Geremew, Dereje triumph as Ethiopians dominate Dubai Marathon
Mosinet Geremew (left) won the men's race while Roza Dereje won the women's title.
Dubai - Had it not been for a minor blip which defending champion Tamirat Tola suffered while going for a water break, the world record of 2:02:57 held by Kenya's Dennis Kimetto, would certainly have been under threat
By Clareto Monsorate
Published: Fri 26 Jan 2018, 2:34 PM
Last updated: Sun 28 Jan 2018, 1:40 PM
Records are meant to be broken, and rightly so, as the 2018 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon witnessed seven course records - five in the men and two in the women - on a cool Friday morning in which Ethiopians completely dominated the proceedings in front of a partisan crowd.
Had it not been for a minor blip which defending champion Tamirat Tola suffered while going for a water break, the world record of 2:02:57 held by Kenya's Dennis Kimetto, would certainly have been under threat.
Tola eventually finished in third place with a time of 2:04:06 but the incident broke his momentum from which he never recovered and that gave his compatriot Mosinet Geremew, a last-minute entrant, a chance to cross the tape in 2:04:00 and pocket $200,000.
Debutant Leul Gebresilase was second in 2:04:02 in one of the most thrilling finishes in marathon history with Ethiopia grabbing the top 10 spots.
Such was the quality of the race that even though Tola beat his own 2017 winning course record time by five seconds, he just about scraped through to the podium.
The story was identical in the women's race with the top seven, all Ethiopians, stamping their class in the long-distance event.
Taking a cue from Mosinet, Roza Dereje too broke the course record with a time of 2:19:17 to become the seventh fastest woman in marathon history. The earlier course record of 2:19:31 was held by Aselefech Mergia which was set in 2012.
Feyse Tadese finished second in 2:19:30, while Yebrgual Melese Arage was third in 2:19:36. An exhausted Worknesh Degefa, last year's winner, placed fourth with a time of 2:19:53 and had to be wheeled away after the race.
Again, such was the standard of the competition, that although Degefa smashed her personal best by more than two minutes, yet she missed out on the top three.
For the first time in marathon history four women clocked sub-2:20 in one race.
In near perfect weather conditions, five runners were still in contention in the men's when the group entered the home straight but in the end it was the runner who entered the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon last who came in first.
"I was happy to run at the pacemaker's pace for the opening half," said Geremew after receiving his trophy from Major General Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithy, President of the General Authority for Sports, and Julian Wynter, Standard Chartered Bank UAE CEO.
"It was a good race with strong competition over a good course. When did I think I could win? I only thought about winning when I had one kilometre to go," he said.
A record field of more than 30,000 runners entered the event, which included races at 10km and 4km. The winner in the men's 10km Road Race was Samir Jouaher of Morocco (29m:31s) ahead of Ethiopians Birnanu Birhanu and Beyene Amsalu, while South Africa's Gerda Steyn (34:35s) took first place with Myriam Lamure of France and Colombia's Jinna Gar in second and third places respectively.
The event was held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council.
In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Dubai Eye 103.8FM, Masafi Natural Water, Dubai Holding, Dubai Police and the RTA.
Men's race: (All Ethiopians)
1. Mosinet Geremew 2:04:00
2. Leul Gebresilase 2:04:02
3. Tamirat Tola 2:04:06
4. Asefa Mengstu 2:04:06
5. Sisay Lemma 2:04:08
Women's race (All Ethiopians)
1. Roza Dereje 2:19:17
2. Feyse Tadese 2:19:30
3. Yebrgual Melese Arage 2:19:36
4. Worknesh Degefa 2:19:53
5. Haftamnesh Tesfay 2:20:13