Meskerem Assefa of Ethiopia wins Houston Marathon –

Meskerem Assefa

After a runner-up finish in 2014 and a third-place effort in 2013, Meskerem Assefa of Ethiopia extended Ethiopia’s dominance in the women’s marathon with a 2:30:18 to notch her first win and extend to 11 the streak of Ethiopian victories in Houston.

Meskerem and defending champion Biruktayit Degefa ran together until the 25-kilometer mark, where Meskerem made a subtle move to put six seconds on Biruktayit over the next 5K. Steadily moving away from Biruktayit,  Meskerem hit 35K in 2:03:44, 26 seconds in front, and her lead increased to 40 seconds by 40K. Fighting cramps, Meskerem held on over the final two kilos to win by 26 seconds as Biruktayit crossed the line at 2:30:44. Meskerem takes $45,000 in prize money for first place, which is the same amount for men’s as well.

In the men’s race, Ethiopia’s Yitayal Atanfu Zerihun finished second followed by Abayneh Ayele Woldegiorgis. It is the first time since 2009 Ethiopians lost in the men’s race in Houston Marathon.

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