It was a special day for American women’s distance running in Houston this Sunday. After Sara Hall broke the American women’s half-marathon record in 1:07:15, Keira D’Amato broke the 16-year-old marathon record, set by all-time great Deena Kastor at 2:19:36 in 2006. D’Amatao won the race in 2:19:12, lowering Kastor’s record by more than 30 seconds.
Keira D'Amato runs 2:19:12 to win the Houston Marathon and break Deena Kastor's 16-year-old American record of 2:19:36.
One of the most incredible stories in distance running history. Took essentially 7 years off in the middle of her career. Now owns an iconic American record. pic.twitter.com/XutrBniAHm
— Jonathan Gault (@jgault13) January 16, 2022
“I can’t believe this,” D’Amato said in a post-race interview. “I’m really, really happy.” The 37-year-old had an up-and-down year in 2021 but closed out the year on a high note, winning the U.S. half-marathon championships, smashing the course record in 1:07:55. Coming into the race on Sunday, D’Amato had a personal best of 2:22:56 from December 2020, but told LetsRun ahead of the race that she felt she was much fitter than that and was ready to go after Kastor’s record.
What makes her result even more incredible is that she took nearly seven years off in the middle of her career. She only resumed an elite career in 2019, and made history in Houston on Sunday, receiving a hug from her young son after crossing the finish line. “I’m really tired but I’m really, really happy…I just feel like dreams come true, you know?” she said after the race.
The U.K.’s Alice Wright finished 10 minutes behind D’Amato in second place in 2:29:08, neck-and-neck with American Maggie Montoya who also ran 2:20:08 for third place.
The men’s race
Congrats to James Ngandu for crossing the finish line first in the 50th @HoustonMarathon with a time of 2:11:03. This is James first Houston Marathon. #RunHou #houstonmarathon pic.twitter.com/yW957IV3md
— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) January 16, 2022
In his debut marathon, Kenyan James Ngandu won the race in 2:11:03. Ngandu is a 13-time Division II All-American cross-country and track and field runner who competed for Tiffin University in Ohio, but this is his first crack at the 42.2km distance. He was followed by Bahrain’s Abdi Abdo in second in 2:11:11 and Kenya’s Elisha Barno in 2:11:16.
For full results, click here.