Mula Seboka Gets Surprise Victory In Women’s Race At 2014 Dubai Marathon In 2:25:01

Former Journeywoman Wins $200,000 In 30th Marathon Of Her Career

January 24, 2014

As expected the women’s race at the 2014 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon was dominated by the Ethiopians who made it eight straight wins in succession in the women’s race and also claimed the top nine places. But what was a surprise was the winner of the race. Surprisingly, it was 30-year old Mula Seboka who beat favourites Meselech Melkamu and Meseret Hailu and won $200,000 by running 2:25:23 thanks to a big negative split that saw her run 71:20 for the second half. Melkamu, the second fastest in history at 10,000 at 29:53.80, followed in second place with 2:25:23 and Firehiwot Dado, the 2011 New York City champion, was third in 2:25:53. Hailu was fourth in 2:26:20.

For much of the race the pace was much slower than expected. Mula Seboka was strong throughout, leading the big group of women more or less from the start. After a half way split of 1:14:03 it was not until after the 35 k mark that there was a significant surge. Again it was Seboka, who initiated the attack. Only Meselech Melkamu and Firehiwot Dado were able to hold on, but not for much longer. Dado was dropped at 37 k and then Melkamu lost contact after 38 k.

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“When the three of us were together I thought Dado and Melkamu would be stronger than me. But at 37 k I still felt strong and I realised that I have a chance. They did not look that good anymore and I increased the pace again,” said Seboka, who had finished eleventh in Dubai two years ago – this was just one place outside of prize money and she returned empty-handed to Ethiopia. It is very much the opposite now, since Seboka collected the highest winners’ prize available in international marathon running. “I will partly use this to support my parents and some poor people back home,” she said. “I will have to speak to my husband about what we do with the other part of it.”

Quick takes and then results below.

Quick Take #1: Talk about a change in fortunes. Seboka two years ago ran Dubai and was 11th and earned zero. Today, she earned $200,000. That huge reversal is symbolic of the reversal her career has taken in recent years. Until recently, Seboka was the ultimate journeywoman. Guess how many marathons she’s run in her career.

Ok guess again. It’s higher than that, we promise.

This win in Dubai was the 30th of her career. Yes 30th. Well it’s possible there have been more but our results database lists 30.

For the most part, Seboka had been content to run lesser tier marathons – three per year most years – and picked up prize money. In the past she’s won Mumbai (three times), Toronto, been the runner-up at Twin Cities, etc. But heading into 2012, she had a 2:29:06 pb from winning Toronto in 2008. In 2012, she improved to 2:25:45 when she was 11th in Dubai in one of four marathons she ran that year – guess she had to run an extra one since she didn’t earn anything in Dubai. Last year, she only ran two marathons and her time improved to 2:23:43 in getting second in Daegu. Now she’s the Dubai champion.

Quick Take #2: If you think Melkamu, the #2 all-time at 10,000, would be upset for losing late to Seboka, think again. While Melkamu, who debuted in the marathon at 2:21:01 in winning Frankfurt in 2012, lost to a less credentialed runner she was still visibly very happy coming down the home-stretch. $80,000 goes a long way in Ethiopia and it’s certainly more than she earned in all of 2012 when she was 5th in London and a DNF at Worlds.

Note: Some of the article was taken from the Dubai press release

*Dubai Photo Gallery


Mula Seboka wins. Photo by Giancarlo Colombo / Mula Seboka wins. Photo by Giancarlo Colombo / Click for photo gallery

Results with BIBs and Prize Money

Women’s Results

1. Mulu Seboka, ETH                        2:25:01  USD 200,000
2. Meselech Melkamu, ETH                   2:25:23       80,000
3. Firehiwot Dado, ETH                     2:25:53       40,000
4. Meseret Hailu Debele, ETH               2:26:20       20,000
5. Betelhem Moges Cherenet, ETH            2:26:42 PB    12,000
6. Amane Gobena, ETH                       2:27:05       11,200
7. Fantu Eticha Jimma, ETH                 2:27:36 PB    10,400
8. Goitetom Haftu Tessema, ETH             2:27:44        9,600
9. Sechale Dalasa Adugna, ETH              2:27:47        8,800
10. Sultan Haydar, TUR                      2:27:54        8,000
11. Konjit Tilahun Biruk, ETH               2:28:11 PB
12. Werknesh Kidane, ETH                    2:29:42
13. Yebrugual Melese Arage, ETH             2:29:46 PB
14. Abeba Tekulu Gebremeskel, ETH           2:31:10
15. Alem Mokonnin Ourge, ETH                2:31:20 PB
16. Lemelem Berha Yachem, ETH               2:32:52
17. Lishan Dula Gemgchil, BRN               2:33:10
18. Luch Karimi, KEN                        2:33:46
19. Anne-Mari Hyryläinen, FIN               2:41:06 PB
20. Lena Eliasson, SWE                      2:41:38 PB
21. Louise Wiker, SWE                       2:46:11 PB
22. Aster Tesfaye Tilanun, BRN              2:47:45 PB
23. Lucie Custance, GBR                     2:56:00
24. Wude Ayalew Yimer, ETH                  2:57:47
[1:14:07 / 1:43:40]

The final 3 The final 3
Mula Seboka Seyfu battles with Meselech Melkamu Haileyesus Mula Seboka Seyfu battles with Meselech Melkamu Haileyesus
Mula Seboka pulls away Mula Seboka pulls away

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