FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A RACE AS WELL AS A CHASE IN DUBAI
While Haile Gebrselassie's world record attempt in the Standard
Chartered Dubai Marathon on Friday has inevitably grabbed the
headlines, the women's race should be a far more competitive affair.
Former world track champion, and Ethiopian marathon record holder,
Berhane Adere faces her colleague, last year's winner Askale Magarska,
leading European Olivera Jevtic of Serbia, and Kenyan born
Netherlander, Lornah Kiplagat, reigning world cross and half-marathon
A recent convert to the marathon, just two years ago, Adere, 34 started
with two national records, the second of which, 2.20.42 in Chicago 06
still stands. But it was the defence of her Chicago title in torrid
conditions last year, which earned her both kudos and scores of new
fans, in a finish which she names as her favourite moment in a lengthy
Romanian marathon debutante, Adriana Pertea had a clear lead in the
last kilometre and began celebrating what looked like an inevitable
victory. But while she was blowing kisses to the crowd on the right
side of the broad finishing stretch, Adere was charging up the left
side, and snatched the victory. "I stayed on the left deliberately, so
she wouldn't know I was there," Adere said with relish today
(Thursday). "I was so happy".
And she'd be almost as happy to snatch the $250,000 on offer for the
winner in Friday's race, which begins 0700 locally (0300gmt). But
she'll have tougher opposition than her compatriot, the men's national
record holder with a world record 2.04.26, Gebrselassie.
"It doesn't matter who's running. As long as it's not windy," she said
of the weather, which is showing distinct improvement after the unusual
floods of the past week.
Adere's colleague Askale could cause an upset. Her solo run here last
year, when she demolished the course record, with 2.27.19 was very
impressive, as was her follow up victory in Paris less than three
months later, with a personal best 2.25.07.
Askale has had three victories, two seconds and two thirds in her eight
marathons, the only major blemish being at the World Championships in
Osaka, when an unwise decision to run depsite a chest infection caused
her to finish 22nd in 2.38.01.
A native of Bekoji, the same area as Kenenisa Bekele, Asakale said, "I
worked hard to win last year, and I hope to do the same this year".
Jevtic has had a hard time since winning her ‘home' marathon in
Belgrade last year. She limped home with a leg injury that saw her
hospitalised and taking two months complete rest. The injury then
recurred while she was preparing for the 10,000 metres in Oskaka. So
this is her first big test in nine months. She was first European in
successive championship marathons, in the World Championships in Paris
03, and the Olympics in Athens 04, but will need to be op optimum form
to repeat that feat against Kiplagat, who switched from Kenya to the
Netherlands in almost five years ago.
Kiplagat, whose best of 2.22.22 came with a fourth place in Osaka 03,
concedes that Adere is the favourite in a marathon. Despite stories of
political unrest threatening her training camp in Kenya, she said, "It
wasn't a big problem for my preparations". She also underlined that she
won't be defending her world cross title in Edinburgh in March, and
that concern about the weather in Beijing has caused her to rethink,
and she will probably run the Olympic 10,000 metres. "The (Olympic)
marathon is for 2012," she added.