Defending Champions Tola and Degefa to Lead Ethiopian Team in Dubai Marathon

Tamirat Tola and Worknesh Degefa (photo:

Defending Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon champions Tamirat Tola and Worknesh Degefa will lead a large Ethiopian team for the IAAF Gold Label road race tomorrow.


Twelve months ago, the Ethiopian pair dominated in Dubai with Tola setting a course record of 2:04:11 – currently the 10th-fastest marathon time in history – and Degefa recording one of the fastest debuts in history with her winning time of 2:22:36.

Following his win in Dubai last year – a victory that saw him break the course record by 12 seconds – Tola underlined his growing stature by taking silver in the marathon at the IAAF World Championships London 2017.

Degefa takes on Mergia, Dibaba and Burka

Ethiopian women have been even more dominant in Dubai than their male counterparts, winning the past 11 editions of the race.

Two of those winners, Worknesh Degefa and Aselefech Mergia, will return to the United Arab Emirates where they will be joined by compatriot Mare Dibaba, the 2015 world champion.

Degefa hasn’t contested another marathon since her 2:22:36 victory in Dubai 12 months ago, but she enjoyed a strong 2017 campaign at shorter distances. She finished third at the Istanbul Half Marathon in 1:08:55, won the Olomouc Half Marathon in 1:09:19 and clocked a season’s best of 1:08:10 to finish fifth in Delhi towards the end of the year.

Mergia is the most successful woman ever at the Dubai Marathon, having won in 2011, 2012 and 2015. She set her PB – and the course record – of 2:19:31 during her second victory and came within 31 seconds of it when winning three years later. The 2010 London Marathon champion and 2009 world bronze medallist had a season’s best of 2:23:08 in 2017, recorded when finishing third at the London Marathon.

Dibaba finished third behind Mergia in 2012, clocking a lifetime best of 2:19:52. She went on to match that time when winning the 2015 Xiamen Marathon, then won the world title later that year and the Olympic bronze medal in 2016.

Gelete Burka is one of the most accomplished women in the field. The 2006 world cross-country champion and 2008 world indoor 1500m champion made a brief foray into marathon running in 2013 and 2014, but returned to the track in 2015 to take the 10,000m silver medal at the World Championships.


Tamirat Tola (ETH) 2:04:11
Endeshaw Negesse (ETH) 2:04:52
Sisay Lemma Kasaye (ETH) 2:05:16
Girmay Birhanu Gebru (ETH) 2:05:49
Mosinet Geremew (ETH) 2:06:12
Jacob Jarso (ETH) 2:06:17
Sisay Jisa Mekonnen (ETH) 2:06:27
Benson Kipruto (KEN) 2:07:21
Ronald Kipkoech Korir (KEN) 2:07:29
Asefa Mengistu (ETH) 2:08:41
Mekuant Ayenew Gebre (ETH) 2:09:00
Seifu Tura (ETH) 2:09:26
Joseph Kiprono Kiptum (KEN) 2:09:56
Herpasa Negasa (ETH) 2:10:17
Barselius Kipyego (KEN) 2:13:06
Yenew Alamirew (ETH) debut
Felix Kibitok (KEN) debut
Derara Desalegn Hurisa (ETH) debut
Leul Gebresilase Aleme (ETH) debut
Fikadu Haftu (ETH) debut
John Kipkoech (KEN) debut

Aselefech Mergia (ETH) 2:19:31
Mare Dibaba (ETH) 2:19:52
Feyse Tadese (ETH) 2:20:27
Worknesh Degefa (ETH) 2:22:36
Roza Dereje Bekele (ETH) 2:22:43
Yebrqual Melese (ETH) 2:22:51
Sutume Asefa Kebede (ETH) 2:24:00
Azmera Abreha (ETH) 2:25:23
Gelete Burka (ETH) 2:26:03
He Yinli (CHN) 2:27:35
Netsanet Gudeta (ETH) 2:29:15
Anne-Mari Hyrylainen (FIN) 2:32:19
Yeshaneh Ababel (ETH) 2:33:10
Dera Dida Yami (ETH) debut
Muliye Dekebo Haylemariam (ETH) debut
Haftamnesh Tesfay Haylu (ETH) debut
Desi Jisa Mokonin (BRN) debut (Ethiopian-born)
Senbere Teferi (ETH) debut
Genet Yalew (ETH)

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