Four years after clocking a course record in Dubai, Ethiopia’s Ayele Abshero will return to the scene of his greatest triumph on the roads when he lines up at the 2016 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on 22 January, organisers of the IAAF Gold Label Road Race announced on Sunday (27).
In 2012, the then 21 year-old surprised a world-class field and clocked the stunning time of 2:04:23 to win the Dubai Marathon on his debut over the classic distance.
Not only was it a course record for the Dubai race, it was also at the time the fastest debut marathon and the fourth fastest marathon ever, on a record-legal course. It also remains his personal best.
Abshero, who celebrates his 25th birthday on Monday, did not reach the same heights in his five subsequent marathons and he failed to finish the London 2012 Olympic Games marathon, but he has still been a consistent high-level competitor and added third and fourth-place finishes at the London Marathon, in 2013 and 2014 respectively, to his running CV.
“Ayele’s victory and course record was a highlight in what was an amazing year for the Dubai Marathon in 2012,” said event director Peter Connerton.
“Never before in marathon history had more than three men broken 2:05 on a legal course yet that year four men broke that mark here in Dubai. We bettered that in 2013 when five men ran sub-2:05 but Ayele’s race – and the fastest marathon debut ever – are certainly among the race’s historical highlights.”
The 2016 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will offer a slightly new course for Abshero to get to grips with.
In 2012, the young Ethiopian started and finished his race in downtown Dubai whereas in 2016 he will join the other elite runners at the start line outside the Dubai Police Academy.
Abshero began running in order to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Tessera, who is four years his senior and was three times a representative at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships from 2003-05.
The younger sibling enjoyed his first opportunity representing Ethiopia by finishing second in the junior event at the 2008 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. A year later he claimed gold in the same event in Jordan.
He quickly became an accomplished road runner, his potential heralded by clocking 59:42 in the 2011 Den Haag Half Marathon, which remains his personal best.
Abshero’s recent results have been more modest in the past 18 months, although he finished third in 2:08:53 at the Gyeongju Marathon in Korea 11 weeks ago, but he still has a strong chance to be the first man to regain his title in Dubai.
Phil Minshull and organisers for the IAAF