Natasha Wodak was the first Canadian woman across the line Sunday morning at the Houston half-marathon. Wodak was the 10th female, finishing in 1:10:33, which is a 47 seconds personal best and just 25 seconds off of Rachel Cliff’s Canadian record of 1:10:08 set early last year.
— alan brookes, CRS (@alnbrookes) January 20, 2019
Wodak went into Sunday’s race with a more aggressive race plan than usual, hoping to run a personal best. She said on Tuesday, “Usually I start off conservatively, but this weekend I want to be a little more aggressive. I’ve gone out too hard before and that can be really difficult, but Houston is a fast course and I want to go for it.” Her gamble paid off and brought her to her fastest half to date.
American Emily Sisson finished only five seconds off Molly Huddle’s American record of 1:07:25. Sisson finished fifth behind Monicah Ngige (1:07:29), Ruti Aga (1:06:56), Fancy Chemutai (1:06:48), and 2018 Chicago Marathon winner Brigid Kosgei in 1:05:50. Kosgei’s time is an unofficial USA all-comers record, shattering the previous record held by Mary Wacera of Kenya in 1:06:29.
Sisson has also announced that she will be making her marathon debut this spring in London. Some predict that Sisson’s marathon debut could be one of the fastest in American history, and if her half is any indication, she has a bright future at 42.2K. Huddle, who ran her marathon debut at New York in 2018 in 2:26:44, will also be in London and hoping to run faster.
Despite chilly and windy weather, the Canadian women had a great showing. Dayna Pidhoresky was the second Canadian woman across the line in 1:12:59, just off her official personal best of 1:12:38 (she ran a 1:11:46 in 2011 but not in an IAAF legal race). Robyn Mildren followed her in 1:13:21. Canadian M40 marathon record holder Lyndsay Tessier was the fourth Canadian woman across the line in 1:13:54, which is a 35-second personal best. Recent Queen’s graduate and current medical school student Claire Sumner ran 1:14:48 and was the fifth Canadian woman across the line. Complete results can be found here.
The marathon is currently underway. Sasha Gollish is running her marathon debut and Kara Goucher is running her first marathon in nearly three years. Results to follow.