Ethiopia again dominate Dubai Marathon as Mosinet Geremew and Roza Dereje claim victories

Mosinet Geremew led an Ethiopian sweep of the top 10 in the Dubai Marathon’s men’s race on Friday. Reem Mohammed / The National

The National- Mosinet Geremew led an Ethiopian sweep of the top 10 in the Dubai Marathon in a new course record time of 2 hours and 4 minutes on Frida morning

All the top five to cross the finishing line bettered the previous best time of the men’s race set by the 2017 winner Tamirat Tola, who had to settle for third place this time around.

Leul Gebresilase (2h:04m:02s) took second spot ahead of Tola (2:04:06), Asefa Mengstu (2:04:06) and Sisay Lemma (2:04:08) after a sprint finish to the finishing line.

Roza Dereje completed the Ethiopian double in the race for a seventh successive year by running away with the women’s event also in a new course record time of 2h: 19m:17s.

Feyse Tadese, the runner up, too lowered the 2012 record time of Aselefech Mergia (2:19:31) by clocking 2:19:30.

 

Yebrgual Melese (2:19:36) was third ahead of last year’s winner Worknesh Degefa (2:19:53) in another Ethiopian dominance of the race.

Geremew, who only knew he was racing in Dubai only two weeks ago said he was ready for the task.

Roza Dereje won the women’s race at the Dubai Marathon. Reem Mohammed / The National

“I knew I had a chance after around 41km into the race,” said the winner when asked at what point he thought he would win.

“As always, a race at this level, is very hard to win. The pacemakers had nicely set-up the race for an exciting finish. Anybody from the six of us could have gone on and won the race, and fortunately it was me.”

Tola who nearly fell at the 30km stage when a runner came across him at the water point said he was happy with the result.

“One of the runners came in front of me and bumped on my left leg,” he said. “I lost my balance but I don’t know if it had an impact on the result.

“I’m happy with my performance and the result anyway. It was a strong race and the best on the day won.”

The Kenyan pacemaking quartet Felix Kibitok, Barselius Kipyego, Benson Kipruto and Ronald Kipkoech breezed in front to pave the way for the Ethiopian runners.

Kibitok was the last to drop-out at the 30km stage to leave Tola in front but the lead kept changing with just six left in the lead as they approached the 40km mark.

At the sprint to the finish, Geremew proved the strongest. Gebresilase, running his first full marathon, tried to challenge but fell short.

“When you finish second in your first marathon there is no reason to be unhappy,” said Gebresilase.

“I don’t know what’s next for me. I’ll discuss my future races with my coach and follow his advice and intsructions.”

Dereje was thrilled with her performance in prevailing in the women’s race.

“Our race was closely grouped for a long way of the trip but I managed to draw away from the pack,” she said.

The winners of both the men and women’s marathon walked away with the cheques of US$200,000 (Dh734,000) apiece in the 19th staging of the event.

Marcel Hug, the Swiss nine-time world champion and double Paralympic gold medallist, was the first to win a prize on the day when he took the men’s wheelchair race.

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