Canadian takeover in Texas for the Houston Marathon

A large contingent of Canadians will be competing this weekend at the Houston Marathon and Half-Marathon, one of the year's first big races.

Houston Marathon

A huge contingency of Canadian distance runners are assembling in Texas this weekend for Sunday’s Chevron Houston Marathon and the Aramco Houston Half-Marathon.

Schedule (Jan. 17)

6:45 a.m. CST: Marathon & Half Wheelchair Start
7 a.m. CST: Marathon & Half Marathon Start

Canadians on the official elite start list

Brandon Lord (Half)
Rob Watson (Half)
Krista Duchene (Half)
Rachel Hannah (Full)
Dayna Pidhoresky (Full)

The race will be televised live on ESPN3 and ABC13.

Many Canadian half-marathon athletes will be looking for a spot on the Athletics Canada team for the IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships in Cardiff, Wales on March 26.

The standard for men is 1:06:00 and 1:16:00 for women with the top-three athletes (in each gender) expected to make the team.

RELATED: Five Canadians announced as part of elite field for Houston Marathon.

In the Houston Marathon field, Dayna Pidhoresky (1:11:45 half) will be debuting at the 42.2K distance and will be joined on the line by Pan Am Games marathon bronze medallist Rachel Hannah.

“I am not going to be shy about saying that my goal is to run under the Canadian Olympic qualifying standard of 2:29:50,” wrote Pidhoresky in her blog. “I know it might be a tough thing to reach for in a debut but that won’t stop me from trying.”

Rob Watson is coming off a win at the Pioneer 8K last weekend and is the victor of three straight road wins dating back to the Fall Classic in Vancouver and more recently, the Boxing Day 10-Miler in Hamilton, Ont.

Watson’s training partner for much of the fall, Brandon Lord, will also contest the half-marathon (Mo Ahmed was previously set to compete but has since withdrawn).

Houston Marathon
Current Canadian half-marathon rankings (as of Jan. 14).

Krista Duchene will headline the Canadian women competing in the half-marathon on Sunday morning and will be looking to earn a berth to the half-marathon world championships.

“Earning a spot on the World Half Marathon Championship team would be incredible,” wrote Duchene in her blog.

Duchene already has the Olympic marathon standard after running 2:29:37 (under the 2:29:50 standard) at the Rotterdam Marathon last April.

Other Canadian athletes expected to compete on the weekend include Erin Burrett (half), Robert Winslow (half), John Mason (half), Sami Jibril (half), and Adam Hortian (half), the latter two reported by Athletics Canada (AC) Road (see below tweet).

Houston sunset with these kids @daynapid @joshseifarth #Houston #texas

A photo posted by Erin Burrett (@west_coast_runner) on

Ethiopia’s Birhanu Gedefa and Bazu Worku, the winners of the previous three Houston Marathons, are the favourites in the men’s field.

Guteni Shone, who set a lifetime best by seven minutes to finish second in Houston last year, will challenge for the title on the women’s side.

Full start list

Men’s Houston Marathon:

Ben Ashkettle (New Zealand)
Yitayal Atanfu (Ethiopia)
Girmay Birhanu Gebru (Ethiopia)
Sage Canaday (USA)
Steve Chu (USA)
Thomas Frazer (Ireland)
Birhanu Gedefa (Ethiopia)
Jovanny Godinez (USA)
Artur Kozlpwski (Poland)
Duncan Kwemboi (Ethiopia)
Mario Macias (USA)
Daniel Mesfun (Eritrea)
Pardon Ndhlovu (Zimbabwe)
Dominic Ondoro (Kenya)
Bazu Worku (Ethiopia)

Women’s Houston Marathon:

Polina Carlson (Russia)*
Ayantu Dakebo (Ethiopia)
Sechale Dalasa (Ethiopia)
Jovana De La Cruz (Peru)
Biruktait Degefa (Ethiopia)
Rachel Hannah (Canada)
Ariana Hilborn (Latvia)
Liina Luik (Estonia)
Leila Luik (Estonia)
Faviola Perez Igari (Mexico)
Dayna Pidhoresky (Canada)
Emily Samoei (Kenya)
Guteni Shone (Ethiopia)
Lisa Weightman (Australia)

*Has no affiliation with Russian Athletic Federation and is clear to compete.

Men’s Houston Half-Marathon:

Mo Ahmed (Canada)(Note: No longer racing)
George Alex (USA)
Tom Anderson (Great Britain)
Kyle Brady (USA)
Sylas Chebogel (Kenya)
Josh Dedering (USA)
Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia)
Jeffrey Eggleston (USA)
Diego Estrada (USA)
Ben Fletcher (USA)
Tanner Fruit (USA)
Samson Gebreyohannes (Eritrea)
Abdi Ali Gelchu (Ethiopia)
Mosinet Geremew (Ethiopia)
Patrick Gomez (USA)
Griffith Graves (USA)
Mo Hrezi (USA)
Cory Keehn (USA)
Sean Keveren (USA)
Craig Leon (USA)
Brandon Lord (Canada)
Nelson Mokori Oyugi (Kenya)
Tommy Neal (USA)
Ben Payne (USA)
Luke Puskedra (USA)
Phillip Reid (USA)
Patrick Rizzo (USA)
Biya Simbassa (USA)
Ismail Ssenyange (Uganda)
Christian Thomspon (USA)
Carlos Trujillo (USA)
Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya)
Rob Watson (Canada)
Matt Williams (USA)
Jason Witt (USA)

Women’s Houston Half-Marathon:

Ruti Aga (Ethiopia)
Obsie Birru (USA)
Juliet Bottoroff (USA)
Serena Burla (USA)
Buzunesh Deba (Ethiopia)
Misiker Demissie (Ethiopia)
Colleen De Reuck (USA)
Mare Dibaba (Ethiopia)
Krista Duchene (Canada)
Lindsay Flanagan (USA)
Emily Gordon (USA)
Alia Gray (USA)
Maegan Krifchin (USA)
Cynthia Limo (Kenya)
Katie Matthews (USA)
Samantha McClellan (USA)
Katy Moen (USA)
Sarah Pagano (USA)
Meghan Peyton (USA)
Simret Restle (Germany)
Jen Rhines (USA)
Mona Stockhecke (Germany)
Susanna Sullivan (USA)
Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton (Kenya)
Mary Wacera (Kenya)
Katherine Ward (USA)
Jessica Watychowicz (USA)
Anna Weber (USA)
Nazret Weldu (Eritrea)
Kelly Williamson (USA)