The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has impressively confirmed itsposition as one of the fastest races in the world. Winning times of 2:05:28from Lemi Berhanu and 2:20:02 by fellow-Ethiopian Aselefech Mergia are bothworld-class. While hopes for course bests did not quite materialise otherrecords on this superflat course in Dubai were broken on Friday. In thepast few years usually the men’s race produced unique performances. Howeverthis time it was the turn of the women.
Behind Aselefech Mergia another six athletes crossed the line with sub 2:23times. That had happened only three times in marathon history so far. Therewere seven sub 2:23 times in Dubai in 2012, in the World Championships’marathon in Helsinki in 2005 and in the 2014 Boston Marathon, where thecourse is not eligible for records. But it gets even more impressive: Neverbefore have twelve women run under 2:25 in a marathon. With a time of2:24:44 Turkey’s Sultan Haydar found herself in 12th position – however thetime was still good enough to break her own national record! The enormousdepth was not surprising since the field had unpresendented depth in a citymarathon. 23 runners were entered with personal bests of sub 2:28.
A world junior record was also broken on Friday. Fourth placed Shure Demiseof Ethiopia clocked 2:20:59. Her coach Renato Canova later confirmed thathe had checked her passport which states she was born in 1996. Theyoungster improved the old mark by more than one and a half minutes.China’s Yingying Zhang was the former record holder with a time of 2:22:38from Xiamen in 2008.
The international athletics federation IAAF does not officially list worldjunior records, but among road running organisations they are a commonfeature. Dubai now holds both world junior records. A year ago Ethiopianjunior Tsegaye Mekonnen won the race with 2:04:32.