Running: Ethiopia’s Desisa targets second Dubai Marathon title
- Updated: January 9, 2015
January 9, 2015: Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa will be gunning for Olympic legend Kenenisa Bekele and a second win in three years when he competes in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on January 23.
Desisa, 25, stunned the running world on his marathon debut in 2013, winning in Dubai in 2:04:45 as four other men finished below 2:05 – an unprecedented achievement in marathon history.
The Dubai Marathon’s third-fastest winner, Desisa was just 22 seconds outside the record of 2012 champion Ayele Abshero and will return to one of his favourite road races armed with plenty of big-race experience.
After a glittering debut, he maintained a busy and successful schedule for the rest of 2013, winning the Boston Marathon three months after his Dubai triumph before taking silver in the World Championship Marathon in Moscow in August.
Although Desisa’s rise was checked when he failed to finish in Boston last year, he redeemed himself with second place at the New York Marathon in November. With a win and a runners-up spot in two of the Majors to his name, Dubai’s course should offer the fleet-footed Ethiopian the ideal chance to again attack the 2:05 target.
Like superstar compatriot Kenenisa Bekele – who will make his Dubai debut this year – Desisa is yet another talented Ethiopian runner who hails from the Oromia region, like Olympic marathon champions Fatuma Roba and Tiki Gelana, and the Dibaba sisters. Ejegayehu Dibaba, 32, will compete in this year’s Dubai Marathon.
Event Director Peter Connerton said: “To have another former champion in the line-up is a great boost for the race and we will be delighted to see Lelisa Desisa back to try and regain his crown. His victory in 2013 came in what many marathon writers believe to be the best marathon of all time, so he has fond memories of Dubai.
“He will only be 25 years old when he runs here again and has already shown he is one of the world’s best after just two years of marathon competition. He’ll certainly be one of the favourites and will be determined not to let Kenenisa steal all the headlines.”
The Dubai Marathon will feature the marathon, a 10km road race and a 4km fun run. In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, Adidas, Dubai Eye 103.8FM, Sport 360, Masafi, Dubai Holding, Dubai Police and the RTA.
Source: Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon (www.dubaimarathon.org); Editing by SportAsia