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HOUSTON (January 7, 2020) – The Houston Marathon Committee (HMC) announced today a stellar elite field for the forty-eighth running of the Chevron Houston Marathon and the eighteenth Aramco Houston Half Marathon events taking place on Jan. 19, 2020.

For the first year ever in HMC history, both the Chevron Houston Marathon and the Aramco Houston Half Marathon are World Athletic Gold Label events. This makes Houston home to the only Gold Label marathon and half marathon events in the United States, as well as the only Gold Label marathon and half marathon events in the world that are hosted on the same day. This status is awarded by meeting several criteria with the caliber of the elite field playing a major role.

“The awarding of gold label status marks the culmination of many years of dedication to the elite athletes in our sport,” said Chevron Houston Marathon Race Director and Board President Brant Kotch. “We are proud to showcase our support of these athletes through this recognition and feel it further emphasizes our commitment to clean sport.”

Returning Champions
The Chevron Houston Marathon welcomes back defending 2019 women's champion Biruktayit Degefa, where she will try to become the only woman to break the tape in Houston four times. The Aramco Houston Half Marathon returns three former champions; 2018 female champion Ruti Aga, and past male winners; Shura Kitata (defending 2019 champion) and Jake Robertson (2018).

Elite Field as of Jan. 7, 2020

Men's Marathon  

Citizenship 

Personal Best 

Woldaregay 

Kelkile Gezahegn 

ETH 

2:05:56 

Hassan 

El Abbassi 

BRN 

2:04:43 

John 

Langat 

KEN 

2:07:11 

Benson 

Seurei 

BRN 

2:07:37 

Dominic 

Ondoro 

KEN 

2:08:51 

Abdi 

Ibrahim Abdo 

BRN 

2:08:32 

Paul 

Maina 

KEN 

2:08:49 

Bonsa 

Dida 

ETH 

2:09:04 

Tsegay 

Tuemay 

ERI 

2:09:07 

Tariku 

Bekele 

ETH 

2:09:30 

Belay 

Tilahun Bezabeh 

ETH 

DEBUT 

Stephen 

Scullion 

IRE 

2:12:01 

Birhanu 

Dare 

KEN 

2:12:21 

Mark 

Lokwanamoi 

KEN 

2:08:39 

Alexis 

Nizeyimana 

TAN 

2:13:06 

Jose 

Antonio Uribe Marino 

MEX 

2:14:45 

Craig 

Hunt 

USA 

2:15:29 

Rory 

Tunningley 

USA 

2:16:25 

Tony 

Migliozzi 

USA 

2:16:44 

Dylan 

Belles 

USA 

2:16:59 

Thomas 

Puzey 

USA 

2:18:20 

Michael 

Roeger 

AUS 

2:23:31 

Dan 

Harper 

USA 

2:17:32 

Amanuel 

Mesel 

ETH 

2:08:17 



Women's Marathon 

Citizenship 

Personal Best 

Bruktayit 

Degefa Eshetu 

ETH 

2:22:40 

Askale 

Merachi 

ETH 

2:24:13 

Shuko 

Wote Genemo 

ETH 

2:24:28 

Muluhabt 

Tsega 

ETH 

2:25:48 

Belaynesh 

Fikadu 

ETH 

2:26:41 

Meseret 

Belete 

ETH 

2:26:56 

Milliam 

Ebongon 

KEN 

2:27:16 

Bekelech 

Gudeta 

ETH 

2:27:40 

Sechale 

Dalasa 

ETH 

2:28:46 

Alexi 

Pappas 

GRC 

2:43:38 

Ayantu 

Dakebo Hailemaryam 

ETH 

2:30:06 

Malindi 

Elmore 

CAN 

2:32:15 

Hiruni 

Wijayaratne 

LKA 

2:34:10 

Adriana 

Nelson-Pirtea 

USA 

2:35:45 

Natasha 

LaBeaud 

CAN 

2:37:11 

Dylan 

Hassett 

IRE 

2:39:55 

Brenda 

Flores Munoz 

MEX 

DEBUT 

Neely 

Spence-Gracey 

USA 

2:34:55 

Anne 

Johnston 

CAN 

2:43:02 

Andrea 

Soraya Limon 

MEX 

DEBUT 

Ursula 

Sanchez 

MEX 

DEBUT 


 

