Galen Rupp (& Hellen Obiri) to Run Houston Half, Rupp Could Unlock 3rd US Men’s Olympic Spot With Good Showing

Right now, a 60:47 half marathon clocking for Rupp would move him up to #64 on the Road To Paris Rankings

Earlier today, the organizers of the Aramco Houston Half Marathon sent out a press release that they’ve secured two big names for their upcoming race, which takes place on January 14 (press release appears below this article). Hellen Obiri of Kenya, the reigning Boston and NYC Marathon champ, will headline the women’s field while American star Galen Rupp will be in the men’s field. It will be both runners’ first appearances in the Houston Half.

With Rupp entered, it’s possible all of the drama of how many spots will the US men get for the Olympic marathon could finally, officially come to an end. has calculated that if Rupp runs 60:47 or faster in Houston, he will vault up to #64 on to the Road To Paris list (assuming nothing changes on the list before then — the Dubai Marathon is January 7). If Rupp holds that position until January 30, the US would be guaranteed three men’s Olympic marathon participants when the US Olympic Trials take place on February 3 in Orlando. They wouldn’t need to wait until April 30, when spots #65-80 on the Road to Paris become eligible for the Olympics.

Galen Rupp has won the last 2 US Olympic Marathon Trials. If he wins a third, he won’t need to worry about how many spots the US gets.

If Rupp runs faster than 60:02 in Houston, he’d move up to #63 on the current Road To Paris list.

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Rupp likely wouldn’t need to run 60:47 to move up to #64 as there are bonus points awarded for a top-6 finish. The Houston Half is considered to be a Category B race so there are 10 points for 1st, 7 for 2nd, then 5-3-2-1 for places three through six. At Rupp’s level, one bonus point is worth roughly 1.5 seconds in the half marathon (10 bonus points is 15 seconds). For example, if Rupp was second in 60:58, it would be the equivalent of running 60:47 with no bonus points. Last year, however, 60:58 was third in Houston, and in that case Rupp would be ranked #65 on the current rankings.

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MB: Galen Rupp (& Hellen Obiri) to run Houston Half. If Rupp runs 60:47 or faster, he’ll move up to #64 on Road to Paris list.

The full Houston press release appears below.

Headliners of the Aramco Houston Half Marathon Promise an Unforgettable Race

December 21, 2023

Elite athlete headliners look to be one for the record books even before the race begins

HOUSTON, TX – ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE – The reigning TCS New York City Marathon and Boston Marathon Champion and the most decorated distance runner in American history will headline one of the strongest fields ever assembled for the Aramco Houston Half Marathon next month.

The Houston Marathon Committee announced today that Hellen Obiri and Galen Rupp will both race in Houston for the first time on January 14. For Obiri, the race will mark her first competition since her victory in New York last November where she became the first person to win Boston and New York in the same year since 1989.

“I have been living in the United States for a while now but even when I was in Kenya, I know that Houston is a very good race with a fast course,” Said Obiri who lives in Boulder, Colorado. “I want to run the marathon at the Olympics in Paris so to run some half marathons is an important part of my preparations,” she said.

Obiri is a finalist to represent Kenya in the marathon at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The team of three will be announced next month. Obiri is a two-time Olympic silver medalist and a two-time World Championship gold medalist in the 5000m. She is also the 2019 World Cross Country Champion. In her most recent half marathon, the RAK Half Marathon last February, Obiri won in 1:04:22, the fifth fastest half marathon time in history.

Rupp will line up as part of his preparation for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon in February. If he places in the top three, he will make his third consecutive U.S. marathon team and his fourth consecutive Olympic games. Rupp is the 2016 bronze medalist in the marathon and the 2012 silver medalist in the 10,000m. He has won the last two Olympic marathon trials and comes into the 2024 Trials with the third fastest time among American men.

“I have been working hard since Chicago and my training is going well,” said Rupp who finished 8th in the 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon with a time of 2:08:48. Of course, the focus is on the trials and making the Olympic team but with Houston being three weeks out I see it as the perfect opportunity to test myself and just make sure I am on track to where I want to be,” he said.

Rupp is one of three American men in history to break one hour in the half marathon, joining Ryan Hall and Leonard Korir. He’s an eight-time U.S. champion in the 10,000m.

“2024 is going to be an exciting year for distance running around the world,” said Wade Morehead, Executive Director of the Houston Marathon Committee. “We are excited that it will all start here in Houston with elite fields of this caliber in both the marathon and half marathon.”

Full start lists for the elite fields will be announced next month. The Aramco Houston Half Marathon and Chevron Houston Marathon will be held on Sunday, January 14 with the start and finish line in downtown Houston. Both events are sold out. Entries are still available for Saturday’s We Are Houston 5K presented by Aramco and Chevron.

About Houston Marathon Committee, Inc. (HMC) – Founded in 1972, the HMC is a founding member of Running USA and organizes the nation’s premier winter marathon, half marathon, and 5K hosting over 300,000 participants, volunteers, and spectators on race day. Recognized by World Athletics, the Gold Label Chevron Houston Marathon has been the race site for three U.S. Olympic Trials Marathons. The Gold Label Aramco Houston Half Marathon has hosted 16 U.S. Half Marathon Championships. The HMC received Gold Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport from 2011 to 2020, and the event garnered the 2015 AIMS Green Award for industry-leading sustainability initiatives. Race weekend generates over $50 million in economic impact for the region annually and has raised $35 million through the Run for a Reason Charity Program since its inception in 1995. The event is broadcast live on ABC13 and syndicated nationally and internationally on ESPN3 and the Longhorn Network.

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