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HOUSTON – 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.