Men's Half Marathon 

Citizenship 

Personal Best 

Tola Shura 

Kitata 

ETH 

59:16:00 

Jake 

Robertson 

NZ 

59:58:00 

Bernard 

Kipkorir Ngeno 

KEN 

59:07:00 

Andamlak 

Belihu Berta 

ETH 

59:10:00 

Jemal 

Yimer Mekonnen 

ETH 

58:33:00 

Abel 

Kipchumba 

KEN 

59:29:00 

Shadrack 

Kimining Korir 

KEN 

59:32:00 

Philemon 

Kiplimo 

KEN 

59:57:00 

Gabriel 

Gerald Geay 

TAN 

1:00:26 

Jared 

Ward 

USA 

1:01:42 

Sam 

Chelanga 

USA 

1:00:37 

Diego 

Estrada 

USA 

1:00:51 

Bethwel 

Yegon 

KEN 

1:00:57 

Shadrack 

Biwott 

USA 

1:01:25 

Reed 

Fischer 

USA 

1:02:06 

Matt 

Llano 

USA 

1:01:47 

James 

Ngandu 

KEN 

1:01:51 

Jerrell 

Mock 

USA 

1:02:15 

Cameron 

Levins 

CAN 

1:02:15 

Dominic 

Korir 

KEN 

1:02:17 

Andrew 

Colley 

USA 

1:02:24 

Willie 

Milam 

USA 

1:02:26 

John 

Raneri 

USA 

1:02:31 

Futsum 

Zeinasellassie 

USA 

1:02:33 

Matthew 

McClintock 

USA 

1:02:34 

Brogan 

Austin 

USA 

1:02:39 

Alex 

Monroe 

USA 

1:02:44 

Luis 

Alberto Orta 

VEN 

1:03:09 

Louis 

Serafini 

USA 

1:03:14 

Andrew 

Epperson 

USA 

1:03:17 

Kevin 

Lewis 

USA 

1:03:26 

Tyler 

Jermann 

USA 

1:03:31 

Clayton 

Young 

USA 

1:03:40 

Danny 

Docherty 

USA 

1:03:47 

Kai 

Takeshita 

JAP 

1:03:53 

Tyler 

Pennel 

USA 

1:04:06 

Daisuke 

Momozawa 

JAP 

1:04:09 

Matt 

Leach 

GBR 

1:04:21 

Raymond 

Magut 

KEN 

1:04:22 

Juan 

Paredes 

USA 

1:05:09 

Grant 

Fischer 

USA 

1:05:26 

Rory 

Linkletter 

CAN 

DEBUT 

Joel 

Reichow 

USA 

DEBUT 

Andrew 

Leach 

USA 

 


 

