Thursday, January 18, 2007

11.3% of Marathon Finishers Qualify for Boston

602 of the 5,332 Chevron Houston Marathon finishers (11.3%) posted finishing chip times that meet the qualifying standards for the 111th annual Boston Marathon in April.

Please note that this does not include runners whose age on the day of the running of the Boston Marathon may be in to the next age group, which would allow them additional minutes to qualify.

The per age group breakdown is as follows:

18-34 -- 91 men, 72 women
35-39 -- 48 men, 32 women
40-44 -- 65 men, 50 women
45-49 -- 75 men, 43 women
50-54 -- 52 men, 17 women
55-59 -- 24 men, 5 women
60-64 -- 12 men, 2 women
65-69 -- 7 men, 1 woman
70-74 -- 4 men
75-79 -- 2 men (only finishers in that age group!)

Total -- 380 men and 222 women

Top 15 Men's and Women's Marathon Times from Back Corral

Back corral bib numbers for the Chevron Houston Marathon were those with the numbers 4000 to 9999.

These are the top 15 men's and women's chip times from those runners with bib numbers that were in the back corral:

2:59:09 - Enrique Fernandez Reyes, 37, Mexico
3:10:31 - John Hill, 39, Kingwood
3:14:06 - Jason Johnston, 32, The Woodlands
3:18:27 - Richard MacNamee, 40, Houston
3:20:46 - Bruce Sharpe, 26, Houston
3:21:33 - Nicholas Smith, 28, Virginia Beach, Virginia
3:24:33 - Kurt Ramsauer, 26, Houston
3:25:54 - Edward Albrecht, 39, Pearland
3:26:27 - Christopher Ogolla, 36, Houston
3:29:07 - Joey Matoush, 29, The Woodlands
3:30:10 - Lee Barron, 59, Houston
3:30:59 - Andy Juneau, 47, Pineville, Louisiana
3:31:04 - Peter Kuck, 20, Oakrdige, Tennessee
3:31:43 - Mike Desa, 21, College Station
3:33:17 - Michael Heeney, 42, Houston

3:23:14 - Marby McKinney, 32, Dickinson
3:30:06 - Mariam Navarro Mancilla, 37, Mexico
3:32:17 - Emily Boozalis, 15, Houston
3:35:05 - Anna Hern, 26, Giddings
3:35:41 - Carrie Duke, 33, Houston
3:36:30 - Rosa Galvan, 34, Longview
3:36:40 - Brooke Sciuto, 25, North Bethesda, Maryland
3:36:48 - Lupita Rojas, 43, Laredo
3:38:09 - Kristin Magnussen, 25, Houston
3:38:39 - Natasha Burt, 34, Houston
3:39:34 - Colleen Waymel, 38, The Woodlands
3:39:49 - Chrissy Hill, 25, Houston
3:39:50 - Laura Barbieri, 27, Houston
3:41:12 - Cynthia Medwedeff-Blake, 53, Houston
3:42:03 - Diana Smirnova, 23, Pasadena, California

There were 45 runners in the back corral who had no chip difference - meaning that their chip more than likely didn't register on the starting mat.

Of the remaining 3,443 finishers who had "back corral" bib numbers, here are the numbers of runners and how long it took them to get across the starting mat:

Less than 1 minute -- 138
1:00 - 1:59 -- 521
2:00 - 2:59 -- 857
3:00 - 3:59 -- 867
4:00 - 4:59 -- 725
5:00 - 5:59 -- 286
6:00 - 6:59 -- 21
More than 7 minutes -- 28

An estimated 1,843 finishers had "front corral" bib numbers. 48 runners did not have any chip difference. These would consist of many of the elites and/or chip malfunctions.

Of the remaining 1,794, here are the numbers of runners and how long it took them to get across the starting mat:

Less than 1 minute -- 1,127
1:00 - 1:59 -- 509
2:00 - 2:59 -- 98
3:00 - 3:59 -- 33
4:00 - 4:59 -- 21
5:00 - 5:59 -- 6
6:00 - 6:59 -- 1
More than 7 minutes -- 1

Cantu Possibly Sets U.S. Single Age Half Marathon Record

Thanks to the always perceptive Dr. Bob Hoekman, HARRA's Medical Director, it would appear that Richmond's Ino Cantu on Sunday at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon may have established a new United States single age record in the half marathon.

