HOUSTON (December 28, 2017) – The Houston Marathon Committee (HMC) revealed an increased prize purse for the 2018 Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon races, alongside an impressive elite field complete with 10 past champions and new up-and-coming challengers who are certain to push the boundaries of competition.
“We anticipate seeing a competitive race that will once again showcase the draw of our event at the professional level,” said Chevron Houston Marathon Race Director and Board President Brant Kotch. “Our elite committee has developed an outstanding reputation in the sport for the level of service they provide to our professional athletes, and because of their efforts the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon continue to prove themselves among the top road races on the world stage.”
Past Champions to Battle for Chevron Houston Marathon Title
The race to the tape will be tight with two returning champions in the men’s field and four past champions in the women’s race of the Chevron Houston Marathon. Dominic Ondoro (KEN), the 2017 champion returns to defend his title, while Bazu Worku (ETH), 2013 and 2014 Chevron Houston Marathon Champion, hopes to challenge Ondoro and the rest of the proven men’s field. In the women’s race, Veronicah Nyaruai Wanjiru (ERI), the 2017 Aramco Houston Half Marathon winner, moves up in distance to the Chevron Houston Marathon this year. But a title in the marathon distance won’t come easy to Wanjiru here in Houston. She’ll have to battle against Biruktayit Degefa (ETH), the 2016 Chevron Houston Marathon champion, who is back after her runner-up finish in 2017; Abebech Afework Bekele (ETH), the 2014 Chevron Houston Marathon champion, returns for the first time since her victory; and Mamitu Daska (ETH), the 2011 Chevron Houston Marathon champion and 2013 Aramco Houston Half Marathon champion will look to contest the crown.
Fastest Field in Aramco Houston Half Marathon History
With seven men – and an eighth making his debut – whose personal bests are under 60:00, and 12 women who have run faster than 1:10, both the men’s and women’s fields are by far the fastest ever assembled for the Aramco Houston Half Marathon, and arguably rank among the deepest field ever assembled in the U.S at the half marathon distance. Leading the charge in the men’s field is Alex Korio Oloitiptit (KEN) with a personal best of 58:51. Chasing closely on his heels will be an impressive men’s field including Feyisa Lelisa (ETH), the course record-holder and two-time winner of the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. Returning to the women’s field is 2016 champion and course and U.S. soil record holder Mary Wacera (KEN) with her time of 1:06:29. She stands to be challenged by Americans Molly Huddle and Jordan Hasay, both capable of running away with the American record, currently held by Deena Kastor (1:07:34)
Prize Purse Continues to Grow with Draw of Elite Competitors
The 2018 Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Marathon will award the highest elite prize purse to date. New for all four races in 2018 is the extension of prize money awarded to the top eight finishers in all four races – previously prize money was awarded through the top seven finishers. “We are fortunate to be able to accommodate one of the largest professional fields in the industry. We want to advance the level of competition our races draw, and continuously evaluating our total prize purse is one of the ways we facilitate the growth of our elite program,” said Kotch. A total of $281,000 in guaranteed prize money will be awarded on Jan. 14, including a $45,000 first place payout for both the men’s and women’s champions at the 2018 Chevron Houston Marathon and a $20,000 first place payout for both the men’s and women’s champions at the 2018 Aramco Houston Half Marathon.
For a complete list of prize money please visit: www.chevronhoustonmarathon.com/participants/elites/
Elite Field as of December 28, 2017
|Men’s Marathon||Personal Best|
|Milton Kiplagat Rotich||2:08:55|
|Women’s Marathon||Personal Best|
|Abebech Afework Bekele||2:23:33|
|Melesech Tsegaye Beyene||2:26:44|
|Leah Nook Frost||2:42:52|
|Veronicah Nyaruai Wanjiru||Debut|
|Men’s Half Marathon||Personal Best|
|Alex Korio Oloitiptit||0:58:51|
|Guye Adola Idemo||0:59:06|
|Justus Kipkogei Kangogo||0:59:31|
|Wilfred Kimeli Kimitei||1:00:12|
|Temesgen Daba Ejerssa||1:01:08|
|Women’s Half Marathon||Personal Best|
|Dibabe Kuma Lema||1:10:47|
|Jovana de la Cruz||1:13:19|
About the Houston Marathon Committee, Inc.
Established in 1972, the Houston Marathon Committee, Inc. (HMC) is a founding member of Running USA and annually organizes the nation’s premier winter marathon, half marathon and 5K. Over 250,000 participants, volunteers and spectators make Chevron Houston Marathon Race Day the largest single-day sporting event in Houston. Recognized by the IAAF, the Gold Label Aramco Houston Half Marathon has held 16 U.S. Half Marathon Championships and the Silver Label Chevron Houston Marathon has been the race site for three U.S. Olympic Trials Marathons. For five consecutive years, the events have garnered Gold Certification from the Council of Responsible Sport and were also awarded the 2015 AIMS Green Award for industry-leading sustainability initiatives. Race weekend generates over $50 million in economic impact for the region annually. In addition to its econo