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Emily Sisson breaks her own American record in the 2023 Houston Half Marathon

Ethiopia's Hiwot Gibremaryam took the win in the women's half-marathon, while Emily Sisson took 19 seconds off her own U.S. record

Bank of America Chicago Marathon © 2022 Bank of America Chicago Marathon/Kevin Morris

Sunday’s warm weather set a heated pace for more than 28,000 runners in the Aramco Houston Half and the Chevron Houston Marathon, resulting in some exciting finishes in both events and a new American record in the half marathon by Emily Sisson.

Houston is known for a fast course, and in 2022 Keira D’Amato broke the American record in the women’s marathon, and Sara Hall took the American record in the women’s half marathon (both were also broken again by Sisson in 2022).

Women’s half-marathon

Ethiopian runner Hiwot Gebremaryam broke away from the field early on in the race, and set off at a blistering pace, hitting the 5K mark in 15:14 (4:54 per mile). Gebremaryam couldn’t maintain the heated pace and slowed in the latter stages of the race, breaking the tape in 66:28 (a PB), while American marathon record holder Sisson stormed to try to close the gap.

Sisson did edge slightly up on Gibrmaryam, coming from 29 seconds back mid-race to 24 seconds at the finish, but finished second, clocking 66:52 to break her own record by 19 seconds. U.K. runner Jessica Warner-Judd rounded out the podium in 67:19.

Leslie Sexton was the top Canadian woman in the race, finishing in 17th place with a 72:05 finish.  “Low 72, that’s about where my fitness is right now, Sexton said post-race.”I still haven’t felt really great since Worlds [championships, in July].”

Leslie Sexton 2023 Houston half
Photo courtesy of Alan Brookes

Non-binary half-marathon results

An American trio took the podium in the non-binary genderqueer category, with Sam Bruns breaking the tape in 1:24:30. Bruns was followed by Winter Parts in 1:26:55, and Andrea Werth in 1:55:20.

Women’s marathon

The women’s race saw another impressive run, with Japan’s Hitomi Niiya winning in 2:19:24, more than six minutes ahead of the runner-up. Niiya, a favourite heading into the event, narrowly missed taking the Japanese marathon record.

While second-place finisher, Ethiopia’s Muliye Dekebo Haylemariyam led until close to the half, Niiya gradually overtook her. Niiya held her strong pace and was on track to break the Japanese record (2:19:12) but missed it by a mere 12 seconds. Niiya was followed in by Haylemariyam in 2:25:35, and fellow Ethiopian runner Sintayehu Lewetegn rounded out the podium in 2:26:33.

The top Canadian in the marathon was Kinsey Middleton, who ran to fifth place in 2:29:22, a new personal best. “That was a tough one. It’s not what I was hoping for but it’s OK. A PB. I’ve been battling a glute issue. A solid start to the year,” Middleton said post-race.

Kinsey Middleton 2023 Houston Marathon
Photo courtesy of Alan Brookes

Non-binary marathon results

American runner Katy Price was the only competitor in the the non-binary category, and finished in 4:19:52.

For a full list of results, head here.

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