FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HAILE IN DUBAI MARATHON REPORT
Dubai, Friday, January 21, 08.00gmt
Haile Gebrselassie won the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon for the third
time in a row this morning (Friday), clocking 2.06.09, and again raking in
$250,000, the richest prize in marathoning.
But a back problem, which required intensive pre-race physiotherapy, ruled
out a world record attempt from the start, and when two of his lesser known
compatriots – Chala Dechase and Eshetu Wendimu - caught him in the final
stages of the race, it looked like a massive upset was on the cards.
But the experience of close to 20 years of record breaking pulled Gebre
through to his eighth victory in ten completed marathons, with an average
time of 2.05.40, easily the most consistently excellent marathoner in
history, all capped by his superlative world record of
2.03.59 from Berlin 2008.
Dechase was second in 2.06.33, a personal best by two minutes, and Wendimu
was third, the same as last year, but this time two minutes faster in a
personal best 2.06.46. Their prizes were $100,000 and $50,000 respectively.
"This night was not a good night for me," said Gebrselassie, "I slept in a
wrong position, on my stomach, and when I woke up, I knew I had a problem,
it was not good. I called my physiotherapist, and he came and cracked my
back, and said, 'what have you done?'
"I was surprised at how humid it was at the start, but I still tried to run
fast, but at halfway, I decided just to win the race. When the pacemakers
dropped at 30k, I tried to go, but I couldn't change a gear, so I waited
for the second group, and just tried to win. I heard the crowd and knew
where the finish was, and I was able to win.
"This is not an indication I'm old, I still think the world record can be
broken here, but these things happen".
The upset was reserved for the women's race. An Ethiopian won, as expected,
but it was Mametu Daska rather than favourites, Bezunesh Bekele, who was
fourth, or Askale Magarsa, who finished sixth.
A group of eight reached halfway together, but then began to break up, with
only Daska, debutante Aberu Shewaye and last year's third placer, Kenyan
Helena Kirop left in contention at 35k. A kilometre later, Kirop was
dropped, and Daska and Shewaye continued their struggle until less than two
kilometres from home.
Despite being violently sick in the finishing straight, Daska held onto the
50 metres lead she had forged in the last kilometre, to collapse across the
finish line, in 2.24.18, another personal best, ahead of Shewaye's debut
clocking of 2.24.26. Kirop was again third, in 2.24.54, a personal best for
her. The prize money was the same as for the men.
Conditions had been more clement than expected, the humidity dropped as the
race progressed, and the temperature only rose a degree from 17C
(62F) between start and finish. And although the direct sun will have made
it uncomfortable for the runners in the second part of the race,
Gebreselassie has to add the misfortune of a bad back to the
overenthusiastic start two years ago – a first half in 61.45, well under
world record pace – and a downpour last year, making it a hat trick of
horrors affecting an record attempt, in contrast to the much more
satisfying victory treble.
Place bib no name country time $
1 HAILE Haile GEBRSELASSIE ETH 2.06.09 250K
2 DECHASE Chala DECHASE ETH 2.06.33 100K
3 WENDIMU Eshetu WENDIMU ETH 2.06.46 50K
4 ABIYOTE Abiyote GUTA ETH 2.09.03 25K
5 TULU Debele TULU ETH 2.09.43 15K
6 CHELANGA Abraham CHELANGA KEN 2.10.28 14K
7 YIRDAW Dejene YIRDAW ETH 2.10.50 13K
8 MUCHERU Leonard MUCHERU KEN 2.11.08 12K
9 209 Japhet KOSGEI KEN 2.11.20 11K
10 MEKONNEN Yimane MEKONNEN ETH 2.12.39 10K
1 DASKA Mametu DASKA ETH 2.24.18 250K
2 SHEWAYE Aberu SHEWAYE ETH 2.24.26 100K
3 KIROP Helena KIROP KEN 2.24.54 50K
4 BEZUNESH Bezunesh BEKELE ETH 2.26.05 25K
5 ANDERSSON Isobella ANDERSSON/SWE 2.26.52 15K
6 ASKALE Askale MAGARSA ETH 2.27.29 14K
7 TADESSE Tedesse YESHIMEBET ETH 2.27.45 13K
8 GETANEH Genet GETANEH ETH 2.30.23 12K
9 TAFA Woyshinet TAFA ETH 2.32.06 11K
10 DIRIBA Shuru DIRIBA ETH 2.32.36 10K