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Keira D’Amato breaks American marathon record in Houston

D'Amato won the race in 2:19:12 to smash Deena Kastor's 16-year-old record

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.

Rory Linkletter breaks the Canadian half-marathon record

“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

Keira D’Amato signs with Nike

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.