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Women set records in Dubai Marathon

Haile - Mergia

The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has impressively confirmed its position as one of the fastest races in the world. Winning times of 2:05:28 from Lemi Berhanu and 2:20:02 by fellow-Ethiopian Aselefech Mergia are both world-class. While hopes for course bests did not quite materialise other records on this superflat course in Dubai were broken on Friday. In the past few years usually the men’s race produced unique performances. However this time it was the turn of the women.

Behind Aselefech Mergia another six athletes crossed the line with sub 2:23 times. That had happened only three times in marathon history so far. There were 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 the course is not eligible for records. But it gets even more impressive: Never before have twelve women run under 2:25 in a marathon. With a time of 2:24:44 Turkey’s Sultan Haydar found herself in 12th position – however the time was still good enough to break her own national record! The enormous depth was not surprising since the field had unpresendented depth in a city marathon. 23 runners were entered with personal bests of sub 2:28.

A world junior record was also broken on Friday. Fourth placed Shure Demise of Ethiopia clocked 2:20:59. Her coach Renato Canova later confirmed that he had checked her passport which states she was born in 1996. The youngster 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 2:22:38 from Xiamen in 2008.

The international athletics federation IAAF does not officially list world junior records, but among road running organisations they are a common feature. Dubai now holds both world junior records. A year ago Ethiopian junior Tsegaye Mekonnen won the race with 2:04:32.

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