Ethiopians take Dubai top spots Five runners manage sub-2:05

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Jan 25, (AP): The Ethiopians maintained their dominance of the Dubai Marathon as Lelisa Desisa overtook countryman Berhanu Shiferaw in the final kilometer to win in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 45 seconds on Friday.

For the first time ever, five runners had sub-2:05 times, beating the record set last year in Dubai when four runners managed it.

Ethiopians claimed the top four men’s places, and Tirfi Tsegaye won the women’s race, headed by six Ethiopians.

The 23-year-old Desisa, making his marathon debut, was 22 seconds off last year’s record time on the relatively flat course in cool and foggy conditions. Ethiopian men have won the $1 million race in five of the past six years.

The field of Kenyans was not as strong as past years, however, with stars like three-time London Marathon winner Martin Lel and Chicago Marathon winner Moses Mosop pulling out at the last minute.
“To run my first marathon in 2:04, I’m very surprised,” said Desisa, a specialist in the 10,000 meters who plans to use his $200,000 prize money to build a house and get married. “With the huge amount of money and my time, this has changed my life in one day.”

Desisa was among six runners following closely behind Shiferaw for most of the race. The pack was reduced from 10 to six at the 32-kilometer (20-mile) mark and Desisa moved past Shiferaw in the final kilometer. He extended his lead with 200 meters to go and beat his countrymen by 3 seconds.
Tadese Tola also of Ethiopia was four seconds back in third with Endeshaw Negesse seven seconds behind in fourth in one of tightest races since Wilson Kibet of Kenya beat Eticha Tesfaye of Ethiopia by a second in 2001.

“With one kilometer to go, I tried to push but all the guys were remaining there,” Desisa said. “So I decided to wait for the last lap because all the guys are marathon runners and I’m a track runner. I know I’m better than them at kicking so I went with 200 meters remaining.”

Desisa’s time was not quick enough to eclipse last year’s race record set by Ayele Abshero of Ethiopia, who was also running his first marathon. The top four runners managed to beat the previous record set in 2008 by Haile Gebrselassie of 2:04:53.

Tsegaye won the women’s race in 2:23:23 ahead of countrywoman Kiros Reda by 16 seconds, followed by four other Ethiopians rounding out the top six.

Tsegaye’s victory follows a win at last year’s Paris Marathon and a second-place finish in Berlin. She got plenty of tips from her training partner Asselefech Mergia, who won the race the previous two years in Dubai.

“In the first half of the race, I tried to aim for 2:20 but in the second part the weather conditions changed and I felt hot,” said Tsegaye, who was hoping to beat the record of 2:19:31 by Mergia last year. “When I tried to push, I couldn’t do it. I wanted to break the course record but, because of the weather conditions, I couldn’t. Next year, I’ll try and break the record.”

Results
Men
1. Lelisa Desisa, Ethiopia, 2 hours, 4 minutes, 45 seconds.
2. Berhanu Shiferaw, Ethiopia, 2:04:48.
3. Tadese Tola, Ethiopia, 2:04:49.
4. Endeshaw Negesse, Ethiopia, 2:04:52.
5. Bernard Kiprop, Kenya, 2:04:53.
6. Nicholas Kipkemoboi, Kenya, 2:06:33.
7. Dadi Yami, Ethiopia, 2:07:55.
8. Mike Kipruto, Kenya, 2:08:24.
9. Habtamu Assefa, Ethiopia, 2:08:28.
10.Gemechu Worku, Ethiopia, 2:08:53.
Women
1. Tirfi Tsegaye, Ethiopia, 2:23:23.
2. Reda Kiros, Ethiopia, 2:23:39.
3. Amane Gobena, Ethiopia, 2:23:50.
4. Aheza Kiros, Ethiopia, 2:24:30.
5. Belaynesh Oljira, Ethiopia, 2:25:01.
6. Shitaye Bedasa, Ethiopia, 2:25:47.
7. Issabellah Andersson, Sweden, 2:26:05
8. Abebech Afework, Ethiopia, 2:27:08.
9. Beata Naigambo, Namibia, 2:27:54.
10. Misaki Katsumata, Japan, 2:30:42.

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