FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BRITAIN'S ADOPTED MARATHON MAN TARGETS
EURO PLACE AT STANDARD CHARTERED DUBAI MARATHON
Dubai (UAE): A decade after fleeing Ethiopia, Britain's current fastest
marathon man will come face-to-face again with Haile Gebrselassie when the
2010 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon hits the streets of Dubai On January
Tomas Abyu may have swapped the altitude and heat of Ethiopia for the
lowlands and rain of Manchester but the British runner retains all the
characteristics of Ethiopian runners and is counting the days until he once
again meets the sporting legend in the world's richest marathon.
Abyu and Gebrselassie, arguably the world's greatest ever distance runner,
were born just 25 miles apart and in 2007 Abyu returned to his native
country to train with the little emperor. "Haile is my hero," says the 31
year-old who will hope to continue to make the progress required to join
the ranks of the world's best and inspire an adopted nation not renowned
for producing male marathon champions.
A time of 2h:10m:37s in a race in Dublin in 2007 was the fastest posted by
a British runner in a decade and he is determined to use the Dubai event as
a springboard into the Great Britain team for the 2010 European
Championships. "It would be so big for me to represent the country," he
For the adopted Mancunian - he is a big fan of Manchester United and former
star Cristiano Ronaldo - it would be a remarkable turnaround just ten years
after escaping his native Ethiopia where his father was killed in a civil
"It was the continuation of 30 years of fighting," said Abyu, who was
living in the central Ethiopian town of Arsi at the time. "My father was a
farmer - an innocent person - when he was killed. As the government was
arresting people at the time I had no choice but to escape the country."
After being moved around the country by road, Abyu was put on a ship and
arrived in the UK in 1999. In April 2000, he was granted full asylum and
six years ago, he received British citizenship. His first ever appearance
at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will give him a chance to once
again run alongside Gebrselassie just months after finishing in 13th place
behind the legend in Berlin.
"We are delighted to provide an opportunity for Tomas to try and get into
the Great Britain team for the European Championship," added Peter
Connerton, Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon Event Director. "With a flat
straight course and ideal weather conditions, the Dubai route may prove
ideal for him."
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice
President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, and staged under
the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the Standard Chartered Dubai
Marathon will accept registrations up to the end of December either at any
Dubai branch of Fitness first or online at www.dubaimarathon.org.
The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is supported by Dubai Holding, Dubai
Sports Council, The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina, ARN
and DMI, TNT, Fitness First, Men's Fitness, Vittel Water, RTA, Dubai
Municipality and the Dubai Emergency Services.