After a stunning race in 2018 that ensured the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon would end the year as number one in the world in terms of race results, the 20th anniversary of the Middle East’s biggest mass participation sporting event gets underway on the streets of the emirate on Friday.
Twelve months ago, two course records and historic finishes in the men and women’s events again underlined the region’s only IAAF Gold Label Marathon as one of the world’s premier races. And on Friday a powerful field will assemble for what is sure to be another classic battle over the 42.195km distance that runs through Jumeirah.
Staged under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and held under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the Dubai Marathon will see world-class athletes take on a course that is arguably the flattest and fastest in the sport of long-distance running.
Among the elites to look out for: Ethiopian Guye Adola who clocked the fastest ever Marathon debut time in Berlin in 2017 (2:03:46), fellow countryman and current Seoul Marathon champion Asefa Mengstu (PB 2:04:06), 2015 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon winner Lemy Berhanu (2:04:33) and Swiss athlete Tadesse Abraham.
In the women’s field, Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich – a two-time winner at the Istanbul Marathon – boasts the fastest personal best time of 2:18:35 but will face a strong challenge from former Dubai winner Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia (2:19:53), and a fellow Kenyan in the shape of the highly-experienced Sharon Cherop (2:22:28).
“This will be the 20th time we have staged the Marathon in its current format and I’ve no doubt the athletes will once again provide us with a race worthy of the occasion,” said Event Director Peter Connerton.
“Last year saw new course records in both the men and women’s races, while we had seven men finish in sub 2:05 and four women in sub 2:20. Those were both unique results in marathon history and emphasised the depth of quality in the fields we put together in Dubai.”
Over 1,000 volunteers will be on call along that route when the wheelchair athletes and the elites tackle the course at 5.55am and 6am respectively, before the mass runners in the Marathon hit the road at 7am, followed by the 10km runners at 8.30am and the 4km Fun Run entrants at 10.30am.
And such is the demand from a global audience for a race that provided the best Marathon race results in 2018, this Friday’s race will be streamed live through an embedded feed on the event’s official website (dubaimarathon.org) and on YouTube.
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