Women's Half Marathon 

Citizenship 

Personal Best 

Caroline 

Chepkoech Kipkirui 

KEN 

1:05:07 

Lonah 

Chemtai Salpeter 

ISR 

1:06:09 

Gelete 

Burka 

ETH 

1:06:11 

Dorcas 

Jepchirchir Tuitoek 

KEN 

1:06:33 

Ruti 

Aga 

ETH 

1:06:39 

Brillian 

Jepkorir Kipkoech 

KEN 

1:07:12 

Molly 

Huddle 

USA 

1:07:25 

Jordan 

Hasay 

USA 

1:07:55 

Sara 

Hall 

USA 

1:09:27 

Hitomi 

Niiya 

JAP 

1:11:41 

Monicah 

Ngige Wanjuhi 

KEN 

1:07:29 

Dorcas 

Kimeli 

KEN 

1:07:44 

Caroline 

Rotich 

KEN 

1:08:52 

Gotytom 

Gebreslase 

ETH 

1:08:58 

Aliphine 

Tuliamuk 

USA 

1:09:16 

Rachel 

Cliff 

CAN 

1:10:08 

Laura 

Thweatt 

USA 

1:10:17 

Katy 

Jermann 

USA 

1:10:27 

Molly 

Seidel 

USA 

1:10:27 

Natasha 

Wodak 

CAN 

1:10:33 

Elaina 

Tabb 

USA 

1:10:44 

Bethany 

Sachtleben 

USA 

1:10:44 

Stephanie 

Twell 

GBR 

1:10:52 

Becky 

Wade 

USA 

1:11:15 

Dayna 

Pidhoresky 

CAN 

1:11:46 

Lindsay 

Flanagan 

USA 

1:12:05 

Sarah 

Inglis 

GBR 

1:12:23 

Samantha 

Bluske 

USA 

1:12:32 

Jessica 

Watychovicz 

USA 

1:12:35 

Alexis 

Zeis 

USA 

1:12:43 

Jennifer 

Bergman 

USA 

1:13:15 

Molly 

Grabill 

USA 

1:13:19 

Allison 

Cleaver 

USA 

1:13:21 

Keira 

D'Amato 

USA 

1:13:32 

Maggie 

Montoya 

USA 

1:13:33 

Dakotah 

Lindwurm 

USA 

1:13:39 

Kelsey 

Bruce 

USA 

1:13:41 

Valerie 

Sanchez 

USA 

1:13:44 

Julia 

Kohnen 

USA 

1:13:47 

Meghan 

Armstrong-Peyton 

USA 

1:13:56 

Nell 

Rojas 

USA 

1:14:17 

Emily 

Durgin 

USA 

DEBUT 

Annie 

Frisbie 

USA 

DEBUT 

 


Prize Purse 

The 2020 Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Marathon will continue to award prize money to the top eight finishers in all four races. A total of $291,000 in guaranteed prize money will be awarded, including a $45,000 first place payout for both the men’s and women’s champions at the 2020 Chevron Houston Marathon and a $20,000 first place payout for both the men’s and women’s champions at the 2020 Aramco Houston Half Marathon. 

For a complete list of prize money please visit: www.chevronhoustonmarathon.com/participants/elites/ 

  

Additional Athlete Stories of Interest 

Chevron Houston Marathon  

  • Thomas Rivers Puzey - The outlier story of the 2019 Chevron Houston Marathon, Puzey returns to Houston with unfinished business. After pacing through the 30K of 2019’s race on track to run 2:14, the wheels came off for Puzey. He managed to stumble across the finish line with an official finish time of 2:20:19 and a trip to the medic. He will undoubtably again push himself to his limits. 

  • Biruktayit Degefa has an opportunity to make history in her seventh consecutive appearance – if she wins, she will be the first athlete in Houston Marathon history, male or female, to win the race four times. In 2019, she became just the third female in race history to win three times. Degefa started running marathons at age 19, and she is one of the most prolific elite runners competing today. Over the last decade, she has run an incredible 31 marathons (she ran six alone in 2014), landing on the podium 20 times and winning eight times. She returns this year as a favorite for the title, especially on the heels of her PR in Toronto, 2:22:40, to close out 2019.  

  • Alexi Pappas, a 2016 Olympian for Greece in the 10,000m (she holds dual Greek-American citizenship), arrives in Houston with a 2:43:38 marathon personal best, but possesses the talent to completely obliterate that time and run closer to the 2:29:30 Olympic standard that she needs to make it to Tokyo for another Olympic appearance. Pappas experienced an extraordinary Olympic debut performance in Rio. She set the Greek national 10,000m record and a new PR to finish 17th in 31:36.16. 

