HOUSTON (January 4, 2019) – The Houston Marathon Committee (HMC) is thrilled to announce an impressive elite field for both the Chevron Houston Marathon and the Aramco Houston Half Marathon on Jan. 20, 2019. For the second year in a row, the Aramco Houston Half Marathon can be billed as the fastest field in the half marathon’s 17-year history and in its forty-seventh running the Chevron Houston Marathon will host returning 2018 women’s champion Biruktayit Degefa alongside storied American long-distance runner Kara Goucher.

“Once again, our elite team continues to draw a competitive international field,” said Chevron Houston Marathon Race Director and Board President Brant Kotch. “It is because of their efforts and the hospitality the city of Houston extends for our weekend of events that the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon continue to prove themselves among the top road races on the world stage.”

Elite Field as of Jan. 4, 2019

Men’s Marathon


Personal Best

Abayneh Ayele ETH 2:06:45
Yitayal Atnafu ETH 2:07:00
Dominic Ondoro KEN 2:08:00
Birhanu Gedefa ETH 2:08:03
Albert Korir KEN 2:08:17
Justus Kimutai KEN 2:09:29
Elisha Barno KEN 2:09:45
Carlos Trujillo USA 2:14:21
Samson Gebreyohannes ERI 2:14:25
Stephen Scullion IRE 2:15:55
Tyler Jermann USA 2:16:39
Pardon Ndhlovu ZIM 2:16:52
Jose Luis Santana Marin MEX 2:17:15
Brandon Johnson USA 2:18:14
Juan Joel Pacheco Orozco MEX 2:18:20
Tommy Puzey USA 2:18:20
Tristan Woodfine CAN 2:18:55
Danny Docherty USA DEBUT
Henry Lelei KEN DEBUT
Tefera Debela ETH DEBUT


Women’s Marathon


Personal Best

Biruktayit Eshetu Degefa ETH 2:23:51
Kara Goucher USA 2:24:52
Muluhabt Tsega ETH 2:25:48
Sechale Delasa ETH 2:26:27
Sarah Kiptoo KEN 2:26:32
Gebayenesh Ayele ETH 2:26:54
Gladys Kipsoi KEN 2:27:32
Etaferahu Temesgen ETH 2:29:24
Belaynesh Fikadu Beyene ETH 2:30:47
Zerfie Lemineh ETH 2:31:10
Serkalem Abrha ETH 2:31:40
Kelsey Bruce USA 2:34:03
Madeline Duhon USA 2:35:28
Polina Carlson USA 2:35:42
Natasha Cockram GBR 2:35:49
Chirine Njeim LEB 2:39:22
Anita Perez USA 2:39:29
Kate Bazeley CAN 2:40:49
Sabrina Lopez USA 2:42:16
Rachel Baptista USA DEBUT
Meseret Belete ETH DEBUT
Buze Diriba ETH DEBUT
Sasha Gollish CAN DEBUT
Katy Jermann USA DEBUT



Men’s Half Marathon


Personal Best

Jemal Yimer ETH 58:33:00
Bedan Karoki Muchiri KEN 58:42:00
Shura Kitata ETH 59:16:00
Bernard Ngeno KEN 59:22:00
El Hassan El Abbassi BRN 59:27:00
Geoffrey Koech KEN 59:50:00
Stephen Sambu KEN 1:00:41
Diego Estrada USA 1:00:51
Weldon Kirui KEN 1:01:10
Gabriel Geay TZN 1:01:13
Luke Puskedra USA 1:01:29
Dewi Griffiths GBR 1:01:33
Aaron Braun USA 1:01:38
Shadrack Biwott USA 1:01:40
Edwin Kibichiy KEN 1:01:46
Noah Droddy USA 1:01:48
Fernando Cabada USA 1:02:00
Bernard K. Lagat KEN 1:02:22
Parker Stinson USA 1:02:38
Ismail Ssenyange UGA 1:02:45
Reed Fischer USA 1:02:57
Willie Milam USA 1:03:08
Dan Kremske USA 1:03:23
Futsum  Zienasellassie USA 1:03:39
Patrick Tiernan AUS 1:03:53
Abinet Adraro USA 1:03:58
Andrew Epperson USA 1:04:04
Jameson Mora USA 1:05:49
Kevin Lewis USA 1:05:02
Mark Huizar USA 1:08:01
Ben Fletcher USA 1:08:09
Swarnjit Boyal USA DEBUT


