Athlete Tirunesh to Return to Action in Houston after 4-year Break

ADDIS ABABA  – One of the greatest distance runners of all time, Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia is set to make a return to competition at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon after a more than four-year hiatus. 

The athlete will race in the 51st edition of the world Athletics Elite Label event scheduled to be held on Jan 15 in Huston, Texas, according to the organizers of the race.

The three-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time world champion has not raced since 2018 but says after giving birth to a second child in 2019 and then battling COVID-19, she is ready to add another chapter to her storied career.

“Houston is a famous race and my training has been going well,” said Tirunesh, the 2017 Chicago Marathon Champion. “It seemed like the best way to test myself and see what could be next.”

Other top contenders in the women’s half marathon include 2021 Berlin Marathon runner-up Hiwot Gebrekidan of Ethiopia and America’s half marathon and marathon record holder Emily Sisson.

In the men’s race, the 2019 champion Shura Kitata of Ethiopia lines up for his fourth Aramco Houston Half Marathon. With career marathon victories in London, Frankfurt, and Rome, Kitata says he “feels home and comfortable in Houston.”

Another Ethiopian athlete participating in the elite competition is Leul Gebresilase, the runner-up at last year’s London Marathon.

The Ethiopians will face competition from Edward Cheserek of Kenya, who came off a 1:00:13 half marathon personal best in Valencia last month. “After Valencia this fall, I’ve trained harder and think sub-60 is possible,” said Cheserek.

The elite athletes will chase the $10,000 first-place prize in the historically fast race, the Houston Marathon Committee announced on Tuesday.