FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: +44 7900 243460
The Kenyans may have paved the way for mass elite success in marathon
running over the past two decades, but the Ethiopians have taken up the
relay, and after their domination of the distance events in the Olympic
Games in Athens, they started the New Year in similar style, taking both
men's and women’s titles in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon today
On a relatively cool (18C) and cloudy morning in the Gulf State, Dejene
Guta bided his time while half a dozen of his Ethiopian colleagues sparred
with a similar number of their Kenyan neighbours for three-quarters of the
race, before Guta shot away with just over five kilometres to go, and won
by over half a minute, in two hours, ten minutes, 49 seconds. Pre-race
favourite, Willy Cheruyiot of Kenya won the sprint for second place, in
2.11.24, and another Ethiopian, Giday Amha was third two seconds behind. In
the best overall result for this race, now in its sixth year, six men beat
It was only Guta’s second race outside Ethiopia - his first marathon was in
Hokkaido on the same day as the Olympic race, and he was sick and only
managed 2.17. "I was worried about the Kenyans at the start today," said
Guta. "I didn't have a plan, but I felt strong going into the last five
kilometres, so I attacked. This is a big boost for me, it means I can get
to run in places like Boston and London."
His 20 year old colleague, Diribe Hunde won in her debut, in 2.39.08.
Hunde, who comes from Oromia, the same province as Olympic 10,000 metres
champion, Kenenisa Bekele – took her cue from the more experienced Delia
Asiago. The Kenyan took up the running at halfway, and was tracked by
Hunde, until the Ethiopian sprinted past to victory in the last 200 metres.
Asiago clocked 2.39.13, with Larisa Malikova of Russia third in 2.40.27.
Hunde said she had her brother, Reta Feyese, a former marathoner himself,
to thank for her win. "When I began to run well, when I was 17, he advised
me to target the marathon," she said. The advice paid off, to the tune of
$15,000 for her win, while Guta, who got a bonus for breaking 2.12,
This was the biggest race so far in the event's history, with 600 runners
in the full marathon, while 10,000 contested a 10k race and a 3k fun-run.
# # #