Preview: Houston Marathon 2010
January 15, 2010 by Cheryl Lowe
Going into a new year and decade with the advent of 2010, American distance running could sharpen its edges and gain more momentum, as the sport of running increases in popularity nation-wide.
The Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Half Marathon in Houston, TX, provides a microcosm of the running boom in this country. Every year, the field grows by thousands as more people lace up their running shoes and tackle their personal goals for the new year.
Houston will once again host the USA Half Marathon Championships. Last year in 2009, we saw Meb Keflezeghi beat Dathan Ritzenhein on the men’s side in 1:01:25. Magdalena Boulet dominated the women’s field in 1:11:47, but not without newcomer Kelly Jaske nipping at her heels. Jaske, who once before considered herself a “jogger,” ran an outstanding half marathon performance in 1:12:06.
Once again in 2010, Houston will not disappoint in providing an excellent race. This year, Shalane Flanagan, 2008 Olympic Bronze medalist in the 10,000m, will vie for the win in the women’s USA Half Marathon Championships. Houston will be Shalane’s first half marathon.
“Houston’s got good weather, a fast course and a good crowd. I’m really
excited to toe the line in Houston and tackle a whole new event,” said Flanagan.
Magdalena Boulet returns to defend her title in the women’s half marathon. Colleen De Reuck, the 2004 winner and course record holder (1:10:55), will also return to Houston. They will be joined by Serena Burla (Ballwin, Mo.), Heidi Westover (Walpole, N.H.), seeded 4th and 5th respectively.
On the men’s side, Josh Rohatinsky (Portland, Ore.) and Tim Nelson (Portland, Ore.) are now the highest seeded runners in the USA Half Marathon Championships, since James Carney unfortunately dropped out due to injury. Carney won the race in 2008.
In the full marathon, Teyba Erkesso of Ethiopa returns to defend her title. Erkesso won the women’s marathon in 2009, where she ran a course record in 2:24:18. Paige Higgins of McMillan Elite, who ran the half marathon last year in 1:14:24 (13th), is the second highest seeded runner for the women in the full marathon.
Jason Mbote of Kenya, who ran a 2:07:37 personal record at the 2008 Seoul Marathon, will be the highest seeded elite runner in the marathon field. Charles Kibiwott, also from Kenya, will be competing in the full marathon.
Brett Gotcher, who placed third in the USA Half Marathon Championships in 2009 (1:02:09), will debut in his first marathon performance.
“I’m definitely not going to just go out there and run 2:15 or 2:14 or something. I’m definitely going to be aggressive and try to go for it. My whole thing is that I’m hoping on a good day, I can run with the lead pack,” said Gotcher.
Deriba Merga of Ethiopia, who won the event last year and set a new course record in 2:07:52, will not be competing in Houston in 2010. Merga has his sights set on the Boston Marathon this April, where he hopes for a win.
PreRaceJitters.com will be covering the 2010 USA Half Marathon Championships and Chevron Houston Marathon this weekend. Stay tuned for the latest news!
Blog preview written by PreRaceJitters staff writer Cheryl Lowe.
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