FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CITIUS, ALTIUS, FORTIUS
Dubai puts a different slant on the Olympic motto of citius, altius,
fortius. Development was dynamic, the bust was bigger, as was the bail-out,
and the towers are taller. Now, in the wake of Monday's opening of the Burj
Khalifa, rising more than 800 metres over the desert floor, the emirate
awaits the arrival of Haile Gebrselassie, fastest man in the world at the
Inside a decade, the upcoming Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon (January
22) has gone from a backwater event to one of the world's fastest races.
That says race director Peter Connerton is thanks to several factors.
"Standard Chartered coming in as title sponsor half a dozen years ago put
us on a firm basis, and Dubai Holding putting up a million dollars prize
money (with a $1m bonus for a world record) two years ago helped us to get
Haile on board."
"Not only has he given us two great races, the publicity has helped our
development. Our participation has doubled since his first run two years
ago. I never used to see people running in the street, now I see folks
"We're delighted that he's coming back again, and hopefully it'll be third
time lucky. He went too fast in the first half two years ago, and ran the
second fastest in history at the time (2.04.53), and last year the bad
weather ruined his record attempt. But he still ran the eight fastest
Principal opponents this year, Sammy Korir (2.04.56), Tesfaye Tola
(2.06.57) and Joshua Chelanga (2.07.05) will hardly be heartened that,
despite approaching his 37th birthday (April 18), Haile's speed does not
appear to be diminishing. Evidence of which was victory in the New Year's
8k Silvesterlauf in Trier, Germany, in 22.23.
If the men's race turns out to be a procession, headed by Gebre again
attacking his 2.03.59 world record, the women's event threatens to be
highly competitive. It features winners from the last three years, Bezunesh
Bekele (2.23.09), Berhane Adere (2.20.42), and Askale Magarska (2.21.31,
all of Ethiopia).
Bekele disposed of Adere in short order in last year's race (2.24.02 to
2.27.47), and the 26 year old has asked for a pace to deliver her to a
sub-2.20 clocking, which if successful would see her replace the veteran
Adere as national record holder.
With last year's third placer Helena Kirop of Kenya, and two more
Ethiopians, Genet Getaneh and Eyerusalem Kuma, all of whom beat Adere in
2009, this will be the race to rank alongside the record chase.