gotcher (Flagstaff, Ariz.)
finished seventh in 2:10:35 in his debut marathon.
The 27-year-old Erkesso dominated the women’s race for the second
consecutive year, once again crossing the finish line in a course record. Erkesso won by nearly five minutes, lowering
her course mark by 25 seconds with a time of 2:23:53. The time is the fastest female marathon ever
run in Texas and makes Erkesso the only woman
to run sub 2 hours, 25 minutes twice in Houston. 
Both Galana and Erkesso received $35,000 for their victories. Margarita Plaksina (RUS) was the runner-up
in the women’s race in 2:28:44. Alemitu
Abera (ETH) was third in 2:31:01.   
Antonio Vega (St.
Paul, Minn.) and Shalane
Flanagan (Portland, Ore.) claimed 2010 USA Half Marathon
Championships with their victories in the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. 
Vega, 26, broke the tape in 1:01:54, setting a new personal best by
more than a minute and running the fourth-fastest time by American on the Houston half marathon
course. The victory produced Vega’s
first national road title. Patrick
Smyth (Minneapolis, Minn.)
was seven seconds behind in second place, while Brent Vaughn (Black
Hawk, Colo.)
ran 1:02:04 for third.    
Two-time Olympian Flanagan, 28, shattered the course record in the
women’s half marathon championship, finishing in 1:09:41. The time bettered the mark set by Colleen De
Reuck in 2004 by 1:14. 
“It felt like just another day, just another practice. It wasn’t until the last 400 meters did I say
‘okay, this is a race and I need to make sure I seal the deal,'” said Flanagan,
who has her long-term sights set on the marathon. “It was a very good effort, very controlled
and it was just a great day for running.”      

An event record of more than 26,000 runners participated in the 38th
running of the Chevron Houston Marathon, the ninth-annual Aramco Houston Half
Marathon and EP5K. 
The record number of runners is expected to result in a new standard
for money raised by the Run for a Reason charity program.  Prior to the race, runners already had raised
$1.4 million to benefit 46 Houston-area nonprofit organizations. 

The Chevron Houston Marathon, a Running USA
founding member, is the nation’s premier winter marathon, annually attracting
participants from all 50 U.S.
states and many foreign countries.  In
2010, more than 30,000 runners participated in four marathon weekend events
(marathon, half marathon, 5K run and children’s run).  The Houston Marathon has been ranked among
the top five in the nation by the Ultimate Guide to Marathons for
fastest course, organization and crowd support. 
More than 5,000 volunteers organize the race, which is Houston’s largest single-day sporting event.
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