Ethiopians Sweep Men’s and Women’s Marathon in Record Times in Houston

Tariku Jufar (above) won the men's marathon and Alemitu Abera was the victor in the women's race, while the men's half-marathon title went to Feyisa Lelisa and Belaynesh Oljira won the women's half marathon.

By Associated Press

HOUSTON — Ethiopian runners turned Houston into their own personal showcases on Sunday, sweeping the full and half marathons in record times.

Tariku Jufar won the men’s marathon in 2 hours, 6 minutes and 51 seconds, eclipsing the previous best time of 2:07.04 set last year by Ethiopia’s Bekana Daba. Jufar is the fourth straight men’s champion from the African nation, and the fourth straight runner to win in a record time.

The 27-year-old Jufar shaved almost two minutes off his previous personal best, less than three years after he was seriously injured in a car accident while training. He earned his first victory in a marathon last November, winning in Beirut, following a second-place finish in Istanbul in October.

“I’m very glad to run this course,” Jufar said through an interpreter. “I’m also comfortable with the weather, as well. I’m glad I could achieve what I achieved.”

Alemitu Abera won the women’s race in 2:23.14. The previous record was 2:23.53, set by Ethiopia’s Teyba Erkesso in 2010.

Photos: 2012 Houston Marathon (Houston Chronicle)

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