In a spectacular sprint finish, U.S. Army runner Leonard Korir edged out Olympic silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa for a victory at the Houston Half Marathon.
It’s Korir’s second major win in two weeks, as he beat Mo Farah and a slew of top Americans in a cross country 8K in Edinburgh last Saturday. Korir and Lilesa both ran 61:14. For most of the last four miles, they were in a pack of four with Hiskel Ghebru and Fikadu Tsadik of Ethiopia. That quartet was together until maybe 300 meters to go, when Lilesa made the first move. But Korir was able to cover the move, and as the two jostled over the last 10 meters, Korir crossed in front.
After Korir covered Lilesa’s move, he put his right hand on Lilesa’s hip in order to stay on his feet, then never gave up his miniscule lead. Both celebrated as they crossed but it was clear that Korir won. Watch: Less than ten minutes later, Jordan Hasay crossed in 68:40 in fourth place.
Veronicah Nyaruai won the women’s race in 67:58. Hasay is now the sixth fastest American ever on a record-legal course, behind only legends Deena Kastor, Molly Huddle, Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan, and Joan Samuelson. There was an amusing moment on the broadcast as Goucher, who was commentating said that Hasay’s time was the fastest American debut ever–before correcting herself and realizing that she actually still has the fastest American debut ever.
Hasay’s clocking was particularly impressive, as the humidity inched up to 99% over the course of the morning in Houston. Korir’s win was worth $21,000–$20K for the win plus another thousand for breaking 62 minutes. Hasay’s fourth-place finish earned her $3,000.