Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele in action (© Getty Images)
Three-time Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia will take part in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on 23 January, organisers of the IAAF Gold Label Road Race announced on Sunday (14).
The 32-year-old will be competing in just the third marathon of his career, following his victory in Paris last year in a course record of 2:05:04 and his fourth-place finish in Chicago in October in 2:05:51.
Bekele still holds the world records for the indoor and outdoor 5000m as well as the 10,000m. He has been world champion 18 times on the track and cross country and possesses three Olympic gold medals. He is the first and only athlete to be world indoor and outdoor, world cross-country and Olympic champion.
“I have been following the race for some time now and I know Dubai has a very flat course that produces fast times,” said Bekele. “Of course, it is not east to step up to the marathon distance and set records but I am looking forward to the challenge of lining up in Dubai next month. Hopefully, I can produce a very quick time.”
The 2015 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will see runners compete in the full marathon, the 10km road race and the 4km fun run. About 25,000 runners are expected across the three events with athletes of all ages, abilities and nationalities lining up alongside one of the biggest names in world sport.
Event director Peter Connerton believes Bekele’s appearance will fire up the crowds in the same manner as fellow Ethiopian great Haile Gebrselassie who competed for three years in Dubai from 2008 to 2010.
“Like Haile, Kenenisa has made the step up to the marathon distance after winning everything there is to win at both 5000m and 10,000m, indoor, outdoor and cross country,” he said.
“So far he has had a better start to his marathon career than both Haile and Paul Tergat. He has followed our race with interest for a few years now and has been keen to come and take his marathon experience to another level. We are proud he believes Dubai is the right venue for the next stage in what has been an outstanding running career.”
Organisers for the IAAF