The Houston Half-Marathon took place Sunday morning as part of the Houston Marathon weekend, and Rory Linkletter lowered Jeff Schiebler’s 23-year-old Canadian half-marathon record of 61:28, crossing the finish line in 61:08 for eighth place. His compatriot, Ben Flanagan, was only half a minute behind him, finishing 12th in 61:38.
Thank you Ben, there will be plenty more battles on the roads! https://t.co/jCdqlE256D
— Rory Linkletter (@ThePapaLinks) January 16, 2022
Going into the race, both athletes had their eyes on Schiebler’s record, which hasn’t been touched in more than two decades. Linkletter recently left the NAZ Elite track club to train with American Marathon record-holder, Ryan Hall, citing stagnation in training as his reason for making the change. His decision seems to have paid off, and he ran a huge PB Sunday morning to become the new Canadian record-holder. The 25-year-old’s previous record of 61:44 was also run on the Houston course just last year.
Linkletter has enjoyed plenty of success lately, and his most recent result was a second-place finish at the California International Marathon in a new personal best time of 2:12:52.
Flanagan was also on the hunt for the Canadian record this Sunday, and came agonizingly close, running just 10 seconds behind Schiebler’s time. The 27-year-old has also had a lot of success recently, winning the Canadian 10K championships in Toronto in October and taking the title in the Manchester Road Race in November. “I am looking forward to competing,” he told Canadian Running ahead of the race. “The plan is to run conservatively to tackle the Canadian record. It’s engraved in my head.”
Ben Flanagan with a dominant win in the men's race as well. 21:22 for the Canadian for 4.748 miles. pic.twitter.com/kabcbJQ58P
— Jonathan Gault (@jgault13) November 25, 2021
While he didn’t achieve his goal, Flanagan ran a very strong race and we will have plenty more opportunities to watch Flanagan on the roads. He will be running a few 5,000m and 10,000m races this spring to secure a spot on Team Canada at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Ore., but tells us that he will be stepping up to the marathon in hopes of qualifying for the Paris 2022 Olympics.
Ethiopia’s Milkesa Tolosa won the race in 1:00:24, followed by Kenya’s John Korir in second in 1:00:27 and Wilfred Kimitei of the U.K. in third in 1:00:44.
The women’s race
On the women’s side, Canadian Emily Setlack ran 1:12:48 for 20th place, just over one minute behind her personal best of 1:11:40, which she set in Houston last year. She lined up with a very strong field, including Sara Hall, who holds the second-fasted marathon time in American history, and Nell Rojas, who was the top American finisher at last year’s Boston Marathon. Vicoty Chepngeno of Kenya won the race in 1:05:03 and Hall finished second in 1:07:15, a new American record. Dominique Scott was third in 1:07:32.