Elite runners gear up for Dubai Marathon 2016

Dubai, Jan 20 (IANS) This year’s edition of the annual Dubai Marathon on Friday will see a number of elite runners from Ethiopia and Kenya at the start while the entire event consisting of the marathon run, the 10 kilometre’s run and the 4 kilometre fun run will gather over 30,000 professional and hobby participants at the foot of the seven-star hotel Burj Al Arab.

In the men’s group are Ethiopian elite runners Ayele Abshero and Tsegaye Mekonnen who both won the Dubai Marathon in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Last year’s Dubai Marathon champion Lemi Berhanu from Ethiopia announced his participation for this year’s challenge, too, the Dubai Marathon committee revealed earlier on Wednesday at an official media briefing, reports Xinhua.

Among the women’s group, 25-year-old Tonya Nero from Trinidad and Tobago is the first female elite long distance runner from the Caribbean region participating in Dubai. But with Nero’s personal best time standing at 2 hours and 43 minutes, the women’s winner’s podium will be undoubtedly dominated by African athletes.

Ethiopian marathon stars — Tirfi Tsegaye Beyene, who was first in Berlin in 2014 and who has a personal best time of 2:20:18 hours, as well as her compatriot Mamitu Daska Molisa (2.21:56 hours) who won the Frankfurt Marathon in 2011 — are expected to attract thousands of Ethiopian fans to this year’s Dubai Marathon.

The event is regarded as the second best race behind the London race by the sport’s research group All-Athletics.com.

Also at the start is Kenyan-born and now running for Bahrain, Eunice Chumba, who won the bronze medal at the world championships in Beijing last year.

The 42.195 kilometers track will see the start of the action on Friday at 6.30 a.m. local time near the iconic Burj Al Arab Hotel and will lead along the coastline on Jumeirah Raod to Dubai’s Union House near Port Rashid and back to the Burj Al Arab.

The men’s record in Dubai stands at 2 hours 4 minutes and 23 seconds, achieved by Abshero in 2012. His compatriot Aselefech Mergia also scored the best time in the emirate’s marathon history in 2012 when she crossed the finish line at 2:19:31 hours.

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