Cantu's gun time of 1:39:14 has possibly bettered that mark of 1:40:13 set by Fred Ely of Trenton, New Jersey in the Philadelphia Distance Run on September 18, 1988, according to RunningUSA.

HARRA has submitted an e-mail on Ino's behalf to Ryan Lamppa with Running USA's Road Running Information Center. (Update: Ryan has forwarded the information on to Andy Carr, the USATF's LDR record keeper. I received word from Andy Carr on Thursday evening and have forwarded the certification forms to Steven Karpas with the Chevron Houston Marathon.)

I've also submitted information to Ken Young of the Association of Road Racing Statisticians (ARRS; to include Ino's performance on the all-time best in the world in this age group (70-74). His times from the past two years (2005, 1:39:45 and 2006, 1:37:30) would also make the list at the following link:

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New Single Age Half-Marathon Records

The following runners on Sunday set Aramco Houston Half Marathon single age records:

10 - Preston Pennington, Friendswood, 1:47:51
12 - Guilhem Hack, Houston, 1:41:07
15 - David Rubin, Kingwood, 1:22:02
17 - Maximo Mendoza, Pearland, 1:12:41
18 - Will Fairhurst, The Woodlands, 1:11:57
24 - Ryan Hall, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 59:43
26 - Fasil Bizuneh, Bristol, TN, 1:02:20
29 - Jason Lehmkuhle, Minneapolis, MN, 1:02:51
30 - Chad Johnson, Rochester Hills, MI, 1:04:01
31 - Meb Keflezighi, San Diego, CA, 1:02:22
47 - Kris Warszawski, Northville, MI, 1:16:47
48 - Kevin Haas, St. Louis Park, MN, 1:13:27
50 - Victor Salinas, Carrollton, 1:22:47
73 - Ino Cantu, Richmond, 1:39:14
75 - Thomas Bickham, Houston, 2:03:49

7 - Amy Shenk, Magnolia, 2:50:16 *youngest ever (in question according to post-race photos)
15 - Lauren Smith, Lake Jackson, 1:21:23
17 - Amie Uttecht, Houston, 1:30:48
26 - Kate O'Neill, Milton, MA, 1:11:47
27 - Zoila Gomez, Alamosa, CO, 1:13:49
28 - Ann Alyanak, Bellbrook, OH, 1:14:24
30 - Melisa Christian, Dallas, 1:17:19
32 - Rachel Kinsman, Archbold, OH, 1:15:13
35 - Elva Dryer, Gunnison, CO, 1:11:42
36 - Suzanne Weeder Einspahr, Seward, NE, 1:17:45
38 - Jenny Crain, Milwaukee, WI, 1:13:37
50 - Cynthia Woods, Bolingbrook, IL, 1:40:43
55 - Linda Kelly, Dallas, 1:38:38
59 - Phyllis Lemoncello, Houston, 1:40:52
70 - Kay Duplichan, Rockport, 2:13:39
71 - Virginia Mangum, Katy, 2:31:21
72 - Joanne McCain, Jewett, 3:26:01
82 - Wren Bump, Webster, 3:55:43 *oldest female ever


A Wisconsin Thanks From Top American Men's Finisher!

A Texas-size thanks to Houston for being such a great host! Staging a marathon is no small task and you guys made it appear about as easy as Ryan Hall makes clicking off 4:30 miles look. Impressive organization and top-notch hospitality. I had a great day, and I know I couldn't have done it without all the volunteers, spectators and race staff.

My biggest impression of the Houston community is that everyone there is very proud of their city. Most people are proud of their homes I guess, but the measure of a great city in my eyes is how the people there treat their guests. And I know I can speak for the rest of the US Athlete Development Program athletes when I say that we were given the royal treatment - and y'all have good reason to be proud of your community!

And, a special thanks to ... Steven Karpas who helped get the USADP approved by the Board of Directors, Race Director Brant Koch, the elite athlete team including Madeleine Bunch, David Chester, Kate Chester, Cindy Erickson, Bert Calabro, and the Stillwells - Katrina, Tom, and Tom's mom!

Thanks again and I hope to see you again next year.

Mike Reneau

14 Qualify For U.S. Olympic Trials

Fourteen athletes qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in Sunday's race.

In the marathon, five men broke the Olympic A standard by running under 2:20.

