Lelisa Desisa

Lelisa Desisa

Dubai - It was Ethiopia all the way as they swept the board in both the men’s and women’s races at the 14th Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon – anIAAF Gold Label Road Race – on a foggy Friday morning (25).

Lelisa Desisa, 23, only got away from his rivals in the final 200 metres but the marathon debutant won in 2:04:45, the 13th fastest time in history. With four other men close behind, this was the first marathon in history to feature five men going under 2:05.

Desisa’s colleague, and long-time race leader, Berhanu Shiferaw was second in 2:04:48 – a world age-19 best. Another compatriot, veteran Tadesse Tola, clocked a personal best 2:04:49 in third with yet another Ethiopian, Endeshaw Negesse, fourth in 2:04:52. Kenyan debutant Bernard Koech finished fifth in 2:04:53.

Women’s Race

In contrast, the women’s race lived up to predictions in all but the finishing time.

Tirfi Tsegaye was the heavy favourite after her victory in Paris last year and then second place in Berlin last October in 2:21:19.

She was always part of the leading group and, by 30 km, she was out on her own. Although easing off in the final stages, she still won by close to 20 seconds.

Tirfi Tsgaye (Getty Images)

Tirfi Tsgaye (Getty Images)

“I came with two aims,” said Tsegaye, “to win, and to run under 2:20. I was determined to push in the second half of the race, but by that time, it had become very humid, and it was affecting me. So I’m happy to win, but unhappy I didn’t break 2:20. I’ll have to come back next year, and try again.”

Her colleagues, Ehitu Kiros and Amane Gobena gained some ground on her in the last five kilometres, Kiros coming home second in 2:23:39 with Gobena third in 2:23:50 as Ethiopian runners filled the first six places.

Leading results: 

1 Lelisa Desisa (ETH) 2:04:45
2 Berhanu Shiferaw (ETH) 2:04:48
3 Tadese Tola (ETH) 2:04:49
4 Endeshaw Negesse (ETH) 2:04:52
5 Bernard Koech (KEN) 2:04:53
6 Nicholas Kipkemboi (KEN) 2:06:33
7 Dadi Yami (ETH) 2:07:55
8 Mike Kigen (KEN) 2:08:24
9 Habtamu Assefa (ETH) 2:08:28
10 Gemechu Biru (ETH)

1 Tirfi Tsgaye (ETH) 2:23:23
2 Ehitu Kiros (ETH) 2:23:39
3 Amane Gobena (ETH) 2:23:50
4 Aheza Kiros (ETH) 2:24:30
5 Belaynesh Oljira (ETH) 2:25:01
6 Shitaye Bedasa (ETH) 2:25:47
7 Isabellah Andersson (SWE) 2:26:05
8 Abebech Afework (ETH) 2:27:08
9 Beata Naigambo (NAM) 2:27:54
10 Misaki Katsumata (JPN) 2:30:42

Source: IAAF.org