Getaneh Molla of Ethiopia and Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich won the 20th edition of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on Friday with both athletes producing spectacular course records that rank among the fastest times in the history of marathon running.
In excellent weather conditions, Ethiopian Molla clocked 2:03:34, achieving the first sub-2:04 time in Dubai. He improved the former course record – set in 2018 – by 26 seconds and became the sixth fastest marathon runner ever. It is also an unofficial world debut record by the 25-year-old.
Second-placed Herpassa Negasa also ran sub-2:04 with 2:03:40, making him the eighth fastest of all time, while Asefa Mengstu completed an all-Ethiopian podium with 2:04:24 for third place.
In a stunning women’s race, Kenya’s Chepngetich achieved the third fastest time in history with 2:17:08. Only Britain’s world record holder Paula Radcliffe and Kenya’s Mary Keitany have ever run faster as the 24-year-old smashed the course record by more than two minutes.
Underlining the quality of the field, Worknesh Degefa – the winner in Dubai in 2017 – broke the Ethiopian record by 15 seconds to become the fourth fastest runner ever in 2:17:41. Her compatriot Worknesh Edesa took third in 2:21:05.
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the event once again underlined its status as a world-class IAAF Gold Label marathon.
Molla smashing the course record on his marathon debut and Chepngetich’s duel with Degefa were the undoubted highlights. The Kenyan was having problems identifying her drinks’ bottles at feed stations, and regularly fell behind, which may have cost her the Kenyan/African record held by colleague Keitany, the second fastest in history with 2.17.01.
Molla said he did not know what to expect from his first marathon. “I certainly didn’t expect to run 2.03,” said the new champion. “I was hoping for maybe 2.05 or 2.06 so this is a great win for me.”
While the spoils were shared between Kenya and Ethiopia in the elite marathon, in the wheelchair category, there was a Swiss double with Marcel Hug and Sandra Graf winning in 1h:24m:09s and 1h:41m:03s respectively before the trophies were presented by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Sports Council deputy chairman Mattar Al Tayer and Standard Chartered UAE CEO Rola Abu Manneh.
As usual, more than 20,000 runners also took part in the associated 10km Road Race and 4km Fun Run as the Middle East’s biggest mass participation sporting event celebrated its 20th birthday in style. The event was streamed live with no rights restrictions and is available to watch on repeat at bit.ly/2019DubaiMarathon_Live.
With the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon just a few days away, captain of adidas Runners Dubai and five-time Guinness World Record holder Lee Ryan has provided some key tips and tricks for anyone preparing to tackle the 42.195 kilometres this weekend.
Ryan, who will be running the Dubai Marathon for the eighth time this year, secured another of his world records in 2018, running the fastest ever marathon while pushing a double stroller, in a time of three hours and 27 minutes.
This time he’ll be tackling the race on his own again, and we caught up with Ryan in preparation for Friday.
Having run so many marathons and half marathons, where does the motivation still come from?
In a weird way, I enjoy it. That does get a few funny looks when I say it. I do enjoy the process and the challenge.
I’ve been through a couple of ordeals in my life, so I enjoy the sense of direction.
Sometimes when I do finish a marathon, it can be the next start line. I enjoy knowing where I’m going and what the challenge is going to be. It’s that sense of achievement and also I hope to inspire my kids to do the same.
From all the marathons and world records, what has been your proudest achievement to date?
That’s a difficult one, but from the message that it portrayed I would probably have to say the record with my two girls in the double pram last year.
My main aim was to put my girls in the record books. Obviously kids are a product of their environment, and if the parents can show good health and activity then the children can only grow from that.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your role as the captain of adidas runners Dubai?
We’re part of a global community. There are 64 around the world, in most major cities across Europe and the US.
It’s down to me and the coaching team that all have different skillsets to bring a different conversation and view to the table, to show our passion for running.
People can use it as a community base to meet new friends and just grow their social circle through the passion and power of running.
What can runners do in the final couple of days before the Dubai Marathon to make sure they are in the best shape possible on race day?
It’s about allowing the body, and even more so the mindset, to get focused on what you have achieved so far.
Race day still makes you nervous, but you can only control what you can. Sleep is your best friend in the final few days.
Make sure you have some good food. It’s not about making up for any runs that you may have missed or weren’t as good as they should have been.
What’s your best advice to a first-time marathon runner?
You only get one chance to run your first marathon. It doesn’t matter where it is. It’s about embracing the day.
Make sure you open your eyes and take it all in. Many times people look back and can’t actually remember what happened or they only remember the pain.
