Houston, We Have An…American Record

By Mario Fraioli

Most of the domestic pre-race hype at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon this past Sunday centered around Molly Huddle and Jordan Hasay, and whether or not one of those two women would take down Deena Kastor’s American record of 1 hour, 7 minutes, and 34 seconds. Well, Huddle outran the hype—and Hasay—breaking the tape (which, as an aside, is weird because she finished seventh overall, but that’s another discussion for a different day) in 1:07:25. Before I go any further, think about that for a second: Huddle ran under 1:07:30 and finished seventh. (For what it’s worth, Kastor was second when she set her mark back in 2006 at the Berlin Half Marathon.) Hasay ran well under 1:09 (1:08:38) and was eighth. Four women ran under 1:07. That is some serious depth.

Several people have messaged me asking what this result means a little over three months out from Boston, where Huddle and Hasay will meet again. The short answer is: not much. All it means is that both women are in great shape before “marathon training” really gets underway and anyone who tries to glean anything more than that from the numbers isn’t thinking about it in the right way. The marathon is a completely different race, especially Boston, a lot can happen over 13 weeks, and plenty of other women (Shalane Flanagan, Des Linden, Sara Hall and Kellyn Taylor to name a few) will factor prominently into the American equation as well. Can one of them win it? The deck certainly seems stacked in the U.S.’s favor, but the rest of the international field isn’t too shabby either. It could very well be the race of the year and I guarantee you very few people will care what the numbers on the finish line clock read when all is said and done if one of the aforementioned women crosses it first.

In the men’s race at Houston, Kiwi by way of Kenya Jake Robertson won impressively, tying his personal best of 60:01 to beat a bunch of bonafide sub-60 minute guys. He also had a pretty good finish line jig. Jake and his brother Zane have lived and trained in Kenya since they were 17 years old and their story is an interesting—and inspirational—one.

+ On the other side of the world, at a race you’ve never heard of, the American asphalt slayer Allie Kieffer took over three minutes off her previous personal best to win the Doha Half Marathon in 1:10:40. She beat British ace Gemma Steel. It was confirmation (as if she needed it) that her 2:29:39 fifth-place finish at New York last November was far from a fluke. The 30-year-old also just signed a contract with OiselleShe’s become an outspoken activist for positive body image. This woman is rolling right now!

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