Kitata wins Houston half, Esselink gets huge PB

2018 WSER champ Jim Walmsley qualifies for US Olympic marathon trials

January 20th, 2019 by | Posted in Runs & Races | Tags: , , , ,

The top three men finished within seven seconds of each other at this morning’s Houston Half-Marathon. Shura Kitata of Ethiopia was the winner, with a time of 60 minutes 11 seconds. His countryman Jemal Yimer followed in 60:14 and Kenya’s Bedan Karoki Muchiri in 60:18. (Kitata finished second in both the London and New York City Marathons in 2018, and will return to London this year.)

RELATED: The impending Canadian men’s showdown at Houston Marathon Weekend

Canada’s Evan Esselink was the top Canadian this morning, finishing in 14th position with a time of 62:17–49 seconds off the Canadian record of 61:28, set by Jeff Schiebler in 1999. (Only Canadian marathon record-holder Cam Levins ran faster in 2018, with a 62:15 at the half-marathon world championships in Valencia.) Chris Balestrini was the second Canadian, in 65:30, and Adam Hortian third Canadian, in 66:46.

Many eyes were on Jim Walmsley of Arizona, who set the course record at last year’s Western States Endurance Run, the iconic 100-mile trail race in California. It’s rare for trail runners to step outside their discipline (and the reverse is even rarer). Walmsley ran 64:00 flat today, exactly the time (to the second) that he needed to qualify for the US Olympic marathon trials. “The half-marathon is a test of your threshold pace, which isn’t used much, if at all, in an ultra,” Walmsley told Outside magazine in a Jan. 18 story. “A half-marathon time would show a lot more versatility and hopefully spark more excitement and interest into what that means translating to a marathon.” 

Evan Esselink in 2018. Photo: Run Waterloo/Flickr.

For full results, click here

Women’s results will be covered in a separate story.

Full marathon results to come.