Houston, USA – Teshome Gelana of Ethiopia will defend his title at the 39th edition of the Chevron Houston Marathon here on Sunday, January 30, 2011.

Gelana set a new course record to win last year’s race in 2:07.37, along with $35,000 prize money. The previous record was held by fellow Ethiopian Deriba Merga.

Teshome will be supported by countryman Hussein Adelo, who came in fourth at Houston last year running a personal best time of 2:09:09.

Women’s Category

In the women’s marathon, Ashu Kasim of Ethiopia holds the No. 1 seed after winning the Istanbul-Eurasia Marathon in Turkey last October, setting a course record of 2:27:27.

Joining her will be three other Ethiopian female athletes: Belainesh Gebre (2:32.12), who won the 2010 Honolulu Marathon on her debut; Mamitu Daska, winner of the 2010 Dubai Marathon (2:24:18), and newcomer Tigist Tufa.

A sold-out marathon field of 11,000 is expected on Sunday, with the winners of the men and women race netting $35,000 each.