FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dubai Marathon Report/Results
A torrid early pace put paid to a really fast time in Dubai on Friday
morning, and after three consecutive victories for the most famous
marathoner in the world, Haile Gebrselassie, it was the relatively unknown
David Barmasai of Kenya who won today's Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon,
On a temperate morning for the Emirate, just 21C with low humidity, it was
nevertheless a strong headwind in the second half of the race that robbed
Ethiopian Aselefech Mergia of the women's course record. She won in
2.22.45, five seconds outside her best (3rd in London 2010), and just three
seconds short of her compatriot, Berhane Adere's record of 2008. But first
place prize money of $250,000, for both winners, will go a long way towards
softening that disappointment.
The men took off in assault of Gebrselassie's world record 2.03.59, and a
group of 20, including race favourite Eliud Kiptanui of Kenya were within
reach for the first 15k, which took 44.38. But by halfway in 62.46, the
possibility had already gone, as had nearly half the contenders.
Shortly afterwards, pacemaker Stephen Kibet only had Kiptanui and Barmasai
for company, and when Kibet throttled back at his allotted 30k, and
Kiptanui shot away, the race looked settled. But the 21 year old, who had
run 2.05.39 in Prague last May suddenly clutched his side less than a
kilometre later, and dropped out, leaving Barmasai to struggle through the
final kilometres alone.
Despite his pace dropping considerably, from under three minutes per
kilometre to 3.38 by the final one, the 23 year old had done sufficient
damage to his pursuers, to maintain a minute advantage by the end.
This was Barmasai's third marathon, and his first trip outside Kenya. His
only previous claim to fame was in winning the Nairobi Marathon in 2.10.31,
at around 1600 metres (one mile) altitude last October.
Today's result seemed as much of a surprise to himself as to his
experienced opponents and the onlookers. "I didn't really expect to win,"
he said in the finish area, immediately after the race. "I was thinking to
finish in the top ten. That's why I kept behind the leading group up to
"I was afraid of Kiptanui, I was surprised to leave him behind, I thought
he'll come again later. Then I looked for him, and couldn't see him. It was
tough finding myself alone after 30k, and at 35k the wind was really
affecting me. But I'm happy to win on my first trip outside my country".
After two years of injury following his win in Chicago 2008(2.06.25), Evans
Cheruiyot rallied into the headwind, and finished second, in 2.08.17,
relegating Ethiopian Eshetu Wendimu to a third consecutive third place
here, this time in 2.08.54.
After winning a bronze medal in the IAAF World Championships in Berlin 18
months ago, Mergia said that she suffered, "a lot of leg problems". They
were still evident when she finished clutching her left thigh, which went
into spasm immediately afterwards.
But she had held the problems in check long enough to outpace the now
veteran Lydia Cheromei of Kenya, who had shocked the athletics world
exactly 20 years ago, when she won the world junior cross country title at
the tender age of 13.
"I was just a baby then," said a cheery Cheromei, who is now a mother of
five year old Faith. "I did not expect still to be running, at 33".
It was her fourth marathon, as it was for Mergia, who reckoned that but for
favouring her legs, she might have clocked closed to 2.20, a time she has
always looked capable of doing since her first marathon two years ago.
She eased away from Cheromei with two kilometres to run, and said through
an interpreter that it wasn't until another kilometre later that she knew
she would win. Cheromei clocked a personal best by close to three minutes,
with 2.23.01. And the Kenyan born former orienteer, Isabella Andersson took
another minute and a half off the Swedish record, finishing third in
Place/start no name /country time/prize in US$
1 18 David BARMASAI, KEN 2.07.18 250k
2 2 Evans CHERUYIOT, KEN 2.08.17 100k
3 6 Eshetu WENDIMU, ETH 2.08.54 50k
4 7 Deressa CHIMSA, ETH 2.09.08 25k
5 25 Stephen KOSGEI, KEN 2.09.27 15k
6 14 Berhanu BEKELE, ETH 2.09.54 14k
7 27 Emanuel SAMAL, KEN 2.10.27 13k
8 17 Adil ANANNI, MOR 2.11.15 12k
9 12 Dereje TESFAYE, ETH 2.13.26 11k
10 26 Alebachaw DEBAS, ETH 2.13.39 10k
1 W4 Aselefech MERGIA, ETH 2:22:45 250k
2 W10 Lydia CHEROMEI, KEN 2.23.01 100k
3 W8 Isabella ANDERSSON, SWE 2.23.41 50k
4 W6 Atsede HABTAMU, ETH 2.24.26 25k
5 W3 Atsede BAYISA, ETH 2.25.08 15k
6 W19 Diana CHEPKEMOI, KEN 2.26.53 14k
7 W11 Genet GETANEH, ETH 2.27.13 13k
8 W18 Werknesh KIDANE, ETH 2.27.15 12k
9 W7 Helena KIROP, KEN 2.27.41 11k
10 W17 Feysa BORU, ETH 2.30.23 10k