Michael Reneau, 28, Houlton, WI, 2:17:46
Steve Meinelt, 23, Washington, DC, 2:18:15
Mike Smith, 26, Flagstaff, AZ, 2:19:45
Ryan Meissen, 28, Whitewater, WI, 2:19:52
Matt Hooley, 24, Madison, WI, 2:19:58

Another five men qualified by running sub-2:22, the Olympic B standard.

Sean Wade, 40, Houston, TX, 2:20:30
Matthew Folk, 30, Canfield, OH, 2:20:43
Michael Friedberg, 29, Flagstaff, AZ, 2:21:01
Robert Cannon, 23, Toms River, NJ, 2:21:24

Four women qualified by beating the Olympic B standard of 2:47.

Jenna Boren, 29, St. Paul, MN, 2:42:39
Jody Johnson, 29, Syracuse, NY, 2:44:25
Caitlin Tormey, 23, New York, NY, 2:45:02
Carly Graytock, 28, Cambridge, MA, 2:45:02

Last year in Austin, under frigid conditions, 25 of the 48 USA Athlete Development Project runners qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials, according to Greg McMillan.

Monday, January 15, 2007

2008 Chevron Houston Marathon Local Invited Runners

As long as the qualifying standards remain the same (based on what is on the Chevron Houston Marathon's web site), the following individuals - based on their performance Sunday - will have earned their spots in the 2008 event:


Open (3:00:00) - Sarah Yoder, 2:58:34
40 (3:15:11) - Heidy Lozano, 2:57:45
50 (3:32:11) - Carole Uttecht, 3:30:48 (ALRC)


Open (2:35:00) - Matt McCurdy, 2:32:24 (ALRC)
40 (2:49:42) - Sean Wade, 2:20:30 / Todd Gilbreath, 2:47:32 (BCRR)*
50 (3:02:47) - Ted Traynor, 3:00:36 (HS)
60 (3:19:02) - Ben Harvie, 3:05:49 (HH)

Gilbreath's projection would be based that Sean Wade "earned" a spot because he was a former winner; however, this wasn't necessarily the case when the original post went up for the '07 spots and Drew Prisner was listed in the Open spot from the '06 event with an asterisk that he was the 2002 winner. If the latter is true, then Wade earns the spot.

Again, this is clearly a projection and therefore, not official.

Just missing the 70-year-old and greater standard was The Woodlands Running Club's Jim Braden. Braden, 71, ran Sunday's event in 3:41:59 and missed the qualifying standard by just 41 secodns.

Tusse's Margin of Victory 7th Largest

The men's race at the Chevron Houston Marathon over the last 35 years has typically been fairly close.

The last four years, the margin of victory has been less than a minute.

This year, though, Ethiopia's Feyisa Tusse posted the seventh largest margin of victory with his two-minute and 17-second win over Russia's Mikhail Khobotov.

The top seven margins of victory are as follows:

8:30 - 1976 - Jeff Wells over Rice teammate John Lodwick
8:29 - 2001 - Christopher Ciamarra over Orange, Texas native James Lawrence
5:49 - 1978 - Ron Tabb over David Odom
3:00 - 1973 - Juan Garza over Austin's Dennis Manske
2:48 - 1993 - Frank Bjorkli over Sean Wade
2:29 - 2000 - Stephen Ndungu over Sammy Maritim
2:17 - 2007 - Feyisa Tusse over Mikhail Khobotov

Conversely, the women's edition of the marathon has typically been a rout.

Only eight (8) women's margins of victory have been less than a minute with the closest being the 1980 finish where Vanessa Vajdos outsprinted training partner Donna Burge to the finish line and defeated her by a second.

The eight closest finishes in the women's marathon are as follows:

0:01 - 1980 - Vanessa Vajdos over Donna Burge
0:04 - 1981 - Patti Lyons Catalano over Laurie Binder
0:09 - 1983 - Ingrid Kristiansen over Laurie Binder
0:22 - 1994 - Alevtina Noaumova over Tatiana Pozdnyajkova
0:30 - 1996 - Adriana Fernandez over Loma Guadalupe
0:31 - 2006 - Firaya Sultanova-Zhdanova over Nicole Stevenson
0:43 - 2001 - Tatiana Pozdnyakova over Zinaida Semenova
0:56 - 1985 - Silvia Ruegger over Jacqueline Gareau

Americans Post Faster Marathons Time Too

Michael Reneau's 8th place time on Sunday of 2:17:46 was the fastest by an American since David Mora's 2:15:05, 7th place finish in 1995. (Mora's time was the 8th fastest time by an American that year.)

