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The Houston Half Marathon organizers decided to award their "top U.S. male finisher" prize money ($2,000) to two athletes this year.
At first glance, the top American at the 2020 Houston Half Marathon appeared to be Jared Ward, who crossed the finish line first in 1:01:36. Finishing less than two seconds behind him was former BYU runner Nico Montanez, who currently trains with the Mammoth Track Club under Andrew Kastor.
Heading into this race, Montanez's resume (1:04:29 PB) wasn't enough for the elite field; therefore, he was relegated to the American Development Program field. As a result, Montanez had to start in the second corral behind the elites.
The initial results recorded Montanez's chip time as four seconds faster than his gun time. Nico confirmed in his post-race interview that he took about five seconds to get to the starting chip mat.
Here's a screenshot of Montanez's splits after the race—his start time is set to 7:01 a.m. and 3 seconds (the time of day when he crossed the starting mat).
Because Montanez's chip time of 1:01:34 was faster than Ward's chip time of 1:01:36, the Houston organizers took a page out of the Boston Marathon's book and decided to award the 'top U.S. male' prize money to both Ward and Montanez.