ALL EYES ON STANDARD CHARTERED DUBAI MARATHON AFTER FORMER WINNERS ARE CROWNED “WORLD’S BEST”
Following the crowning of Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon winners Lelisa Desisa and Ruth Chepngetich as Marathon Runners of the Year, all eyes will now turn to the 21st staging of the Middle East’s premier marathon on January 24 and the potential emergence of new running talent.
The 2019 ‘Best Marathon Runner’ award was made to both Desisa and Chepngetich by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) at the end of a year that saw them both add Marathon World Championship titles to their already impressive CVs.
But it was on the flat and fast streets of Dubai that Desisa of Ethiopia and Kenya’s rising star Chepngetich first made their marks in the record books – just two of a growing number of world-class distance runners to launch their careers in the emirate.
Making his marathon debut in Dubai in 2013, Desisa won in 2.04.45, while in January 2019 the diminutive Chepngetich produced one of the best women’s performances of all time as she stormed to victory in 2:17:08, now the fourth fastest in history.
“Over the past ten years or so, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has consistently produced race winning times that rival and often exceed the Marathon Majors,” said Event Director Peter Connerton.
“The city is now firmly recognised as hosting one of the fastest routes in world athletics. Established elite athletes as well as up-and-coming runners are always keen to take part in what is the first major event of the new year. With the benign weather conditions, excellent road surfaces and a flat course, the athletes know they can target a personal best and even a new course record in Dubai.”
While the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has been held in various parts of the city – with race routes that have included both the Sheikh Zayed Road and Downtown Dubai – in recent years the race has settled on a home stretching out along the city’s Jumeirah Beach Road in the west with a finish in the shadow of the seven-star Burj Al Arab Hotel.
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the 2020 event is expected to see more than 30,000 runners sign up to take part.
The race – the 21st in the event’s history – will again see the runners compete in the same location with competitors spread across three races, namely a 4km Fun Run, the hugely-popular 10km and the traditional Marathon distance itself.
Entries are already building up as runners from home and abroad get set for the biggest mass participation sporting event in the region. Runners looking to sign up and take part in any of the three categories can do so online at www.dubaimarathon.org
In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Dubai Holding, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Police and the RTA.