January 17, 2016

HOUSTON (AP) Ethiopia's Gebo Burka and Biruktayit Degefa came from behind to win the men's and women's Houston Marathon on Sunday.

Burka, along with countrymen Girmay Gebru and Yitayal Atanfu, trailed Poland's Artur Kozlowski by 1 minute, 1 second through 18.6 miles (30 kilometers) but rallied to overtake Kozlowski by 24.8 miles (40 kilometers).

Burka, who finished in second place in Houston last year, pulled away from Gebru with less than a mile to go to win in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 54 seconds. Gebru was second, behind Burka by 11 seconds. Kozlowski finished fifth.

The win was Burka's fifth career marathon victory, with the last one coming in Sydney in 2014.

The top American was Tyler Jermann at 2:18:33.

Degefa trailed Australia's Lisa Weightman by 44 seconds through 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) before claiming the lead at 18.6 miles (30 kilometers). Vomiting several times while passing Weightman, Degefa pulled away from there. She won in 2:26:07.

Degefa, who finished third in Houston in 2015, won her first marathon since October, when she won in Des Moines.

Weightman jumped out to an 18-second lead 3.11 miles (5 kilometers) in and widened it to 50 seconds over Degefa at 9.32 miles (15 kilometers). Weightman finished second, 1:28 behinid Degefa.

The top American was Cinthya Paucar Segura, who finished in tenth, 13:47 behind Degefa.

Kenya's Mary Wacera ran the fastest half on U.S. soil at 1:6:29 to beat countrywoman Cynthia Limo by 12 seconds.

Wacera beat the Houston half marathon course record by nearly two minutes. Ethiopia's Belaynesh Olijara held the previous record at 1:8:26 in 2012. Wacera's time was the ninth fastest all-time women's half marathon.

The previous fastest women's half marathon on U.S. soil was 1:7:11 set by New Zealand's Kim Smith in September 2011 in Philadelphia.

The top American finisher was Sara Hall at 1:10:07, finishing in fifth place.

In the men's half marathon, Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa sprinted over the final quarter-mile to pull away from countryman Mosinet Geremew to win in 1:00:37. Geremew finished 8 seconds back of Desisa.

Desisa's time was the third-fastest time behind Ethiopian Feyisa Lilesa's 59:22 in 2012 and American Ryan Hall's 59:43 in 2007.

The top American was Luke Puskedra, who finished 52 seconds behind Desisa.

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