Historically fast athletes kick off the Olympic year on a historically competitive race course
HOUSTON TX — American and North American athletes who have made history will headline the 2024 Aramco Houston Half Marathon. The Houston Marathon Committee announced the full field of elite athletes who will compete for the $60,000 prize purse on Sunday, January 14 alongside the Chevron Houston Marathon elite athlete field.
Known as one of the fastest and most competitive half marathons on the continent, the race will feature the half marathon debut of Olympic silver medalist Moh Ahmed. At the 2020 Tokyo Games, Ahmed brought Canada its first long-distance medal when he passed four people on the last lap of the 5000m to finish in 2nd place. Ahmed holds eight Canadian national records on the track including the North American record in the 5000m of 12:47. He made his road racing debut last year winning the Canadian 10km Championship.
“The Aramco Houston Half-Marathon sits at an ideal point on the calendar, and should allow me to test the fitness I’ve built up from a great fall of training,” said Ahmed who competed collegiately for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, “I know the course is a fast one, and so if the weather is good, I look forward to mixing it up with the other guys upfront and seeing what I can do on the streets of Space City.”
Canada’s most decorated distance runner will face the United States’ most decorated distance runner. As previously announced, Galen Rupp, the 2016 bronze medalist in the Olympic Marathon, will use the Aramco Houston Half Marathon as a tune-up for next month’s U.S, Olympic Team Trials – Marathon which he will attempt to win for a third consecutive time. He will also face Abel Kipchumba of Kenya, whose 58:07 personal best is the fastest in the field. Kipchumba won the B.A.A. Half Marathon last November and was fifth at the 2022 BMW Berlin Marathon.
Other top contenders in the men’s race include past champions Jemal Yimer (2020) and Milkesha Mengesha (2022) both of Ethiopia, as well as last year’s runner-up Wesley Kiptoo of Kenya. Top Americans include Biya Simbassa, Sam Chelanga and Frank Lara.
The women’s race features the return of Sara Hall who set the then-American record in the half marathon when she last raced here in 2022. Hall is also preparing for next month’s Olympic Trials. Last spring, just one day after turning 40, Hall ran the fastest time ever run by an American Master’s runner in 2:25:48 at the historic Boston Marathon.
“I can’t think of a better race to build momentum going into the Olympic Trials than the Aramco Houston Half Marathon,” said Hall, whose husband and coach Ryan Hall set the still-standing American men’s half marathon record here in 2007. “This race has always been a magical place for both Ryan and I and I hope to keep that tradition alive in 2024.”
Last month, it was announced that 2023 Boston and TCS New York City Marathon champion Hellen Obiri will make her Houston debut. Obiri is a finalist to represent Kenya in the 2024 Olympic Marathon. Other top contenders in the field include two-time World and Boston Marathon Champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, 2022 World bronze medalist Lonah Salpeter (ISRAEL) and 2022 NCAA 10,000m and cross-country champion Mercy Chelangat (KENYA).
Joining Hall among the American contenders is United States 5km champion Weini Kelati who will make her half marathon debut. Kelati was an NCAA 5000m and cross-country champion at the University of New Mexico. Other Americans include Tristin Van Ord, the top American finisher in last year’s Chevron Houston Marathon and Nell Rojas who has twice been the top American finisher in the Boston Marathon.
“From legends like Edna Kiplagat to future legends like Mo Ahmed, the elite field at the 2024 Aramco Houston Half Marathon will highlight the stars of long-distance running,” said Carly Caulfield, Race Director and General Manager of the Houston Marathon Committee. “As fans of the sport prepare for an exciting Olympic year, they will get to see some of the potential medalists race right here in Houston.”
Held annually since 2002, the Aramco Houston Half Marathon will be held on Sunday, January 14 in conjunction with the Chevron Houston Marathon. Both races are sold out. The races will be aired live on ABC13 in Houston and streamed around the world at abc13.com featuring commentary from two-time Olympian and Boston Marathon champion Desiree “Des” Linden.
Link to Media Guide 2024
Women’s Half Marathon Elite Field
|Men’s Half Marathon Elite Field
About Houston Marathon Committee, Inc. (HMC) – Founded in 1972, the HMC is a founding member of Running USA and organizes the nation’s premier winter marathon, half marathon, and 5K hosting over 300,000 participants, volunteers, and spectators on race day. Recognized by World Athletics, the Gold Label Chevron Houston Marathon has been the race site for three U.S. Olympic Trials Marathons. The Gold Label Aramco Houston Half Marathon has hosted 16 U.S. Half Marathon Championships. The HMC received Gold Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport from 2011 to 2020, and the event garnered the 2015 AIMS Green Award for industry-leading sustainability initiatives. Race weekend generates over $50 million in economic impact for the region annually and has raised $36 million through the Run for a Reason Charity Program since its inception in 1995. The event is broadcast live on ABC13 and syndicated nationally and internationally on ESPN3 and the Longhorn Network.