FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mighty Merga Set For Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon Debut
Dubai (UAE): Flying Ethiopian Deriba Merga will be looking to underline his
growing racing maturity when he joins a powerful line-up at the Standard
Chartered Dubai Marathon on January 27.
Merga's rise to international prominence saw him win the Boston Marathon in
2009 as well as claiming a fourth place finish at the Beijing Olympics in
2008. But it's that result in China that still grates with the 31 year-old,
who admits his sheer passion for leading a race arguably cost him an
"I love to run at the front but in Beijing I set off far too quickly," he
said with a smile after confirming his participation in the 2012 Standard
Chartered Dubai Marathon. "It's something I have been working on and I'll
be paying close attention to better pace management in Dubai."
With a marathon personal best of 2h:06m:38s set in London in 2008, Merga
will be among the quickest men in a field that also feature five time Major
winner Martin Lel of Kenya. And after winning the 2011 Half Marathon in Ras
Al Khaimah, the Ethiopian is keen on taking another step up in the UAE and
trying his hand at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, the region's
first IAAF Gold Label race.
"Speaking to Deriba in Ethiopia last month, it was obvious how keen he is
to compete in Dubai," said Event Director Peter Connerton, who continues to
pull together a world-class field of elite runners for the $1 million race.
"He has waited for this chance for a long time and he is determined to
improve on his personal best and challenge for the title."
Staged under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,
Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, and under the
aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon
will see the field start from outside The Pavilion Downtown Dubai opposite
the Burj Khalifa.
For Merga is it will be yet another chapter in a story that has taken him
from relative poverty to international acclaim. "I grew up helping my
parents with farming and also going to school," he said. "I didn't have
much joy as a child - it was a hard life but running became my hope in a
"I woke up before 6am for training and would go on an empty stomach, train
hard and then go to school for the whole day without eating. I would then
go to the farm to tend to the cattle and might not eat until later in the
evening. I tried to go to school, but I could not. It became a choice
between training and school and I chose training."
After winning a few more races in his home town of Wellega, Merga moved to
Addis Ababa in 2005 and soon realised that it was distance running that
could help him improve his life. He made his marathon debut in Boston in
2006 and made a name for himself at home by winning the 2006 Great
Ethiopian Run - Africa's largest 10km race - to confirm his status as one
of the country's brightest young talents.
If Merga can curb his infectious enthusiasm - "when I lose it's due to a
lack of patience" - then Dubai could well see a new star light up the
Marathon world on January 27.
The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is supported by The Dubai Sports
Council, Dubai Holding, "Official Outfitter" adidas, Emaar, Dubai Eye 103.8
FM, Sport 360, TNT, Fitness First, Plan B and by government departments
Dubai Police, RTA, Dubai Municipality DHA and the Dubai Ambulance Services.
Runners looking to compete in the Marathon, the 10km or the 3km Fun Run can
register online at www.dubaimarathon.org.