Carney, O’Neill win USA Half Marathon titles in Houston


Jim Estes
Senior Manager of LDR and Marketing
USA Track & Field

HOUSTON - James Carney (Boulder, Colo.) and Kate O'Neill (Palo Alto, Calif.) took the respective men's and women's titles at the USA Half Marathon Championships in Houston, Texas. Carney's time of 1:02:21 earned him his first USA championship win while O'Neill also won her first national title in 1:11:57. The men's and women's championships were hosted for the second consecutive year by the Aramco Houston Half Marathon.

Though the 36th annual event started under ideal conditions with clear skies and a temperature of 48 degrees, the leaders passed the first mile in a relaxed 5:05 before Carney, Jason Lehmkuhle (Minneapolis, Minn.), and Ryan Kirkpatrick (Colorado Springs, Colo.) took charge of the field, leading the field through the second mile in 4:33.

The trio gradually extended a lead over the chase pack that included two-time champion Dan Browne (Portland, Ore.) and Steve Sundell (Redwood City, Calif.). As they approached six miles, Carney and Lehmkuhle opened a gap on Kirkpatrick, and just past seven miles Carney took command of the lead and steadily pulled away from Lehmkuhle.

Passing 10 miles in 47:11, Carney had built the 11-second lead that he would maintain to the finish. Sundell would go on to catch Kirkpatrick for a third-place finish in 1:03:21. Fernando Cabada (Boulder, Colo.) and Patrick Gildea (Knoxville, Tenn.) completed the top five, running 1:03:41 and 1:03:43 respectively.

In the women's race, O'Neill wasted no time staking her claim to the title, taking the lead at 5 km and holding on for a 13 second win. Desiree Davila (Rochester Hills, Mich.) steadily worked her way through the top women, moving from seventh place at eight miles to take the runner-up spot in 1:12:10. Serena Burla (Columbia, Mo.) finished in third, running 1:12:22, and Nicole Aish (Gunnison, Colo.) and Kristen Nicolini Lehmkuhle rounded out the top-five in 1:12:30 and 1:12:58 respectively.

The championships featured a total prize purse of $59,500 with $12,000 going to the respective men's and women's champions.

About the USARC

The Aramco Houston Half Marathon was the first race on the 2008 USA Running Circuit (USARC). The USA Track & Field road series features USA Championships from 5 km to the marathon and attracts the best U.S. distance runners. The fourteenth edition for the men and thirteenth for the women, the 2008 USARC has seven events for men and nine events for women.

The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USARC race (15 for first, 12 for second, 10 for third, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1), with a final $12,500 grand prix purse ($6,000, $4,000, and $2,500) for the top three men and women point scorers overall. The USARC points at the USA Marathon Championships will be doubled.

The mission of the USA Running Circuit is to showcase, support, and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USARC and its races have provided over $4 million dollars to U.S. distance runners.

For more information on the 2008 USA Half-Marathon Championships visit