Defending Champions Return to Mark 50th Anniversary of Chevron Houston Marathon

HOUSTON (Jan. 6, 2022) – With 194,039 finishers having run 5,083,822 miles since the first Chevron Houston Marathon, the race will mark its 50th anniversary on January 16.

“When 113 runners lined up in 1972 to run loops in Memorial Park, no one would have predicted the marathon would have a Golden Anniversary at all, much less with a field of 28,000 celebrating on the streets of Houston,” said Houston Marathon Committee Executive Director Wade Morehead. “Led by some of the top marathoners and half marathoners in the world, we’re looking forward to a great day in the history of the race and the city.”

Returning to defend their Chevron Houston Marathon titles from 2020 – only a virtual race was held last year because of Covid – are Askale Merachi and Kelkile Gezahegn, both of Ethiopia. Making her seventh-consecutive appearance will be three-time champion Biruktayit Eshetu Degefa, who will renew her quest to become the race’s first four-time winner after finishing as runner-up to Merachi last year.

Among the Americans worth watching are Keira D’Amato and Frank Lara. D’Amato comes to Houston with a personal best of 2:22:56 and could challenge the 10-year-old course record of 2:23:14, while Lara – the 2014 Gatorade Boys’ High School Cross Country Runner of the Year out of Strake Jesuit College Prep – returns home to Houston to make his marathon debut.

Dan Green, the first winner in 1972, will serve as honorary starter, along with other members of the race’s Hall of Fame. In addition to marking its 50th anniversary, the race will serve as the first qualifier for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon, with its newly-toughened standards of 2:18 for men and 2:37 for women.

The Aramco Houston Half Marathon, run concurrently with the marathon, will be headlined by Kenya’s Vicoty Chepngeno and American Sara Hall. Chepngeno set her personal best of 1:07:22 in winning the Philadelphia Half Marathon last November, while Hall is the sixth-fastest woman in U.S. history at the half marathon and second-fastest in the marathon. On the men’s side, the fastest time in the field belongs to Shadrack Kimining Korir, who returns to Houston after finishing third here in 2020 in a personal best of 59:27.

This year, the elite fields for the two races will feature athletes representing 16 countries: the U.S., Kenya, Ethiopia, Mexico, Great Britain, Japan, Bulgaria, Guatemala, Peru, Eritrea, South Africa, Morocco, New Zealand, Canada, Israel and Australia.

The Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon will be broadcast on ABC-13 from 7 a.m.-10 a.m., with a race day recap at 10:35 p.m. Joining ABC-13’s Greg Bailey and Gina Gaston as expert commentator will be Des Linden, the 2018 Boston Marathon winner and 50K world-record holder. Linden made the first of her two U.S. Olympic Marathon teams in Houston in 2012.

The full fields:


CHEVRON HOUSTON MARATHON – MEN

Name

Citizenship

Personal Best

Kelkile Gezahegn

ETH

2:05:56

John Langat

KEN

2:07:11

Kenta Uchida

JPN

2:08:12

Abdi Abdo

BHR

2:08:32

Elisha Barno

KEN

2:09:32

Tariku Bekele

KEN

2:09:33

Augustus Maiyo

USA

2:10:47

Jesus Arturo Esparza

MEX

2:11:04

Birhanu Kemal Dare

ETH

2:12:21

Tyler Jermann

USA

2:12:40

Mike Sayenko

USA

2:13:00

Josh Izewski

USA

2:13:15

Mike Chesire

KEN

2:13:28

Carlos Trujillo

GTM

2:14:21

Frank Lara

USA

Debut

James Ngandu

KEN

Debut

Luke Caldwell

GBR

Debut


CHEVRON HOUSTON MARATHON – WOMEN

Name

Citizenship

Personal Best

Atsede Baysa

ETH

2:22:03

Biruktayit Eshetu Degefa