Gedefa, Arage win Houston with PRs for Ethiopia sweep

by Zelalem

HOUSTON (AP) Birhanu Gedefa came from behind in the last mile to win the Houston marathon in a personal record of 2 hours, 8 minutes, 3 seconds while fellow Ethiopian Yebrgual Arage also came from behind for a PR, winning the women’s race in 2:23:23.

Gebo Burka broke away from Debebe Tolossa at the 23-mile mark, extending his lead to 14 seconds by the 25-mile mark, but Gedefa closed the gap quickly, passing his countryman with a quarter-mile to go, beating his previous personal best set in Rome in 2012 at 2:11:30 and winning his first marathon.

Diego Estrada won the men’s U.S. Half Marathon Championships in 60:51, and Kim Conley won the women’s U.S. Half Marathon Championships in 69:44.

Burka finished second, nine seconds back of Gedefa. The top American was Aaron Braun with a time of 2:12:54, good for seventh.

Arage, whose time was second fastest in Houston women’s marathon history and bested her previous personal record set last year in Paris by three minutes, overcame a 17 second deficit at the 22-mile mark to take the lead by 25 miles and win by nine seconds over countrywoman Guteni Imana.

The top American was Kellyn Taylor at 2:28:40, good for sixth.

Biruktait Degefa started to pull away from the pack around the 16-mile mark, with her lead stretching to 14 seconds by the 19-mile mark over Imana, but Imana caught up by 22 miles and Arage caught up to Imana three miles later.

In the half, Estrada pulled away from the lead pack around the four-mile mark, growing the lead to 20 seconds over Matthew Llano and Jared Ward by the halfway point of the race and cruising to his first half marathon championship, besting Ward by 51 seconds. Defending champion Meb Keflezighi finished fourth.

Conley began to pull away from the pack around the 10-mile mark and grew her lead to 22 seconds over Brianne Nelson by the 12-mile mark. Conley, who was the 2014 US 10,000 meter champion, won her first half marathon championship. Nelson finished second 32 seconds behind Conley.

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