Dubai – Despite winning three marathons in 2014, defending champion Mulu Seboka of Ethiopia faces one of the toughest battles of her career as runners with more than 20 international marathon titles to their names look to steal her women’s crown at the 2015 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.
To be staged on January 23, the world’s richest marathon will see a star-studded field including winners of many of the world’s biggest long distance races including the New York, Berlin and Chicago Marathons and marathons in Frankfurt, LA, Toronto, Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
And with two-time Dubai champion Aselefech Mergia Medessa (2011 and 2012), 2012 Berlin Marathon champion Aberu Kebede Shewaye and 2011 New York Marathon winner Firehiwot Dado Tufa all gunning for the US$200,000 first prize, Seboka will probably need to run a new personal best if she is to make it two wins in a row over the streets of Dubai.
“It is easily one of the strongest women’s fields seen anywhere in any Marathon worldwide,” said Event Director Peter Connerton. “It’s wonderful to have Mulu back to defend her title after what was the best year of her career, winning marathons in Dubai, Canada and South Korea.
“However, both Aselefech and Lucy Kabuu have run personal bests of sub 2:20 at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon and will be the favourites alongside last year’s runner-up Meselech Melkamu. It promises to be quite a race in both the men’s and women’s marathon.”
Seboka’s win in 2014 was, to some extent, a surprise as while she was an established marathoner others had higher profiles and were regarded as likely favourites. But the 30-year old emerged triumphant in 2:25:01 in what proved to be an unbeaten year for the Ethiopian, also winning in Daegu and Toronto.
In South Korea she ran 2:25:23 and then a personal best of 2:23:15 in Canada in October.
It’s been a long road since her marathon debut in 2003 and a hardly headline-grabbing 2:43:30 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Five years later, she broke 2:30 and after winning the 2008 Mumbai Marathon in 2:30:04, she made the breakthrough in Toronto with 2:29:06 in 2008.
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, the 2015 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will feature the classic marathon as well as a 10km Road Race and 4km Fun Run.
In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, Adidas, Dubai Eye 103.8FM, Sport 360, Masafi, Dubai Holding, Dubai Police and the RTA.
Runners who would like to take part can still register online only at: www.dubaimarathon.org.