Kenya's Ondoro leads in title defense at the Houston Marathon

NAIROBI, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Dominic Ondoro will put his marathon title up for grabs when he lines up on the streets of Houston on Jan 14.

Ondoro has savored a successful bid after two losses and is under pressure to prove his fitness against a strong challenge from Ethiopian runners.

"I love running in Houston and have done all that is required in training. But running and winning are not the same and when we line up on Jan. 14. Past form will count for nothing, but the day' s form will be what matters and the weather," he said on Tuesday.

Last year, against all odds, Ondoro emerged victorious having finished in fourth and fifth place in 2017 and 2016.

Running in a damp and foggy weather the Kenyan posted a fast time of 2:12:05 to become the first Kenyan to prevail since David Cheruiyot won Houston for a third time in 2008.

With the allure of making Kenya team for the Commonwealth Games still glowing, Ondoro must scheme how best to beat Ethiopians Bazu Worku (2:05:25) and Yitayal Atnafu (2:07:21).

In the women's race, New York Marathon third-placer Mamitu Daska stands out as the fastest in a pack of elite runners with a time of 2:21:59, which she claimed in winning in Houston back in 2011.

The Ethiopian will face a strong challenge from Ethiopian teammates Abebech Afework (2:23:33), Biruktayit Degefa (2:23:51) and Belaynesh Oljira (2:24:21).

[ Editor: meng ]
 

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