Runners of all ages, abilities and nationalities are already signing up for the 2018 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon – the Middle East’s biggest mass participation sporting event – as they prepare for a place on the start line of the Marathon, the 10km and the 4km Fun Run on Friday, January 26.
Registration for the event is done through the event’s website – www.dubaimarathon.org – and the three runs are already filling up with competitors from home and abroad.
Among the more than 30,000 runners that will line up across the three events will be groups of runners representing many companies and government bodies. It’s a category actively encouraged by the event organisers.
Since the Dubai Marathon launched group entries, the biggest participant in terms of runner numbers has been Dubai Holding, which has again thrown its support behind the event.
As well as tens of thousands of everyday runners and part-time athletes who make up the majority of the fields, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will again feature the elite athletes whose very presence and world-class finishing times have helped establish the race as one of the best in athletics.
Following Tamirat Tola’s new course record win in January this year, the average of the top ten times in the history of the Dubai Marathon is 2h:04m:36s making it the third-fastest in Marathon history behind only Berlin and London, while it is the second fastest Marathon in the world based on the average of the top ten results since 2010.
In the women’s race, the Dubai Marathon is the only Marathon in history to have three runners break a time of 2h:20m in the same race (2012).
In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Dubai Eye 103.8FM, Sport 360, Masafi Natural Water, Dubai Holding, Dubai Police and the RTA.
Running a full marathon under three hours is some feat but all the more impressive when it's your first at the age of 39.
It wasn't easy for Dubai-based Xavier Nunes though. The Portuguese had to go through intensive training over an 18-month period to prepare himself.
"From 36 to 40kms, it was really, really tough," says Nunes as he recalls his 42km run in Berlin.
"They call it the wall after kilometer 35, you pull the energy you don't know from where, just to finish the race."
Nunes has lived in Dubai for eight and a half years and while he was involved in sports as a child, he only decided to venture into marathon running last year.
Kenya’s Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge underlined his status as the world’s best current long-distance runner by winning the Berlin Marathon on Sunday, but missed the world record.
Kipchoge clocked an official time of two hours, three minutes 32 seconds after holding off the challenge of Ethiopia’s Guye Adola, who finished 14 seconds back on his debut at the distance (42.195km, 26.219 mi).
Ethiopia’s Mosinet Geremew finished third, clocking 2:06:12.
“The conditions were not easy, because of the rain, but fortunately there was not too much wind,” said Kipchoge.
In the women’s race, Kenya’s Gladys Cherono won in 02:20:23 with Ruti Aga of Ethiopia second at 0.18secs back and Valary Aiyabei of Kenya taking third at 0.30.
Heavy rain the night before and constant drizzle during the race meant the world record of 2:02.57, set in Berlin by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya in 2014, did not fall as expected.
However, there were surprises as both former world record holder Wilson Kipsang and last year’s winner Kenenisa Bekele dropped out after the halfway stage.
Bekele, who had targeted the world record, dropped off the lead group just after the halfway mark with laboured running and eventually failed to finish.
Kipsang suddenly stopped at the 30kms point and was clearly ill.
“I’m glad I beat Adola, I did not expect to fight against someone other than Bekele or Kipsang,” added Kipchoge, who was left to go head-to-head with Adola, who ran a superb race.
The 26-year-old Adola, who took bronze at the 2014 world half marathon championships, held the lead in the closing stages before Kipchoge took charge.
The 32-year-old Kipchoge, who won the London Marathon in a course record in April, has now won eight of his last nine marathons dating back to 2013.
With six kilometres to go, Adola threatened to claim a shock win when he made a break, but Kipchoge stayed in his wake, closing the 10-metre gap and regained the lead for the final two kilometres.
— SporEczacısı (@aysglbirlik) September 24, 2017