Women’s Half Marathon


Personal Best

Fancy Chemutai KEN 1:04:52
Edith Chelimo KEN 1:05:52
Gladys Cherono KEN 1:06:07
Mary Wacera Ngugi KEN 1:06:29
Brigid Kosgei KEN 1:06:35
Ruti Aga ETH 1:06:39
Emily Sisson USA 1:08:21
Sally Kipyego USA 1:08:31
Monicah Ngige KEN 1:08:38
Delvine Meringor KEN 1:09:01
Aliphine Tuliamuk USA 1:09:16
Becky Wade USA 1:11:15
Natasha Wodak CAN 1:11:20
Dayna Pidhoresky CAN 1:12:38
Tracy Barlow GBR 1:12:17
Elaina Tabb USA 1:12:29
Christina Vergara-Aleshire USA 1:12:48
Alia Gray USA 1:12:48
Nicole Dimercurio USA 1:13:16
Molly Grabill USA 1:13:21
Taylor Ward USA 1:13:50
Kristina Aubert USA 1:14:04
Hiruni Wijayarantne SRI 1:14:07
Lyndsay Tessier CAN 1:14:29
Jessica Watychowicz USA 1:14:48
Gabi Anzalone USA 1:14:51
Dawn Grunnagle USA 1:14:56
Shauneen Werlinger USA 1:15:47
Fiona Brian GBR 1:15:34
Catherine Watkins CAN 1:16:48
Alice Wright GBR DEBUT


Prize Purse

The 2019 Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Marathon will continue to award prize money to the top eight finishers in all four races. A total of $291,000 in guaranteed prize money will be awarded, including a $45,000 first place payout for both the men’s and women’s champions at the 2019 Chevron Houston Marathon and a $20,000 first place payout for both the men’s and women’s champions at the 2019 Aramco Houston Half Marathon.

For a complete list of prize money please visit: www.chevronhoustonmarathon.com/participants/elites/


Additional Athlete Stories of Interest

Chevron Houston Marathon 

  • Tommy Puzey‘s route to Houston is an unusual one. Winner of the 2018 Toyota Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and two-time winner of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon (2016 and 2017), Puzey competed for Brigham Young University in Hawaii, double majoring in exercise science and cultural anthropology, and focused on anthropological projects in Brazil and Costa Rica where he ran the 22-mile roundtrip to school almost every day, carrying his books and laptop in a backpack.
  • Biruktayit Degefa, who returns to the Chevron Houston Marathon for the sixth consecutive year, is looking to become just the third woman to become a 3-time winner here, and the first woman to defend her title since 2010.
  • Buze Diriba makes her marathon distance debut. In 2018, she won five major U.S. races at five different distances (5K, 10K, 12K, 10 mile and half marathon), including the United Airlines NYC Half, where she outkicked American Emily Sisson for a one-second win.
  • Kara Goucher, after several years of injury, returns to long distance running for her first marathon since the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials, in which she finished fourth to just miss making her third Olympic team – she competed for Team USA at both 5000 and 10,000 meters in 2008 and the marathon in 2012, making that team when she finished third at the Trials here in Houston.

Aramco Houston Half Marathon

  • Fancy Chemutai came breathtakingly close to breaking the half marathon world record last February, when her 1:04:52 – a 44-second PB – was just one second from tying Joyciline Jepkosgei’s mark. She’ll be chasing it again in Houston.
  • Emily Sisson is a two time U.S. Champion – at 10K in 2016 and 5K in 2018 – Sisson ran the fastest half marathon debut ever by an American woman when she finished second at the United Airlines NYC Half in 2017 and comes to Houston to try and best Molly Huddle’s American record of 1:07:25.
  • Five sub-60 minute male athletes will vie to break the tape in the men’s half marathon race. The abscence of last year’s champion Jake Robertson leaves the door open for Bedan Karoki Muchiri, Shura Kitata, Bernard Ngeno, El Hassan El Abbassi, or Geoffrey Koech to leave with the title.

Athlete Development Program

The Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Marathon offers a limited number of runners a priority starting location on race day just behind the elite athlete field and in front of the masses. For the 2019 races, 158 athletes achieved the qualifying standard for this field for the Aramco Houston Half Marathon and 176 athletes achieved the qualifying time for the Chevron Houston Marathon. With the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials just a year away, we expect to see many of these athletes looking to obtain the standard for entry.

  • Jim Walmsley (Aramco Houston Half Marathon) ran away with the win at the 2018 Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run after infamously dropping out in 2016 after a wrong turn and again in 2017 after becoming ill on course. Many consider him to be the best ultra runner in the country but he toes the line in Houston to test his grit on the road, searching for an OTQ at the distance.
  • Jesse Chettle (Aramco Houston Half Marathon) had aspirations of moving up to the half marathon distance after setting PBs in the 5K (14:37), 3K (8:27) and Mile (4:08) until he was sidelined by a brain tumor. After surgery to remove the tumor, a scan showed a recurrence and for the past 18 months he has been treating it with his doctor. He toes the line in Houston to continue to work toward his dream.

To request interviews with any of these athletes please contact Senior Manager, Communications and Marketing – Muffy King at muffy@houstonmarathon.com

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 300,000 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 economic impact, the HMC facilitates social responsibility through its Run for a Reason Charity Program which has raised over $29 million since its inception and the Houston Marathon Foundation, which serves the greater Houston area through support of youth and community organizations that promote access to and participation in running. The event is televised annually with national and international syndication airing on ESPN3 and the Longhorn Network.

For more information, visit www.chevronhoustonmarathon.com or call 713.957.3453