Jenna Boren's 5th place finishing time of 2:42:39 was the second fastest time by an American women since 1999. The fastest American time in the last 14 editions of the Houston Marathon belongs to Kelly Keane (2:32:37).

Sunday, January 14, 2007

David Monti's Race Results Weekly Recap

HOUSTON (14-Jan) -- Ryan Hall, the 24 year-old former Stanford star from Big Bear Lake, Calif., toppled one of the most time-honored records in all of U.S. road running today. Emerging from the foggy dawn here, he scooted away early from a strong field at the Aramco Houston Half-Marathon and blew away Mark Curp's 21 year-old U.S. half-marathon record by an astonishing 72 seconds. With his 59:43 clocking, Hall also surpassed German Silva's North American record of 1:00:28 set back in 1994, and became the fastest half-marathoner ever not born in Africa (on a well-measured course which was not excessively downhill).*

For the remainder of this copyrighted story from Race Results Weekly, please click here.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Wheelchair Athletes Watching Weather Too

Four-time defending Aramco Houston Half Marathon wheelchair champion Ramiro Bermudez is just as concerned about Sunday's weather as those who will be able to run the event.

Perhaps more so.

Bermudez, as well as 2005 women's winner Holly Koester from the Cleveland, Ohio area, both explained that the wet weather will keep the wheel slick and make it more difficult for the wheelers to grab the wheel and push it through.

I asked Bermudez why there weren't as many wheelchair athletes competing here as there used to be and he indicated that, at this time of the year, many wheelers are playing basketball.

Koester just hopes that she can beat her winning 3:23:37 time. In 2005, the 47-year-old was the women's first winner since 1999. There were no female wheelchair marathoners a year ago.

Bermudez, meanwhile, has improved his time in each of the past three years, from 1:16:41 in 2004 to 1:03:20 in 2005 to his best time of 59:54 in 2006. (His personal best half marathon of 54:37 came at the 3M Half Marathon in Austin in 2000.)

Meb and Brian or Roger?

Aside from the time of day being a factor, who do you think drew the biggest crowd at this weekend's Chevron Houston Marathon expo?

Meb Keflezighi and Brian Sell or Roger Clemens?

While this year's opening event ceremony press conference, sans Mayor Bill White, was better attended than last year's, Meb and Brian couldn't compare with one of Houston's hometown favorites.

It was hands down, Roger Clemens.

Clemens was in attendance late Saturday morning to a phalanx of television cameras and a throng of running-a la baseball fans to be part of a presentation touting his partnership with the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System and its opening of Roger Clemens Institute for Sports Medicine & Human Performance last Monday.

No breaking announcement, however, of whether he'll stay and pitch for the Astros or join two-time Andy Pettitte with the New York Yankees.

David Cheriuyot Walks, Then Runs

One of the many individuals spending a good amount of time yesterday and today at the Chevron Houston Marathon Expo, presented by the Roger Clemens Institute for Sports Medicine & Human Performance, was two-time defending champion David Cheriuyot.

Cheriuyot certainly wasn't listening to 2003 winner Sean Wade's advice to runners at a 5:00 p.m. Friday talk about staying off one's feet for as much as possible the day before the race.

Early Friday evening at the Expo, Cheriuyot was seen stopping at the booth of Fond Memories Graphics, Inc. from Pomona, New York.

Proprietor Marcel Galligani, who sells runners finisher's certificate plaques, bib frames and shadow boxes that contain a medal, bib number and picture, recognized Cheriuyot and made the Kenyan a deal -- "If you win again, come see me after the race and I'll give you one of the products."

This writer was walking up as last year's winner with a time of 2:12:02 was seen filling out one of the blue-and-white forms, "David Cheriuyot. Address. Kenya."

Galligani said today that he's never done a product for the winner of a major race.

If Cheriuyot becomes only the second three-time champion in the men's history of the race, joining Stephen Ndungu, we'll know that he made his prediction with the power of the pen - a red one, at that.


Annie Bersagel, who made the trip to Houston from Norway, is the top seed in the US Women's Half Marathon Championships.

