Sunday, January 15, 2017

US Army runner Elkanuh Kibet top USA finisher at Chevron Houston Marathon

Photo by Lou Roesch, Copyright 2017, All Rights Rseerved
By Lou Roesch
Special for TexSport Publications
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 15, 2017) Fifteen short months ago, almost to the day, then US Army specialist Elkanah Kibet ran his first ever marathon in Chicago. The Kenyan born runner did it in spite of a nine-month deployment to Kuwait and Iraq and without beginning his training for Chicago’s 26.2 mile edition until just six weeks before the race. Kibet put his face on the racing map leading the way for the first nine miles and then hanging with the first group for the next ten. The former Auburn Tiger finished seventh (2:11:31) registering the fastest debut time for an American runner since Andrew Carlson’s 2:11:24 in 2012.   The 31-year-old racer’s performance earned him a spot in U.S. Military’s World Class Athlete Program.

On Sunday, undaunted by the weather, Kibet ranked fourth on Runners World list of top American marathoners in 2015 became the first American to complete the Chevron Houston Marathon. His sixth place finish led a contingent of American runners including fellow Army teammate 1LT Robert Cheseret who finished ninth.

Specialist Leonard Korir, also a member of the Army’s WCAP, won the Aramco Half-Marathon in stirring fashion on Sunday morning. The 2016 US Olympian and two-time national collegiate champion in the 10,000M and 5,000M races edged Ethiopia’s Feyisa Lilesa Gemechu by one-one-hundredth of a second.

Over the years, the Chevron Houston Marathon has become predictable and unpredictable all at the same time. The 2017 edition was no different as Ethiopia won the women’s side for the 11th consecutive year and Kenya topped the leaderboard for the first time in eight years. Dominic Ondoro took the men’s race in 2:12:05 keeping the title in the hands or should I say the feet of the African runners for the 13th consecutive year.

Ethiopian Meskerem Assefa won her first career marathon winning by just 27 seconds over the 2016 champion Biruktayit Degefa in one of the closest finishes in Chevron Houston Marathon history. Assefa admitted during the post-race press conference that she was having cramps throughout the race but was determined to keep an eye on Gedefa and not lose the race. Ethiopia finished 1st, 2nd, and 4th in the race with American Becky Wade (3rd) the lone runner breaking up the African domination finishing five minutes and thirty nine seconds off the pace.

Registration for the 2018 Chevron Houston Marathon is now open.

No comments: