January 15, 2007

Records shattered at Houston!

from the official press release (details of my own run in the next post; I need sleep)

Records shattered at Chevron Houston Marathon,
Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Hall crushes U.S. half marathon record; Tune sets marathon course record

HOUSTON, TX January 14, 2007 – Ryan Hall separated himself from his competitors with a blistering 4:36 first mile, then ran the rest of the Aramco Houston Half Marathon alone on Sunday en route to a U.S. half marathon record.

The 24-year-old runner from Big Bear, Calif., ran 59:43 and became the first American ever to break an hour in the half-marathon distance. Hall beat the previous American record, set in 1985, by a minute and 12 seconds. He obliterated the previous Aramco Houston Half Marathon course record, set last year, by 2:24.

“I train in altitude,” Hall said when asked about this significant record. “I saw my splits around 4:30 and then thought, ‘I can do this.’”

Hall, in his half-marathon debut, ran the last 12.1 miles through the streets of Houston alone in what was arguably the best-ever performance by an American distance runner.

Fasil Bizuneh and Meb Keflezighi, the silver medalist in the 2004 Olympic marathon, were left to battle for second place, finishing two seconds apart in second and third place, respectively, but more than two minutes behind Hall. Brian Sell, the 2006 U.S. half marathon champion who won the race here last year, finished sixth.

Hall took home $21,000 for his efforts: $12,000 for his first-place finish, $4,000 in bonus money for the course record and an extra $5,000 for the American record.

Temperatures in the low 50s on Sunday morning made it a great day for setting records, and Hall was not alone in erasing past marks.

Dire Tune, 21, came to Houston to set a course record, according to her agent, and could proclaim “mission accomplished” 2:26:52 later. Tune broke the old course record – set 23 years ago by former world marathon record-holder and Olympic gold medalist Ingrid Kristensen – by 59 seconds.

Her previous best was 2:30:48 set in Los Angeles in 2005, where she finished fourth. The Ethiopian pocketed $25,000 for first place and an additional $10,000 for the course record.

In the men’s marathon, Feyisa Tusse of Ethiopia crossed the finish line almost three minutes ahead of his closest competitors. David Cheruiyot, 36, who won the race in 2005 and 2006, finished fifth. Tusse takes home a $3,000 bonus for running a time below 2:12 in addition to the $25,000 first-place prize.

In the women’s U.S. Half Marathon Championship, Elva Dryer and Kate O’Neil battled for the lead throughout the race. Dryer pulled ahead in the final stretch, clocking 1:11:42 at the finish, a five-second victory over O’Neil.

“I had to maintain a good stead pace,” said Dryer. “A couple of us were together at the beginning. I knew she wasn’t far behind the whole time.” Dryer collects $12,000 for her run.

Fourteen athletes qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in Sunday’s race. In the marathon, five men broke the Olympic A standard by running under 2:20. Another five men qualified by running sub-2:22, the Olympic B standard. Four women qualified by beating the Olympic B standard of 2:47.

The full results are available at the Chevron Houston Marathon website

The Chevron Houston Marathon, a Running USA founding member, is the nation’s premier winter marathon, annually attracting participants from all 50 U.S. states and nearly 30 foreign countries. In 2006, more than 18,000 runners took part in four marathon weekend events (marathon, half marathon, 5K and children’s run). The Chevron Houston Marathon offers the only closed marathon course in Texas and is ranked among the top five in the nation by the Ultimate Guide to Marathons for fastest course, organization and crowd support. More than 5,000 volunteers organize the race, which is Houston’s largest single-day sporting event.

Steven Karpas
Director of Marketing and Race Development
email: skarpas@chevronhoustonmarathon.com
phone: 713-957-3453

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