The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on 25 January, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, will see Kenya's Moses Mosop and Ethiopia’s Yemane Tsegay will battle for supremacy again, just like they did at the ABN Amro Marathon Rotterdam earlier this year.
Mosop is the second fastest marathon man in history with his 2.03.06 when finishing second in Boston last year and went on to win in Chicago later in the year, but he had to give best in Rotterdam back in April to Tsegay, who won in the Dutch city in 2.04.48.
Tsegay, fourth in the 2009 IAAF World Championships marathon, has no fewer than eight sub-2.10 times to his credit but will be worried about more than just Mosop as Kenya’s Martin Lel will also be on the start line.
A three-time winner in London, and twice in New York, Lel failed to finish on his Dubai debut last year but his impressive credentials coupled with a best of 2.05.15 suggests that no one will underestimate him.
Sadly, Ethiopia’s 2012 Dubai champion Ayele Abshero, who clocked a course record 2:04:23 on his debut and led a quartet of runners under 2.05 last January, is currently injured and so cannot defend; but with 13 men having run under 2.08, and another five under 2.10, Dubai has in a very short time established itself as one of the highest quality fields in the world of marathon running.
“Last year’s results will be hard to beat but we will once again put a field together that will attempt to achieve results in depth and not just a fast winning time,” commented race director Peter Connerton.
“In addition, we are giving many young debutants the opportunity to challenge and surprise as Abshero did last year. Once again we will try to set the pace for the coming Marathon season”.
One such debutant is Ethiopia’s Ali Abdosh, who placed sixth in the 2009 World Championships 5000m but who hasn’t quite lived up to his early track promise and is moving up in distance. In addition, the Kenyan duo of Bernard Koech and Mike Kigen, and the Ethiopian pair of Lelisa Desisa and Tujuba Beyu, have all run under the hour for the half marathon.
All the runners will be chasing the single biggest race prize in the world of marathon running, a first place cheque for $250,000. Overall, there is a $1,000,000 pot, split equally between men and women.
In the women’s race, Ethiopia’s 2011 and 2012 winner Aselefech Mergia is injured so her Ethiopian colleagues Tirfi Tsegay, Mamitu Daska and Koren Jelela will be favourites to lift the $250,000 first prize in the women’s race.
Daska won Dubai in 2010 while Jelela won in Toronto last year with 2.22.43 but, with even better form, Tsegay won Paris last April in 2.21.40 and followed that up with second place in Berlin three months ago, when she crossed the line in 2.21.19.
Organisers for the IAAF