Road running powerhouse Ethiopia bagged the top five positions in the men’s section and the top nine spots in the women’s category in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on Friday.
In conditions conducive for a marathon, the runner friendly flat course brought out the fastest overall timings worldwide for the second straight year.
This year as per the official online registration 30,900 runners were scheduled to take part. Last year nearly 20,000 participants took part.
In the process, Ethiopia introduced to the world another great in the making, when the 18-year-old debutant here, Tsegaye Mekonnen Asefa, crossed the finish line in Jumeirah in 2 hours 4 minutes and 32 seconds, well ahead of team-mates Markos Geneti Guteta and Girmay Birhanu Gebru, who were both a minute adrift off the winning time.
Tsegaye, who was running his first ever fully serious international marathon after specialising in the half marathon in recent months, also returned the best time ever for a junior in the world.
The youngster broke the unofficial world junior record by 1m and 35sec and also registered the second fastest time ever in the Dubai event.
“The first 30km was well paced and competitive but after our main pace maker reduced his pace due to a thigh strain, I was all alone for the final stages, which definitely must have slowed me down a lot,” said Tsegaye, who now plans on buying a car and a house for his high altitude training in Ethiopa with his $200,000 first prize money.
Mula Seboka Seyfu led the Ethiopian rush to the podium in the women’s category with a 2:25:01 effort to push aside her team-mates, and pre-event favourites, Meselech Melkamu Haileysus (2:25:23) and Firehiwot Dado Tufa (2:25:53) into the silver and bronze berths.
“The first half was a bit slow at the beginning but by the 37km-38km stage, I was able to assert myself better and keep up the pressure,” said Mula.
Mula added: “The money – $200,000 is a lot — and I have to discuss with my husband before deciding on exactly what we will do with it. But, I know one thing for sure — a portion will be set aside for orphans in Ethiopia who have to have some help in their lives.” Read More on http://www.khaleejtimes.com
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