Once you start running, take it as it comes and if it doesn’t go to plan and you need to walk a bit, take it in your stride and just try and finish strong to get that medal.
It’s a very early start for the Dubai Marathon. What’s the best way to prepare for the time?
Make sure you get there as early as possible, because that is one of the biggest stresses. Once you are there you can relax and set yourself up.
Try not to dress for how chilly it will be on the start line, because 5k into the race, you won’t feel that any more. The race day is all about having as much fun as you can.
Marathon running is as much about fancy dress, taking part and doing it for a good cause than it is chasing an elusive time and personal goal.
And Friday’s Dubai Marathon was no different as 30,000 runners took to the roads and tackled either the 42.195km marathon distance, 10km race or 4km fun run.
Here, we round-up some of the stories from the race. With so many feel good moments and stories, it’s difficult to track down them all – so email to be included in this piece: [email protected]
Among the runners was Casper Larsen, a 33-year-old employee benefits consultant, who came home in 03:58:59 despite running in a full suit.
He said: “I’m feeling very hot and tired but happy! You go through different emotions during the race, the first 10-15km is fine when everyone is cheering but when the temperature starts to rise you start to consider why you are doing this?”
Larsen is currently training for a 250km self-supported ultra endurance event in Morocco in April and felt like he wanted to test himself to the maximum before he takes on that challenge.
“I’ve run Dubai Marathon many times and I thought I might as well do something very different. I’ve seen online other marathons where it’s become a bit trendy to run in a suit.”
Michiel Schroeder caught the attention of many throughout the marathon course with his Fred Flintstone costume while 30-year-old Brian Keane carried a weighty backpack to make the marathon test even harder.
WELL DONE TEAM ANGEL WOLF!
Elsewhere, Team Angel Wolf – a CDA licensed non-profit entity which encourages the inclusion of people with disabilities and for society to embrace their own health – completed the marathon as five people pushed those with disabilities in chariots for almost four hours and 30 minutes.
“To be honest, I’m feeling very emotional as this is probably the first race I’ve done when it’s not just me and Rio (my son),” said Nick Watson, founder of Team Angel Wolf.
“Pushing the chairs and seeing other runners push other children has been three years of hard work to get to this day so the future is bright, thank you.”
About today … #TeamAngelWolf Pack Team in Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon (42kms – of 5 pushers/runners and 5 riders/people with disabilities, using 5 specialised running chairs, to cross the finish line TOGETHER) … We will write a proper full race report with all the photos and video very shortly (a tad tired tonight!) … but all we have to say for tonight: “Wow, what a very, very special day it has been, on so many levels … dreams really do come true! THANK YOU to all those that made today possible; we are truly grateful!” @dubaimarathon @dayfordubai @cda_dubai @dubaisc #dayfordubai #makeadifference #inclusion
Nike Run Club Dubai runners were out in force, with many people competing in the marathon and other runners pacing team-mates for sections of the race.
ADIDAS RUNNERS DUBAI
Loads of Adidas runners took to the city’s streets on Saturday in various races while pacers also helped club colleagues.
Head to Adidas Runners Dubai Instagram for more.
After living in the shadow of my first ever #marathon for more than a year, i returned to battle the #dubaimarathon #42km distance and cracked it with a sub 4 hour time of 3hours54mins. I destroyed all history of pain and cramps at the 30km plus mark and did what i was trained to do over n over again with #adidasrunnersdubai and that is #ALWAYSFINISHSTRONG . Thank you coach @leemryan @sophiehollfit and @peterbarron13 for all the support through training the last few months both mentally and physically. And a millions thanks to my support unit and cheer squad thru the race 🤗❤. #alhamdulillah for everything . The following will be better #inshaAllah this is just the beginning. #afroman is BACK on track. #dubaimarathon2018 #takechargedubai #takecharge #imneverdone #allrunnolimits #pureboostdpr #hitthisgroundrunning #yesar #marathon #afrorunner #liveinbeastmode #beatyesterday #allin #boostdubai #dubai #uae
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RAISING AWARENESS FOR AL JALILA FOUNDATION
Congratulations to all my Tarsus teammates for running either the 42.2k, 10k, or 4K distances at the Dubai Marathon. And our biggest accomplishment of raising over $5,000 for the Al Jalila Foundation! Team post-race celebration at Barrel 12. #aljalilafoundation #runtarsusrun #dubaimarathon #takechargedubai #standardcharteruae #celebrate #teamwork
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Angus MacKinnon ran for the Al Jalila Foundation in a gorilla costume, well played sir! Incredible effort!