© Copyright – 2024 – Athletics Illustrated

Weini Kelati bettered the American half marathon record on Sunday in Houston, running one-hour, six minutes, and 25 seconds. It was Kelati’s debut at the distance. The performance is a 14-second improvement on Keira D’Amato’s record from last year.

Kelati finished fourth overall. Ethiopia’s Sutume Kebede won in the time of 1:04:37, running the fastest women’s half marathon on American soil. Kenyan Hellen Obiri who had a dominating 5000m career, moved up to the marathon in 2022 and subsequently won Boston and New York City in 2023, finished Houston in second place in the time of 1:06:07. Buze Diriba Kejela of Ethiopia outkicked Kelati down the homestretch to claim third in 1:06:24.

“I can’t believe it. This is amazing,” said Kelati. “Honestly, when I was at the starting line, I didn’t know what to expect. Halfway, I was like, this feels pretty good, we are under the pace and I can keep going. The last half mile was pretty windy, and I was like, I’m just going to finish this, but I’m glad I got it.”

Kelati is a former Eritrean refugee, choosing to stay in the US after the 2014 Eugene Junior World Championships. She now holds five national bests or national records. The half-marathon may be her best performance to date.


1Sutume Kebede – ETH01:04:37
2Hellen Obiri – KEN01:06:07
3Buze Diriba Kejela – ETH01:06:24
4Weini Kelati – USA01:06:25
5Mestawut Fikir – ETH01:07:36
6Edna Kiplagat – KEN01:07:52
7Calli Thackery – GBR01:08:20
8Makenna Myler – USA01:08:28
9Nell Rojas – USA01:08:52
10Mercy Chelangat – KEN01:08:58
11Erika Kemp – USA01:09:10
12Maggie Montoya – USA01:09:41
13Jacqueline Gaughan – USA01:10:01
14Selam Gebre – ETH01:10:07
15Susanna Sullivan – USA01:10:53