Dubai (UAE): Former champion Tirfi Tsegaye Beyene - winner of the 2014 Berlin Marathon - will be looking for a successful return to the Middle East when she joins a powerful women’s line-up for the 2016 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.
The 31 year-old from Arsi in Ethiopia won her first Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon title in a time of 2h:23m:23s back in 2013 and has confirmed she will return for the 16th staging of the Middle East’s biggest mass participation sporting event on January 22.
Like all of the elites heading for the IAAF Gold Label race - held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and staged under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council - Tsegaye will be gunning for a fast time with national selection a major priority in Olympic year.
With marathon wins in Dubai (2013), Berlin (2014), Paris (2012), Porto (2008), Tokyo (2014) and a personal best of 2h:20m:18s to her name, Tsegaye will again be one of the favourites over what will yet again be another fast course in the UAE.
“The demand to compete in Dubai remains as high as ever but it is always pleasing to welcome back former winners of the event,” said Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon Event Director Peter Connerton.
“The course is always flat and fast, which is a major factor in an Olympic year as the athletes target Rio 2016. “Since winning in Dubai, Tsegaye has enjoyed a very successful spell, including back-to-back marathon wins in Tokyo and Berlin in the space of seven months so we expect her to be a key figure in next month’s race.”
With other elites vying for places on the starting line for the world’s richest marathon, event organisers have a tough task putting together a field that will maintain the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon’s place as one of the premier events on the world marathon calendar.
The first and only race in history to have the top five men finish under 2h:05m and the first to have three women complete the course in sub-2h:20m, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon also has a reputation for forging new stars with two of the last three men’s winners being marathon debutants.
General Co-ordinator, IAAF Council Member and UAE Athletics Federation President Ahmed Al Kamali added: “The records over the past five years are there for all to see and underline the incredible strength in depth and overall quality throughout the elite field at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.
“But while we are focused on providing a world-class event for the elites, we are equally determined to provide the best marathon experience for amateur runners as well as those who simply like to get outdoors and join us for the Fun Run. The whole day embraces sport and the UAE community, while delivering a world-class event for athletics’ finest long distance runners.”
While the elites will line up with ambitious amateurs for the traditional marathon distance of 42.195km, places are still available in the popular 10km event and the 4km Fun Run. Runners looking to sign up can do so by registering through the official website www.dubaimarathon.org.
In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Dubai Eye 103.8FM, Dubai Holding, Dubai Police and the RTA.
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