Powerful Ethiopians favourites at Dubai Marathon

Top Stories

Powerful Ethiopians favourites at Dubai Marathon
Lemi Berhanu Hayle during the 2015 event in Dubai.

Published: Fri 22 Jan 2016, 8:42 PM

The powerful Ethiopians are favourites again for the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, which takes off on Friday at 6.30am, near the Dubai Police Academy main gate and the Al Wasl Road's first traffic light in Umm Suqeim.
The marathon will begin sharp at the time mentioned while the 10km and 4km events take off at 9am and 11am. Close to 37,000 participants are expected for one of Dubai's biggest sporting events, now considered the second best marathon in the world.
Lemi Berhanu Hayle, the 2015 champion is back here to retain his title and another purse of $200,000 that awaits the men's and women's top of the podium finishers. Aselefech Mergia, the winner last season is not here this year in the women's category. Tsegaye Mekonnen Asefa, the 2014 champion in the men's event and Mulu Seboka (2014 winner) give the field an elite status.
Hayle said: "It was a surprise to win here last year. I hadn't ever won this kind of a race. It helped me make a mark in the international arena. Now if I can win here again, it will help me get points to participate in the Olympics."
Six runners this year have won the Dubai Marathon before which goes to show the quality and class the event has to offer this time. Hayle is joined by the 2012 champion and course record holder Ayele Abshero in the men's field. In the women's event, the hugely-talented line-up has previous stars here like Mulu, Tirfi Tsegaye (2013 winner) and Mamitu Daska (2010 champ), candidates strong enough to demolish the best of opponents in the women's marathon running worldwide.
Hayle and Mekonnen bring even more star quality to the race after both won in fantastic style on their official Dubai debuts. Lanky six footer Hayle destroyed the experienced field to win last year in 2hrs:05min:28sec and smash his personal best by an astonishing five minutes, while Mekonnen's 2014 win was even more sensational. The then 18 year-old set an unofficial world junior record in 2:04:32 in what was his first official marathon despite having run as a pacemaker in the 2013 race.
As expected, the competition for places in Ethiopia's Olympic squad for Rio 2016 will be fierce. And with all six former champions hailing from the African hotbed of distance running, the athletics spotlight will be on Dubai when around 37,000 runners gather here today.
The women's field is very strong indeed with the all Ethiopian charge marshalled by Mulu, Tirfi and Mamitu leading the line-up.
Since winning in Dubai in 2010, Mamitu has lowered her marathon personal best to 2:21:59 thanks to victory at the Frankfurt Marathon in 2011, while she also won the Half Marathon title at the All African Games in 2015.
For Mulu, it will be a third straight appearance in Dubai - she followed her 2014 win with fifth place in 2015 and a new personal best of 2:21:56 - and the 31 year-old is looking forward to the challenges of one of the flattest and quickest marathon routes in the world.
"Dubai is a very special marathon for me as I was champion in 2014 and I ran my personal best there in 2015," said Mulu, who claimed fifth in her first World Marathon Major appearance in Chicago in 2015. "I want to come back to run even faster and my whole focus since Chicago has been my return to Dubai."


Moni Mathews

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

64 - Bryson DeChambeau (USA)
65 - Henrik Stenson (SWE)
66 - Rory McIlroy (NIR), Branden Grace (RSA)
67 - Richard Bland (ENG), Andy Sullivan (ENG)
68 - Jordan Spieth (USA), David Howell (ENG), Thomas Bjorn (DEN), Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG), Niclas Fasth (SWE)
69 - Martin Kaymer (GER), Soren Kjeldsen (DEN), Mikko Korhonen (FIN), Byeong-hun An (KOR), Wade Ormsby (AUS), Renato Paratore (ITA), Simon Dyson (ENG), Wu Ashun (PRC), Johan Carlsson (SWE), Peter Hanson (SWE), Trevor Fisher Jr (RSA), Daniel Brooks (ENG), Joost Luiten (NED), Thomas Pieters (BEL), George Coetzee (RSA), Matthew Baldwin (ENG), Pelle Edberg (SWE)
70 - Rickie Fowler (USA), Andrew Johnston (ENG), Pablo Larrazabal (ESP), Robert Rock (ENG), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA), Eddie Pepperell (ENG), Joakim Lagergren (SWE), Andrew Dodt (AUS), Ben Evans (ENG), Russell Knox (SCO), Alexander Levy (FRA), Ian Poulter (ENG), Ross Fisher (ENG), Victor Dubuisson (FRA), Scott Jamieson (SCO), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (ESP), Mike Lorenzo-Vera (FRA), Fabrizio Zannotti (PAR)
71 - Thongchai Jaidee (THA),
73 - Ernie Els (RSA), Darren Clarke (NIR), Lee Westwood (ENG), Hadyn Porteous (RSA), Brandon Stone (RSA),
74 - Trevor Immelman (RSA)

More news from