Ethiopians sweep Houston Marathon, half marathon

Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:52:14 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 13 2013 11:00:25 AM CST
Houston Marathon finish line
HOUSTON -

Bazu Worku and Merima Mohammed gave Ethiopia a sweep of the men's and women's divisions of the Houston Marathon on Sunday. Ethiopians also won both races in the half marathon.

This was Worku's first marathon title. He finished in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 17 seconds and won by more than two minutes. Mohammed was timed in 2:23:37.

On a day of light to sometimes heavy rain with temperatures in the 40s, Ethiopians were runners-up in both marathon divisions.

Teferi Balcha finished second among the men in 2:12:50. Andrew Carlson was the top American, seventh in 2:17:16. Buzunesh Deba was the women's runner-up in 2:24:36.

In the men's half marathon, Feyisa Lilesa successfully defended his half marathon title, winning in 1:01:54, beating countryman Deriba Merga by seven seconds. The women's winner was Mamitu Daska in 1:09:53. She won the Houston Marathon in 2011.

A $50,000 bonus was offered if the world record of 58:23 was broken for the men's half marathon.

2004 Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi was supposed to run the half marathon, but he announced Friday that a recent bout with the flu kept him sidelined, so he bowed out of the race.

Approximately 25,000 runners participated in both the marathon and half marathon. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers and spectators lined the course.

One runner, an unidentified man, collapsed after crossing the finish line when he suffered cardiac arrest. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment. His condition was not released.

Two-time Olympian Ryan Hall was the honorary starter for Sunday's Marathon and Half Marathon.

For the first time, runners who finished Saturday's 5K and either Sunday's marathon or half marathon received a third medal for the "double medal" challenge.

The marathon is sponsored by Chevron, and the half marathon is sponsored by Aramco.

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