Houston Marathon 2012

Clean sweep: Ethiopians claim top spots in 40th annual Houston marathon and half marathon

Clean sweep: Ethiopians claim top spots in 40th annual Houston marathon and half marathon

News_Houston Marathon 2012_Jan 2012

Compared to the dreariness of last year's races, the 2012 Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon were practically dreams come true.

The 40th anniversary of Houston's largest one-day sporting event was greeted with fair skies, fair weather and fair play. Starting as the gun sounded precisely at 7 a.m., 28,000 distance athletes took to the streets of Houston to check an item off their bucket lists or to set personal bests.

But at the end of 26.2 and 13.1 miles, both the top spots in the marathon and half-marathon belonged to one country — Ethiopia. Tariku Jufar won the men's marathon in 2:06:51, and his countrywoman Alemitu Abera ran away with a victory in the women's race in 2:23:14.

The men's half-marathon title went to Ethiopian Feyisa Lelisa with an astounding 59:22 finish — just barely breaking 2012 Olympic team qualifier Ryan Hall's 2007 course record of 59:43. Belaynesh Oljira won the women's half marathon in 1:08.26, easily trouncing 2012 Olympic team qualifier Shalane Flanagan's 2010 record time of 1:09.41.