Chevron Houston Marathon Sees Gutsy Runs By Athletes Desperate For Olympic Standard

Fast course in Houston helps more athletes secure Olympic standard

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While the half marathon in Houston saw a slew of records fall down, the full Chevron Houston Marathon delivered equal levels of drama and excitement as we saw countless men and women fighting to run under Olympic standard.

Unlike the US, many countries do not have an Olympic Trials, and athletes, therefore, rely on hitting the pre-determined Olympic standard to qualify for the games. For the Paris 2024 marathon, the men’s standard is set at 2:08:10, while the women’s sits at 2:26:50.

Athletes who run under these times receive automatic qualification to the Olympic Games marathon, barring a few other specific regulations.

Houston was home to a number of unexpected victories today, and the men’s marathon was no exception.

Chevron Houston Marathon Sees Gutsy Runs By Athletes Desperate For Olympic Standard 1

Zouhair Talbi of Morocco prevailed after an incredibly gutsy run. He finished well under the Olympic standard, clocking 2:06:39, which is an almost two-minute improvement from his previous best of 2:08:35. 

His time not only secured him the win but also set a new course record, taking down the previous record of 2:06:51 set by Tariku Jufar, which stood for eight years.

Three athletes behind Talbi also clocked in under the elusive Olympic standard.


For a full recap, read our play-by-play live blog of the entire race:


Ethiopia’s Tsedat Ayana would take second running 2:07 flat

However, with Ethiopia having well over three athletes running under standard over the qualification window, it becomes up to the selection comittee as to which athletes will represent Ethiopia in Paris.

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Germany’s Hendrik Pfeiffer would round out the podium and clock in under standard, running 2:07:14.

The final runner in the men’s race to run under Olympic standard was Australia’s Pat Tiernan, who crossed the line in 2:07:45.

The women’s race had five athletes run under the elusive 2:26:50 barrier. 

However, three of them come from either Ethiopia or Kenya, meaning their goal was to run a fast time in order to impress their respective selection committees, since those countries already have over three runners who have unlocked Olympic spots earlier in the qualification window.

Ethiopia’s Rahma Tusa took the win in Houston today, crossing the line in 2:19:33. Her compatriot Melesech Tsegaye would take third, finishing over five minutes behind in 2:24:50.

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Vicoty Chepngeno of Kenyan was making her marathon debut today in Houston. She raced the half marathon in Houston last year, where she set a new course record and a new American soil record.

Despite it being her first outing in the full marathon, she took second place, just over twenty seconds behind the winner, clocking an impressive 2:19:55.

The two other women who ran under Olympic standard were Germany’s Deborah Schöneborn, running 2:24:54, and Jovana de la Cruz Capani of Peru, who recorded a time of 2:26:49, just one second under the standard.

Some Olympic hopefuls found themselves on the other side of the elusive barrier today, just missing out on standard. Most notably, Canadian marathon record holder Natasha Wodak and compatriot Leslie Sexton found themselves falling short of the 2:26:50 barrier.

Sexton placed 8th after running a time of 2:28:14, with Wodak just behind her in 9th, crossing the line in 2:28:42.

Houston proved to be a thrilling start to the race calendar with fast times and Olympic qualification drama. The event has set the tone for the excitement to come in future events.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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