Geoff Martinson and Natasha Wodak, both of Vancouver, were the first Canadians to cross the finish line of the 2018 Houston Half-Marathon.

Wodak was the 13th overall female finisher, stopping the clock at 1:11:31 – ten seconds shy of her personal best. Martinson, running for the BC Endurance Project raced to 33rd place overall in a PB of 1:03:38.

Both these marks are well under Athletics Canada standards of 1:06:00 (men) and 1:16:00 (women) needed to qualify for the 2018 IAAF World Half-Marathon Championship team.

Aramco Houston Half-Marathon, Houston, TX; Jan 14. © Mike Scott 2018.

Posted by Michael Scott on Sunday, January 14, 2018

A number of Canadians on both the men’s and women’s side dipped under that time standard.

Evan Esselink of Guelph, Ont. (1:04:08) and Rachel Cliff of Vancouver (1:11:52) were the second Canadians to cross the finish line and both set PBs. Cliff won the Pioneer 8K on Vancouver Island last weekend.

Aramco Houston Half-Marathon, Houston, TX; Jan 14. © Mike Scott 2018.

Posted by Michael Scott on Sunday, January 14, 2018

Cam Levins, the 2012 Olympian in the 5,000m and 10,000m and former Canadian 10,000m record holder, who has spent most of 2017 recovering from surgery, cruised to a 1:05:00 finish, a PB performance. Sunday marked Levins’s first race representing Hoka One One.

Aramco Houston Half-Marathon, Houston, TX; Jan 14. © Mike Scott 2018.

Posted by Michael Scott on Sunday, January 14, 2018

Emily Setlack, racing for Saucony, stopped the clock at 1:13:59, and was the 4th Canadian female.

Blair Morgan, 24, was one of the youngest Canadian athletes under standard. He clocked 1:05:06.

Recently back from his trip to Kenya, where he was doing work and raising money for Kenyan and Rwandan children, Yves Sikubwabo posted a PB of 1:05:37.

The race saw overall fast times from runners coming from all parts of the world. Ruti Aga of Ethiopia (1:06:39) and Jake Robertson of New Zealand (1:00:01) were the top female and male finishers, respectively.

Molly Huddle, racing for Saucony, set a new American record of 1:07:25. This clocking eclipsed Deena Kastor’s previous mark of 1:07:34.

Aramco Houston Half-Marathon, Houston, TX; Jan 14. © Mike Scott 2018.

Posted by Michael Scott on Sunday, January 14, 2018

Though the race saw many fast times, two of Canada’s top marathoners did not have their best day. Reid Coolsaet, dealing with stomach issues, finished the race in a time of 1:14:18.

Leslie Sexton, the 2017 Canadian marathon champion, had to drop out, due to an asthma attack.

Six Canadian men and seven Canadian women dipped under World Half-Marathon Championship standard, bringing the total number of athletes under standard to nine men and 16 women. Athletics Canada will name a maximum of four men and four women to the IAAF World Half-Marathon Championship team. The team will be selected and the announcement will be made on Feb. 1.

Full results of Canadian elites

Men

Geoff Martinson 1:03:38
Evan Esselink 1:04:08
Cameron Levins 1:05.00
Sami Jibril 1:05.06
Blair Morgan 1:05:06
Yves Sikubwabo 1:05.37
Kevin Blackney 1:05:43
Thomas Toth 1:06:59
Colin Fewer 1:06:51
Reid Coolsaet 1:14:18

Women

Natasha Wodak 1:11:31
Rachel Cliff 1:11:52
Kinsey Middleton 1:12:30
Emily Setback 1:13:59
Lyndsay Tessier 1:14:29
Cleo Boyd 1:15:46
Melanie Myrand 1:15:50
Shelley Doucet 1:17:10

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