GEBRSELASSIE PREVAILS FOR THIRD TIME IN DUBAI MARATHON

By David Monti (c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
January 22, 2009

Haile Gebrselassie won his third Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon today in the United Arab Emirates, but the two-time Olympic gold medallist had to fight off a sore back and a challenge by two Ethiopian compatriots to get the victory.

Tsige Wendimu, Haile Gebrselassie, and Kenya's Chala Dechase Beyene

Gebrselassie, 36, came into the desert race with hopes of breaking his own world record of 2:03:59, but he woke up this morning with a sore back because he slept in the wrong position, according to a report posted at IAAF.org.  He sought help from his physiotherapist, and was in good enough form to clock 2:06:09 to get the win, his tenth sub-2:07 marathon.

But Gebrselassie didn't dominate as he had in the past.  He was caught by Chala Dechase and Eshetu Wendimu in the latter stages of the race, and had to fight to get the victory.

"This is not an indication I'm old," Gebrselassie said in the IAAF.org report.  "I still think the world record can be broken here, but these things happen."

Both Dechase (2:06:33) and Wendimu (2:06:46) set career best times in second and third place, respectively.

The women's race went to another Ethiopian, Mamitu Daska, in a mild upset.  Daska, who was third at the real,- Berlin Marathon last September in a personal best 2:26:38, ran to exhaustion in a new personal best 2:24:18.  She is coached by Haji Adilo, the man who also coaches reigning Boston Marathon champion Deriba Merga.  Another Adilo athlete, Aberu Kebede, 21, was second, also setting a personal best (2:24:36).  Kenyan Helena Loshanyang Kirop finished in the same position as she did last year --third-- running 2:24:54.  The pre-race favorites, Bezunesh Bekele and Askale Magarsa, finished fourth and sixth, respectively.

Kenyan-born Isabellah Andersson of Sweden set a national record of 2:26:52 in fifth place.

Ethiopians dominated the event, taking seven of the top-10 places on the men's side and eight of the top-10 spots on the women's side.

Both Gebrselassie and Daska earned $250,000 in prize money, the largest prize money payday in marathon running.


Editor's addition: The IAAF recap says that Geb needed physio treatment before the race.

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