Dubai Marathon: Bekele & Mergia set sights on course records

Dubai – Course records could well be under threat at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon when one of the best elite fields ever seen – including three-time Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele – takes to the streets on Friday (23) for the IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

Aselefech Mergia and Kenenisa Bekele (Photo: Giancarlo Colombo)
Aselefech Mergia and Kenenisa Bekele (Photo: Giancarlo Colombo)

The weather forecasters have been kept busy in recent days as Dubai has been beset by evening thunderstorms at the start of this week, but a different kind of storm awaits the city in the Gulf on Friday morning.

Both course records are targets in the race which has become firmly established among the world’s leading distance-running events. Ethiopia’s superstar Bekele headlines the men’s list which features 20 athletes with personal bests faster than 2:10, six of whom have run faster than 2:06.

The women’s field shows unprecedented depth at sub-2:28 level for a city marathon as no fewer than 23 women in the field have PBs faster than that mark. Aselefech Mergia of Ethiopia is the fastest on the start list with a PB of 2:19:31 and that, for good measure, is the women’s course record.

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