  • Neely Spence Gracey runs her first marathon post-pregnancy after welcoming a baby boy in July of 2018. She has her sights set on qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Trials, after injury and illness kept her from competing in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Trials. Prior to pregnancy, Neely won the 2016 Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon and then made her debut at the Boston Marathon. She finished in 2:35 – securing her spot as the top American, and ninth overall. After recovering from Boston, Neely won the Rock ‘n; Roll Chicago Half Marathon, and then closed out the year with an 8th place finish, (2nd American behind Molly Huddle), at the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon (2:34).   

 

Aramco Houston Half Marathon 

  • Shura Kitata will look to defend his 2019 title on the heels of his fifth-place finish at the New York City Marathon just a few short months ago. He will be facing several of the same challengers from the 2019 Aramco Houston Half Marathon, so if past precedent remains the same, we are sure to see a fast and competitive race from the gun.   

  • Jake Robertson, 2018 Aramco Houston Half Marathon Champion, returns to Houston after a troubled 2019 fighting injury and rebuilding. After winning in Houston, he went on to win a competitive Beach to Beacon 10K and finished out the year with a fifth-place finish at the Toronto Marathon in 2018 but hasn’t toed the start line in over a year. All eyes will be watching to see his return to the racing scene.   

  • Ruti Aga – Aga returns to familiar territory in Houston as the 2018 Women’s Champion of the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. Her finishing time of 1:06:39 from the race remains her personal best. Aga is certain to be in the lead pack vying for the win once again.   

  • Molly Huddle – The Women’s American Half Marathon Record Holder, Huddle returns to Houston and the course she set the current standard of 1:07:25 on to test her fitness going into the 2020 Olympic Trials in February. She currently lives and trains in Providence, Rhode Island with her husband Kurt Benninger and Coach Ray Treacy.   

  • Jordan Hasay – With a marathon PR of 2:20:57 and now working alongside Coaching Advisor, Paula Radcliffe, Hasay is a favorite to make the U.S. Women’s Marathon Team for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. After a string of hamstring injuries that left Hasay on the sidelines for most of the past year, she comes to Houston as part of her final build to gauge her fitness heading into the Olympic Trials in Atlanta next month.  

  • Sarah Hall - Hall enters the 2020 season with her eyes set on making a third U.S. Olympic team. On the heels of a massive marathon PR of 2:20:16 in Berlin last year, Houston will be a preview of her fitness level and her future in 2020.

Athlete Development Program 

The 2020 Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon boasts the largest Athlete Development Program field in the history of the events. More than 450 runners have met the qualifying standard to be categorized in this field where many will make their last attempt at achieving the Olympic Trials Qualifying standard to compete in Atlanta in a mere six weeks.  

To request interviews with any of these athletes please contact Director of Marketing, Media & Brand - Muffy King at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

About the Houston Marathon Committee, Inc.    
Established in 1972, the Houston Marathon Committee, Inc. (HMC) is a founding member of Running USA and annually organizes the nation’s premier winter marathon, half-marathon and 5K. Over 300,000 participants, volunteers and spectators make Chevron Houston Marathon Race Day the largest single-day sporting event in Houston. Recognized by World Athletics, the Gold Label Chevron Houston Marathon has been the race site for three U.S. Olympic Trials Marathons and the Gold Label Aramco Houston Half Marathon has held 16 U.S. Half Marathon Championships. For eight consecutive years, the events have garnered Gold Certification from the Council of Responsible Sport and were also awarded the 2015 AIMS Green Award for industry-leading sustainability initiatives. Race Weekend generates over $50 million in economic impact for the region annually. In addition to its economic impact, the HMC facilitates social responsibility through its Run for a Reason Charity Program which has raised over $31 million since its inception and the Houston Marathon Foundation, which serves the greater Houston area through support of youth and community organizations that promote access to and participation in running. The event is televised annually national and international syndication airing on ESPN3 and the Longhorn Network. For more information, visit www.chevronhoustonmarathon.com or call 713.957.3453

 


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