Ethiopian star Dida to defend 'wonderful' Dubai Marathon crown in 2024

Defending Champion to lead strong women’s field at January 7 running showpiece

By Team KT

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Ethiopia’s Dera Dida, winner of the 2023 Dubai Marathon, will lead the women’s elite field when she returns for her title defence in Dubai on January 7. - Supplied photo
Ethiopia’s Dera Dida, winner of the 2023 Dubai Marathon, will lead the women’s elite field when she returns for her title defence in Dubai on January 7. - Supplied photo

Published: Thu 21 Dec 2023, 7:29 PM

Last updated: Thu 21 Dec 2023, 7:48 PM

Less than ten months after winning the 2023 Dubai Marathon, Ethiopian star Dera Dida has confirmed she will return to the UAE to defend her Dubai crown on January 7.

Earlier this year, Dida – wife of former Dubai Marathon winner and Marathon World Champion Tamirat Tola – stormed through with two kilometres remaining to take the women’s event in 2h:21:11 at EXPO City Dubai, while her brother-in-law Abdisa Tola made it a unique family double by clinching the men’s title.

But while Abdisa misses out on a Dubai title defence through injury, fellow adidas runner Dera Dida will be back on the start line on January 7 as she bids for a second successive title in the UAE, this time over the fast and flat roads around the iconic Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach Road area.

It’s familiar ground for Dida who competed over the route in both 2018 and 2020 finishing seventh and fifth respectively.

It is the first time since 2020 the event will be back at what has long been seen as its natural “home” and Dida will start as firm favourite following one of the most successful years of her running career.

Dera Dida, receives her Dubai Marathon winner’s trophy from Mattar Al Tayer, Deputy Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council. - Supplied Photo
Dera Dida, receives her Dubai Marathon winner’s trophy from Mattar Al Tayer, Deputy Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council. - Supplied Photo

In 2023, she recorded personal bests at both 10,000m and Half Marathon, while seven months after winning in Dubai, the 27-year-old Ethiopian lowered her marathon personal best to 2:19:24 in Berlin and is looking forward to maintaining her upward momentum over the classic distance.

“When I took the lead in Dubai, I was sure I’d win,” said Dida, a two-time Ethiopian National Champion at 5,000 and 10,000m and a two-time World Cross Country Championship silver medallist.

“It was a wonderful race and, of course, it was very emotional when I realised Abdisa had also won.”

Dubai Marathon Race Director Peter Connerton added: “It is always a great pleasure to welcome back our former champions.

"To have two family members win was a remarkable achievement and we are delighted to have Dera Dida return to Dubai for the first big international marathon of the new calendar year.”

Runners who would like to follow the elites and who have still not registered for the three-race event, can sign up for the Marathon, the 10km and the 4km Fun Run at dubaimarathon.org.

Holders of a valid UAE residence visa and UAE driving licence who register to run can also have the chance to win an EXEED RX, courtesy of EXEED by Al Ghurair, the renowned premium vehicle brand represented by AG Auto in the UAE.

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The 2024 Dubai Marathon is supported by adidas, Dubai Duty Free, EXEED by Al Ghurair, the Channel 4 Radio Network, the ITP Media Group, Bisleri Water, Biofreeze, the Dubai Sports Council, Dubai RTA, Dubai Police, Dubai Municipality and SIRO One Za'abeel, the first fully integrated Fitness + Recovery hotel in Dubai.


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