"I haven't raced in a while," Bersagel said. "I've done a lot more training this fall, so we'll see how it goes this weekend. It's a wonderful field assembled for this weekend. It'll be a lot of fun."
Bersagel has plans to run her first marathon this April in Boston.

Results from 2006 US Women's Half Marathon championships.

 1 Annie Bersagel          1:14:36
2 Jenny Crain 1:14:45
3 Zoila Gomez 1:15:30
4 Ann Alyanak 1:15:50
5 Dana Coons 1:16:58
6 Alvina Begay 1:17:04
7 Turena Johnson-Lane 1:17:22
8 Paige Higgins 1:19:02
9 Tere Stouffer 1:19:08
10 Christine Lundy 1:19:14
11 Melissa Todd 1:19:39
12 Michelle La Fleur 1:19:44
13 Suzanne Weeder Einspahr 1:20:21
14 Heather Hunt 1:21:42
15 Camille Herron 1:21:52
16 Sheena Dauer 1:21:52
Bolded names are runners competing here Sunday, according to elites list released on Wednesday, Jan. 10.
Meb vs. Sell? --- It may or may not play out like that, given the heavy hitters in the half marathon field. Keflezighi and Sell have ran in the same race once before, the 20K championships in New Haven in 2003. Keflezighi won the race, with Sell second.
"It wasn't competitive between us, at least not on my part," said Sell, who finished 21 seconds behind Keflezighi.

With this only being Keflezighi's third attempt at a half marathon, it'll be the first time the two have met at this distance.

"Brian has really made a name for himself," Keflezighi said. "He's really dedicated and he showed that by being here today."

Sell arrived at the press conference less than an hour after his plane landed.
Or is it Meb vs. Ryan Hall? --- One member of the press conference asked Meb if he'd be able to stay with Ryan Hall on Sunday. Hall set a new US 20K record at the World Championships in Hungary in Oct. 2006. His time of of 57:54 is equivalent to a low 61 in the half.
"Ryan's got the 20K record and he had a great year," Keflezighi said. "This field is pretty loaded."

Abdi Abdirahman had the previous 20K record of 58:42, set in 2005. Before that, Keflezighi had held the 20K record with a 58:57 in 2003.

Runner's Web link

This blog is one of the daily news links at
Here's the link

2007 Bib Overview

Chevron Houston Marathon

Blue bibs -- Elite athletes (1M - 100M, 1F - 100F)
Red, white and blue bibs -- Athlete Development Project runners (201 - 300)
Red bibs -- Front corral (301 and up)
White bibs -- Back corral (9999 and down)

Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Logo bibs -- Championship/Elite athletes (1M - 100M, 1F - 100F)
Black bibs -- Local elite athletes (20201 - 20300)
Green bibs -- Front corral (20401 and up)
Black bibs -- Back corral (29999 and down)

Houston Press / Smart Financial Credit Union 5K

Yellow bibs -- Open 5K series (50301 - 53600). No elite bibs. No corrals.

1972 Marathon Winner Helps British Runner

Dan Green, the Houston Marathon's 1972 winner, will once again be coaching runners during this weekend's events at the Chevron Houston Marathon.

Yes, he'll be there to cheer on runners from his The Woodlands High School boy's cross country teams as well as those from the adult The Woodlands Running Club.

However, Green has also been enlisted by The New Paul O'Grady TV Show in London, England.

The program, which is similar to the Jay Leno Show here in America, will be sending to Houston 56-year-old Doris Shawcross from Manchester, England to participate in the Aramco Houston Half Marathon.

The show's program will have Green meeting up with Shawcross before the race to give her some last minute tips. Then on the day of the race, the duo will meet up before hand as he wishes her good luck. Green will then stay with the television crew and cheer her on and give her encouragement through the race.

It'll be interesting to here how things go for Coach Green. The producers wanted someone who was going to be a "real character" and that is going to be very firm, with no nonense and be American. :)

Meb's Last Trip to Houston

USA Cross Country Championships
Houston, TX, Sunday, February 16, 2003

1) Alan Culpepper, adidas, 38:22
2) Meb Keflezighi, Nike*, 38:34
3) Ed Torres, Unattached, 39:04
4) Nick Rogers, Nike*, 39:31
5) Abdi Abdirahman, Nike, 39:36
6) Chad Johnson, Nike, 39:43
7) Dave Cullum, Farm Team, 39:44
8) Robert Gary, adidas, 39:45
9) Gregory Jimmerson, Farm Team, 39:52
10) Mike Donnelly, Nike, 40:03

*Team USA California

For full results, more quotes, etc., go to:
# # #
Ryan Lamppa, Running USA Media Services
USATF Road Running Information Center
5522 Camino Cerralvo
Santa Barbara, CA 93111
(805) 696-6232, fax (805) 696-6252

Friday, January 12, 2007

Two Fulbright Scholars in Half-Marathon Fields

"I'm doing my graduate thesis on comparative Norwegian and American contributions to peace deals in the Middle East," said the top seed in Sunday's Aramco Houston Half Marathon women's field, Anne Bersagel.

