Organisers of the 2015 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon have added teenage distance running talent Shure Demise to their elite field for the IAAF Gold Label Road Race on 18 October.
On 23 January this year, having just turned 19 two days before, the young Ethiopian raced to a fourth place finish at the Dubai Marathon, recording a stunning time of 2:20:59 in her marathon debut.
The result was a world junior best although the IAAF doesn’t have formal world junior records for the marathon.
“I used to watch Derartu Tulu on television,” Demise recalled. “Then I got motivated by her brilliant talent and wanted to be like her so I started running.Then, when I started running I got to know about (three-time Olympic champion) Tirunesh Dibaba. I heard on the TV that she was so famous, and an elite athlete of Ethiopia.”
Demise hopes the experience she has gained in racing in Dubai, followed by an 8th place finish at this year’s Boston Marathon, will help her as she prepares for the 2015 Toronto Waterfront Marathon although t is a race she has only heard about from some of her training partners in Ethiopia.
“I know that it is a big race and some of the most well-known athletes participate in it.” she added.
“I learned a lot about the techniques of running (in Dubai). Before this race, I didn’t know that water was taken (during the race) but in that race I saw and used it in Boston. I just want to set the Toronto course record and I want to go with that pace.”
Demise grew up in the southern part of Ethiopia in a town called Bore, in a fertile region known as Guji zone.
“My parents are farmers,” she explained, “and the countryside is green land where many cattle are found. My parents have 30 cattle.”
“There are 10 children in the family: five brothers and five sisters. My brother is a policeman and they shifted him to Addis where he works in police station. I lived with him at first but now I live alone in Addis.”
Like many Ethiopian distance runners, Demise was introduced to running at school where cross country is the main sport and where children all know the names of the leading Ethiopian runners.
As a 16-year-old she ran 33:24 in a 10km in Assella at 2430m. The result quickly attracted attention of coaches and officials.
She currently trains with the coach Gemedu Dedefo in a group that includes Aselfech Mergia, a three-time winner of the Dubai Marathon, and Tirfi Tsegaye.
The latter won the 2014 Berlin Marathon in 2:20:18 and was the second in the 2010 Toronto Waterfront Marathon as well as eighth in the recent IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2014.
In February 2014, Demise finished an impressive third in the junior women’s race at the well-known Jan Meda International Cross Country meeting.
Rather than compete on the track, which would be the natural progression, she decided to focus on road racing instead and a third place finish in the Rome-Ostia Half Marathon, with a time of 1:08:53, helped her decide to go straight to the marathon even at her early age.
“I saw many athletes being successful in marathon running so I wanted to proceed directly to the marathon. I want to become a number one well known athlete and to participate in the Olympics. Yes, with no question I want to represent my country.”
In Toronto she will line up against a strong women’s field which includes Kenya’s previously announced Sharon Cherop of Kenya, the course record holder at 2:22:43, and Canadian record holder Lanni Marchant.
Paul Gains (organisers) for the IAAF