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
Two-time UAE Olympian Betlhem Desalegn Belayneh is targeting a fourth Dubai Women's Run title as she is set to return to action next month for the first time in more than a year.
The Ethiopian-born Emirati runner sustained a hamstring injury in Belgium last July, which forced her to withdraw from her 1500m heat at Rio 2016.
Speaking ahead of the Dubai Women's Run - set to take place on November 17 - the 25-year-old said: "It will be my first time back. I've won this race three times and I'm excited to be here. I'm so happy to represent my country."
Although Desalegn had been sidelined for 13 months, she's been training away from the track at her base in Addis Ababa.
The four-time Asian champion has moved away from months of gym work to running on the road as she looks to build up her stamina ahead of key races in the new year.
DSC announces the launch of the Dubai Women’s Run 2017, in a press conference held today, which is expected to get over 10000 female runners pic.twitter.com/cyKCPUwlSS
— مجلس دبي الرياضي (@DubaiSC) September 19, 2017