2024 Houston Half & Marathon: Weini Kelati Breaks The American Record + More Takeaways

By Chris Chavez

January 15, 2024

The Houston Half Marathon and Houston Marathon continue to be the place for fast times in January as the 2024 edition of the races did not disappoint with record-setting performances.

Here’s what you need to know:

Jemal Yimer, Sutume KebedeJemal Yimer, Sutume Kebede

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto

The Winners

– Women’s Half Marathon: Ethiopia’s Sutume Kebede recorded a U.S. all-comers record as she ran 1:04:37 to beat Boston and New York City Marathon champion Hellen Obiri. Kebede is now No. 9 on the all-time half marathon list. She owns a marathon personal best of 2:18:12 from the 2022 Seoul Marathon. Last year, she dropped out of the London Marathon and was 15th at the Chicago Marathon in 2:26:49. Obiri finished second in 1:06:07.

– Men’s Half Marathon: We’re getting used to close, tight finishes at the Houston Half. Ethiopia’s Jemal Yimer came away with a 1:00:42 victory – just a second ahead of Northern Arizona Elite’s Wesley Kiptoo in 1:00:43. This was Kiptoo’s second consecutive year finishing runner-up and was just eight seconds shy of a personal best. Biya Simbassa was the top American in fourth place with a 1:00:45 showing. Two-time Olympic medalist Galen Rupp finished 14th in 1:02:37.

Zouhair TalbiZouhair Talbi

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto

– Morocco’s Zouhair Talbi came from behind to win the men’s marathon in 2:06:39 and took nearly two minutes off his personal best from last year’s Boston Marathon. This bodes well for his hopes of getting selected for Morocco’s Olympic marathon team. In 2021, Talbi was among the Moroccan athletes who was in Tokyo but then deemed ineligible to compete due to rules that state: “Category A’ country must undergo at least three no-notice out-of-competition tests (urine and blood) conducted no less than 3 weeks apart in the 10 months leading up to a major event.” Talbi ran his qualifying time of 27:20.61 for 10,000m at a May meet hosted by Sound Running in California and could not space his drug tests out with enough time.

– Ethiopia’s Rahma Tusa won the women’s marathon in 2:19:33. Last year, she finished second in the Mumbai Marathon and Sydney Marathon. She has not raced a World Marathon Major since her fifth place finish at the 2018 New York City Marathon in 2:27:13.

Weini KelatiWeini Kelati

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto

The American Record Falls Again

– Under Armour Mission Run Dark Sky Distance’s Weini Kelati ran 1:06:25 on Sunday to break the American record at the 2024 Aramco Houston Half Marathon. The previous record was 1:06:39 set by Keira D’Amato at the Asics Half Marathon in Australia last July.

– Here’s where Kelati ranks on the U.S. all-time lists: 14:53.41 for 5000m (18th); 31:04.16 for 10,000m (12th); 15:04 for road 5K (4th); 31:18 for road 10K; 1:06:25 for half marathon (1st).

– The U.S. women’s half marathon record has been broken five times since January 2022.

  • Jan. 16, 2022 – Sara Hall runs 1:07:15 at the Houston Half
  • May 7, 2022 – Emily Sisson runs 1:07:11 at the USATF Half Marathon Championships in Indianapolis
  • Jan. 15, 2023 – Emily Sisson lowers her record to 1:06:52 at the Houston Half
  • July 1, 2023 – Keira D’Amato runs 1:06:39 at the Asics Half Marathon in Gold Coast, Australia.
  • Jan. 14, 2024 – Weini Kelati runs 1:06:25 at the Houston Half.

– She plans to race at next weekend’s USATF Cross Country Championships to try and qualify for the World Cross Country Championships. Last year, she finished fifth at the U.S. Championships in 32:39 for 10K and then went on to finish 21st at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia.

– Kelati will not be running at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials since her mark is outside the qualifying window. She has not said when she plans to make her marathon debut.

Throwback podcast episode

Good News For Patrick Tiernan, Rough News For America

– Australia’s Patrick Tiernan, who trains under coach Alistair and Amy Cragg on PUMA Elite, was fourth in 2:07:45 to get under the Olympic qualifying standard and move into No. 2 on the all-time Australian list.

– With the performance, Tiernan is expected to move up in the World Athletics rankings. LetsRun notes that Chile’s Hugo Catrileo running 2:08:44 will improve his ranking and get bonus points for a top-five showing at a World Athletics Platinum Label marathon. Current projections would have Scott Fauble at no higher than 69th in the upcoming World Athletics’ Road to Paris rankings. This means the United States men will likely not unlock their third spot for the Olympics until May 5’s edition of the rankings.

Chris Chavez

Chris Chavez launched CITIUS MAG in 2016 as a passion project while working full-time for Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and grew his humble blog into a multi-pronged media company. He completed all six World Marathon Majors and is an aspiring sub-five-minute miler.