We know that Bersagel, a Wake Forest University graduate, certainly won't be outsmarted to the finish line.

Bersagel is the defending U.S. women's half marathon national champion after her winning - and personal best - performance at the 2006 Hospital Hill Half Marathon in Kansas City where she won with a 1:14:36 showing.

As a Fulbright Scholar, she and men's half marathon competitor Joel Anderson, 24, are two of 25 that are studying in Norway (specifically, the University of Oslo) where Bersagel says that it is a "little bit cold and dark there."

She said though that she hasn't had to make too many adjustments in training in Oslo, Norway since the winter has been rather mild. She remarked that it is colder in her hometown of Greeley, Colorado right now than in Oslo.

Bersagel's No. 2 seed will be Gunnison, Colorado native Elva Dryer, who is making her debut at the half-marathon distance. Close behind Bersagel and Dryer are the next two seeds, Zoila Gomez and Jenny Crain. The duo finished 4th and 2nd, respectively, at last year's USA national half marathon champuionship.

Funny Exchange

The group included Meb Keflezighi, Merhawi Keflezighi (Meb's brother and agent), Steve Karpas (the marathon's director of marketing and development) and Inside Texas Running columnist Mark Fraser.

Karpas told Meb a story about Fraser: "One Saturday morning around 8, I was out with a group doing a 16-miler. We met up with Fraser and told him he must've gotten a late start and that we were running 16. He said, "I've already ran 34."

Fraser added: "It was my 50th birthday and I was running 50 miles that day. Kind of a present to myself."

Meb laughed a little, then responded: "I'm 31 and I've never ran 31 miles."


Half Marathon Championships

In third year for Houston to host the USA Men's Half-Marathon championships, directors scored a coup in getting a "big-name" runner in Meb Keflezighi.

Keflezighi, the silver medalist in the 2004 Olympics Marathon in Athens, will compete against the previous two winners in Brian Sell (2005) and Dan Browne (2004).

"This race is a benchmark for me," Keflezighi said. "It'll tell me where training is for the London Marathon in April. But it is for the national championship so I'll do whatever it takes to win."

Keflezighi is seeded second, behind Sell, while Browne is the 7th seed.

This year's field could be the strongest in the three years Houston has hosted the championships.

"With Meb, Dan and Ryan Shay (2006 US 20K champion), this field is way deeper than last year's," Sell said. "There are 10-15 guys that have a shot at it. Ryan's time in the 20K last year is equivalent to the low 61s for a half so I expect a time around there to win it."

Keflezighi also threw out the same number, and he has run a 1:01:28 in his only official half-marathon time to date.

"It depends on the weather, but with this field something in the 61s is likely," Keflezighi said.
Keflezighi's only half-marathon finish, in the New York City Half Marathon in Aug. 2006, was a second place behind Kenyan Thomas Nyariki (1:01:22).

Keflezighi's other half-marathon attempt was in October the Rock n' Roll Half in San Jose. He suffered a hamstring cramp heading into the 11th mile and decided to pull off the course at that point, saving himself for the Nov. 5 ING New York City Marathon. He was in third place at the time and gaining on second, having gone thru 10 miles at 46:45, one of the fastest times ever by an American for that distance.

Sell is coming back from a hamstring injury suffered in December.

"I was in Detroit and I was crossing a road and slipped on a icy patch and almost did the splits," Sell said. "The hamstring has felt fine the last week or so, but I'm a little bit behind."

In an email response earlier in the week, Browne said: "I'm excited and nervous because the competition is really looking strong. I feel that there are a lot of guys who are capable of winning it and I just hope to run my best on race day."
Meb's marathon experience:

Keflezighi plans to run the Flora London Marathon in April and his training is focused on that race. The marathon will be his eighth.

