HOUSTON–While most Austin-area runners were focused on the 3M Half Marathon Championships, a large contingent of Texans were running the USA Half Marathon Championships and Houston Marathon and Half Marathon.
In the USA Champs, Meb Keflezighi won his 22nd national title and Serena Burla won her first. At 38, the oldest runner in the USA Championships, Keflezighi won in 1:01:23 (the third fastest of her career), while Burla, who had been second twice in the USA Champs in Houston, won by more than 1 ½ minutes in 1:10:48.
Both Burla and Keflezighi, who has had great success in Houston, won $12,000 for first place and another $1500 for time bonuses.
Leading the way among the Texans was former Austinite Scott MacPherson of Rogue AC won finished 14th in a PR of 1:02:56. Rory Tunningley, the former UT runner, placed 45th in his first half marathon in 1:06:29.
Tunningley of Team Mizuno was a bit disappointed with his finish. He took off at 4:57 pace on the clear, beautiful morning, but started experiencing cramps at 8 ½ miles. “I felt like I was jogging the next two miles,” said Tunningley, “but once the cramp went away, I got going again. Without the cramp, felt like I would have run under 65 minutes.”
Following Tunningley was Mizuno teammate David Fuentes in 46th place in 1:06:50. Fuentes who had a knee injury coming into the race, gutted it out as he didn’t want a repeat of the ’11 race when he was forced to drop out. “It wasn’t a great race for me,” said Fuentes, “but I hung in there.”
Jared Carson of Austin was 49th in 1:07:07 and Rio Reina was 53rd in 1:07:25. Jose Munoz of San Antonio finished 60th in 1:08:04 and former Austinite Chass Armstrong, who now lives in Greenville, South Carolina, was 62nd in 1:07:25.
Renee Baillie, who lives in Bend, Oregon but is from Flower Mound, was 20th in 1:14:55 and Allie Mendez, the former UT runner, was 29th in 1:15:50.
Among the Austin age-groupers in the Aramco Houston Half, Sara Madebach had the highest placing with second place in her age group (25-29) in 1:22:02. Bryan Morton was third in his (30-39) in 1:10:29, Victoria Springer was fourth (70-74) in 3:00:22 and Lisa Buckley was fifth (35-39) in 1:32. Wish was sixth (6064) in 1:39:07.
Terry Nance was 17th (50-54) in 1:36:50, Kirk Larson was 18th (30-34) in 1:23:23 and Chris Gunderson was 20th (45-49) in 1:33:36.