Tirfi Tsegaye Wins Dubai For Second Time And Breaks 2:20 For The First Time in Her 19th Career Marathon

Amane Beriso Has Fantastic Debut To Finish 2nd in 2:20:48

by LetsRun.com
January 22, 2016

Pre-race favorite Tirfi Tsegaye passed her first test of 2016 with flying colors as she ran an impressive negative split (70:17-69:24) to trounce the field at Friday’s Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon in a new personal best of 2:19:41 (previous pb of 2:20:18), winning $200,000 in the process. The 31-year old Tsegaye, who also won here in 2013, broke the magical 2:20 barrier for the first time in the 19th marathon of her career.

Tsegaye was part of a pack of seven women (plus several male pacers) who passed 25k in 1:23:09. After a 16:19 next 5k, it was down to Tsegaye and debutant and fellow Ethiopian Amane Beriso (debut, 68:43 half pb). From 30k to the finish, Tsegaye gradually stepped on the gas, pulling away from Beriso and coasting to a comfortable win and a 37-second pb. Beriso wound up second in 2:20:48 (the fifth-fastest debut ever per Ken Nakamura) with 2009 World Champs 10,000 silver medalist Meselech Melkamu third in 2:22:29.

Tirfi Tsegaye wins again Tirfi Tsegaye wins again

Top 10 Results *Full Results Here
1 Tsegaye Beyene, Tirfi (ETH) 2:19:41
2 Beriso Shankule, Amane (ETH) 2:20:48
3 Melkamu Haileyesus, Meselech (ETH) 2:22:29
4 Asefa Kebede, Sutume (ETH) 2:24:00
5 Seboka Seyfu, Mulu (ETH) 2:24:24
6 Eshete Habtegebrel, Shitaye (BRN) 2:25:36
7 Tufa Demissie, Mestawet (ETH) 2:26:34
8 Mekash Tefera, Dinknesh (ETH) 2:28:19
9 Daska Molisa, Mamitu (ETH) 2:28:53
10 Ifa Geletu, Megertu (ETH) 2:29:4

Tirfi Tsegaye had plenty of reason to celebrate after this one Tirfi Tsegaye had plenty of reason to smile after this one

Quick Thought #1: A terrific race from Tsegaye, whose decision to pass up a guaranteed payday and take her chances in Dubai worked out perfectly

As with the men, the Ethiopian selectors are going to have a tough time picking a women’s Olympic marathon squad for 2016. Tsegaye was our world #1 in 2014 (she was unranked in 2015, but finished 3rd in London and 8th at Worlds) and as we pointed out in our preview, she’s been very consistent: in her 19 career marathons, she’s finished in the top three 14 times and since the start of 2013 has wins in Dubai (twice), Tokyo and Berlin. Her win today in Dubai was dominant as she was unchallenged after making her move; she seemed to have an extra gear or two in reserve should she have needed it.

Given that the Ethiopian federation usually uses time as the primary factor in selecting its teams for global championships, Tsegaye’s 2:19:41 today will likely be enough to earn her a spot on the starting line in Rio (ed note: although she is running Boston this spring). That also makes London incredibly important, as there are three women there who figure to be racing for two spots: defending World champ and 2015 LRC world #1 Mare Dibaba, 2015 Dubai champ Aselefech Mergia (who was also 4th in London and 2nd in New York) and 2015 London champ Tigist Tufa (also 3rd in New York).

Tsegaye took a risk by passing up a guaranteed appearance fee at a major like Boston or London to run Dubai (ed note: It was announced earlier this month Tsegaye is running Boston) and it paid off big-time: not only did she take home the $200,000 first-place prize, but she also ran a fast time that should put her on the Olympic team. Of course, she could now decide to run a spring marathon, but if we were her, we wouldn’t take the chance of getting beat by her countrywomen and instead focus the rest of the year on Rio.

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After finishing 8th at Worlds last August, Tsegaye didn’t run a Fall marathon and that rest served her well in Dubai.

Quick Thought #2: What a debut from Amane Beriso

The 25-year old Beriso ran a pair of solid half marathons last year (68:43 for the win in Rome; 70:54 for the win in Warsaw) but no one predicted 2:20:48 from her today; consider that her halfway split, 70:17, qualifies as the second-fastest half marathon of her life.

Beriso’s previous two races, both in the Czech Republic, did not go particularly well (she was 9th in a 10k in Prague on September 5, running 33:20, and then finished 11th at the Usti nad Labem Half Marathon a week later in 77:35) but she obviously put in a good block of training after that and it showed on the streets of Dubai. Beriso could have faltered once Tsegaye dropped her (especially because she ran on her own for much of the rest of the race, unlike Tsegaye, who had a male pacer to accompany her) but she remained tough and stretched her gap on third from 1:12 to 1:41 from 35k to the finish. Beriso has a bright future at 26.2 miles.

More: Talk about Dubai on our messageboard: MB: Official 2016 Dubai Marathon Live Discussion Thread.
Men’s Recap: LRC The Marathon World Record Survives But 30k WR Falls As Unknown Tesfaye Abera Comes From Behind To Win Dubai Marathon In 2:04:24 This race had it all. A WR for 30k, a lead change in the final 500 and a shocking win by a previous 2:09 guy.

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