HOUSTON, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Ethiopia's Deriba Merga says he's shooting for a time of 2:05 flat in the Houston Marathon Sunday, which would be a North American record.
Merga's personal best for a 26.2-mile marathon course is 2:06:38. He placed fourth in the marathon at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
When a reporter asked Merga what time he hopes to run in Houston, he replied, "two-oh-five," The Houston Chronicle reported.
If Merga achieves a 2:05 time he'd beat the North American record of 2:05:42 set by Khalid Khannouchi in Chicago in 1999, and he'd cross the finish more than 5 minutes faster than anyone has in Houston.
Another Ethiopian runner, Haile Gebrselassie's, holds the world record at 2:03:59.