In bright sunshine and soaring temperatures it was a day for survival for many of the thousands of starters but Houston managed to stay competitive with a posse of four African challengers and his 2:21.01 left him only a few seconds down on fourth finisher Totsang Maine of South Africa.
The winner was John Mutai of Kenya, who repeated his success in this event in 2004 only after outsprinting fellow countryman Simon Kasimili in 2:19.52, Kasimili being just four seconds behind and a third Kenyan Zak Kihara was third in 2:20.13.
The women’s title also went overseas, Natalia Lehonkova of Ukraine winning by over five minutes from Mamorallo Tjoka, with the former Scottish No. 1 Hayley Haining (Kilbarchan) third in 2:45.17.
Though Haining was over 16 minutes slower than her best ever time, she was delighted with her performance in what was her first marathon since the birth of her son a year ago.
In the half marathon, Jennifer MacLean (EAC) turned the tables on Keira Murray (Lasswade) her conqueror in last week’s Scottish 5k road race.
MacLean was just seven seconds outside her personal best in finishing third in 77:16 with Murray fourth in a personal best of 78:50.
The men’s winner was Glasgow University student Michael Deason in 68:20 with Colin McGill (EAC) third in 71:46 and Neil Thin (EAC) first over 50 veteran in 74:07.