His silver medal in Athens came in his fourth marathon.

"Stefano Baldini won the gold and that was his 16th marathon," Keflezighi said. "I've been there now and I can take more risks in a race. I knew, during the race, that the US hadn't medaled since 1976 and I wanted to get that.

"The 2008 Olympics will be all about taking risks. In terms of time, my 2:09:53 is slow. I know what I'm capable of and I'm looking forward to London because it's a fast course."

Keflezighi says he's focused on getting better.

"I still believe my times can improve and I'm hungrier and more motivated than ever," Keflezighi said. "I'm trying to compete with the best in the world. I have that medal, but I want to bring another one."

Houston Marathon Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

We've learned the six (6) individuals who will be recognized Saturday night at the Chevron Houston Marathon's official Pasta Party at the Hilton's "Ballroom of the Americas."

They are:

Pete League (founder)
Jim Kettelsen (sponsor)
David Hannan (race director)
Tom and Mary Anne McBrayer (volunteers)
Jack Lippincott (runner)

It is my understanding that there will be information in Saturday's Houston Chronicle.

Race Director Brant Kotch

With a cap of 15,000 runners, the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon sold out the last week of November, leaving a lot of runners without a race to run after having trained for months.

"We broke a lot of records this year," race director Brant Kotch said. "Lots of people didn't get in that wanted to run. We'll have more than 20,000 runners in the four events."

Prize money will also went up to a total of $218,000, $138,000 in the full and $80,000 in the half, which is host to the USA Men's championship for the third consecutive year. This year will be the first time for Houston to host the USA Women's Half Marathon championship.

"We are looking forward to some good races, with the USA championships in the half and a group of developmental athletes trying to qualify for the Olympic trials in the full," Kotch said. "Greg McMillan is training the group and will have 68 athletes here trying to get the qualifying times."

The race is not just about the athletes, it also raises money for charities.

"Our goal is to raise $1 million for charities and we're trying to get corporate contributions through the selling of portions of the course to sponsors," Kotch said.

The races will see a change in the start lines, due to work on a new downtown park, with both moving north a few blocks closer to Minute Maid Park.

'05-'06 VVIP Awards Available at HARRA Booth

HARRA At-Large Board Member Cheryl Esposito indicated that those who are due to receive their '05-'06 VVIP awards can pick them up today (Friday) at the HARRA booth here at the George R. Brown Convention Center

Those individuals include:

Serai Abraham
Victor Aguirre
Ann Atkinson
Roger Boak
Caroline Burum
Marla Burum
Randy Carlson
Audrey Christiansen
Megan Clark-Dillingham
Bill Crich
Barb Crumpton
Mike Daniel
Rose Ennis
Betty Forbes
Helen Grant
Travis Green
Sadie Greenman
Geoff Guenther
Bill Hadley
Annie Hadow
Wayne Hassel
Melissa Henderson
Robert Hoekman
Allison LeCompte
Bette Lehmberg
Jo Ann Luco
Felix Lugo
Robert Manach
Bruce Mansure
Noah Matthews
Mary Anne McBrayer
Tom McBrayer
Georgette McNamee
Scott Michelman
Susan Middleton
Pat Nelson
Pam Paling
John Phillips
Katrina Price-Stillwell
Lisa Ruthven
Gail Sabanosh
Barbara Shepard
Stephen Shepard
Doug Spence
Andy Stewart
Tom Stilwell
Valerie Vallot
Pamela Willmon
Camille Yarbrough
Ramona Zamudio

Race Day Weather

With no one really knowing what's going to happen with a cool front headed this way on Sunday, a portion of the press conference was taken up with weather-related questions.

The forecast is for mid-to-upper 60s at the start, but a front could come through with some rain that could drop temps as much as 20 degrees during the race.

Rice men's cross country and track coach Jon Warren, the analyst on Sunday's Channel 13 telecast of the race, asked, "Since there are two rabbits set to run a 2:10 marathon pace and given the weather forecast, will the runners make adjustments."

Two-time defending champ David Cheruiyot's one-word answer was, "No."

That brought some laughter from the assembled media.


Edwin Quarles and myself are here at today's at the 2007 Chevron Houston Marathon Expo.

We attended the press conference this morning, which featured Brian Sell and Meb Keflezighi as well as the two-time defending champion David Cheriuyot.