Ethiopian breaks Dubai Marathon course record, as tens of thousands set their own marks

&NCS_modified=20170122052523&MaxW=640&imageVersion=default&AR-170129967Ethiopian breaks Dubai Marathon course record, as tens of thousands set their own marks

DUBAI: A course record was set by Ethiopian runner Tamirat Tola in the Dubai Marathon on Friday morning.

Tola crossed the line in a personal best of 2 hours, 4 minutes and 11 seconds, a record for the race in the men’s category.


The record beats Ayele Abshero’s time of 2 hours, 4 minutes and 23 seconds in 2014.

“I could have made a bid to break Dennis Kimetto’s marathon world record of two hours, two minutes and 57 seconds if my compatriot Kenenisa Bekele was in the race towards the finish,” he said. “But Bekele was forced out after being tripped at the start, and I ran alone for the final 10 kilometres. If Bekele was with me, I think a time of under 2:03 would have been possible.

“I tried to chase the world record until the 35km, but after 35km, I started feeling a bit tired.”

Thousands of people took part in the marathon, which kicked off at 6:30am for the main race, 9am for the 10km and 11am for the fun run.

Runners and visitors alike enjoyed live music, family gatherings, food stalls and loud cheers across Umm Suqeim road.

The marathon is the largest mass participation event in the Middle East, with this year’s edition including more than 30,000 runners of all ages and nationalities.

Grant Beerling, a 52-year-old Briton who had been running for nine years, was a happy man after completing the marathon in 2 hours, 50 minutes and 21 seconds.

“This is my second year of running the marathon and I am really proud of myself because I performed poorly last year,” he said. “I found it to be a lot more organised this year compared to the previous one.

“Today, things are looking so much organised and in control.”

Yasmin Omari and Lujain Bawazir took over an hour to cross the 10km race.

“We are happy with our performance,” they said. “It was fun.”

Ms Bawazir said it should have started earlier because of the hot morning weather.

“Heat is not good for the runners, especially for amateur ones,” said the 24-year-old Indonesian.

Ms Omari was glad to see so many women participating.

“It’s so heartening to see,” said the 26-year-old British national. “They are of almost every age groups and nationalities. I saw a mother running along with her pram and babies and a girl as young as six running with her grandmother. It is such a beautiful sight.”

It was the first participation for French siblings Alex and Malesia Ortega.

“We are loving every bit of it,” said Mr Ortega, 17. “It is such a festive atmosphere all around and a beautiful sunny day, too.”

Eva Jacquiline, a 12-year-old French girl who won third prize in the 10km race, finished in only 52 minutes. “I’m going to celebrate my performance tonight by organising a barbecue party at home,” she said.

Mule Wasihun ranked second in the main race, while Sisay Lemma, came in third to complete an Ethiopian clean sweep of the podium.

Ethiopia had a 1-2-3 in the women’s race as well, with Dubai debutant Worknesh Degefa securing the biggest win of her career with a time of 2 hours, 22 minutes and 36 seconds. Shure Demise came in second, 22 seconds behind, while Yebrgual Melese was third.

Since its launch in 2000, more than 200,000 runners have taken part in the marathon.

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