Birhanu Gedefa, Yebrgual Arage win Chevron Houston Marathon for Ethiopia sweep

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.

Houston Marathon champion Birhanu Gedefa of Ethiopia hugs wife Sechale Dalasa after she finished fourth in the women's marathon during the Houston Marathon, Sunday, January 18, 2015 in Houston.
Houston Marathon champion Birhanu Gedefa of Ethiopia hugs wife Sechale Dalasa after she finished fourth in the women’s marathon during the Houston Marathon, Sunday, January 18, 2015 in Houston.

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.

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