Gebrselassie wins race, but fails to break record

2010-01-23 00:00

HAILE Gebrselassie may have racked up a hat-trick of wins in yesterday’s Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, but it was a race that never got close to challenging his impressive 18-month-old world record of 2hrs: 3min, 59sec.

Gebrselassie won in a time of 2hrs: 6min, 9sec. The Ethiopian took home a $250 000 winner’s prize.

The pace from the gun was significantly over the required 2:56 minutes per kilometre and on several occasions dropped to over three minutes per kilometre. The pacers and pack went through halfway in 62min: 51sec, at least 40sec too slow for a world record attempt.

“I wasn’t feeling very good this morning because I had a back problem, but I’m very happy to win the race,” said Gebrselassie, who woke up with a back pain and went to the doctor to check it out.

”I think I slept in a different position, on my stomach, and that caused the problem,” he said, adding that “the weather was a bit warm, but overall not so bad.”

As in previous races, he had wanted to “move a little” after the pace makers stopped at 30 km, but soon found that he couldn’t “change my gear.”

“It was a hard moment and I just had to decide a different tactic,” said Gebrselassie, who was chased down by Kenyan Chala Dechase at 33 km. The pair shared the lead to 37 km when the 36-year-old champion pulled away to cross the line, fully 150 metres clear of Dechase.

Gebrselassie’s time was one second slower than his finish in Berlin last year and his slowest of recent races.

Eshetu Wendimu repeated his third place in 2hrs: 6min: 46sec.

Ethiopians also dominated the women’s race, although the outcome was only determined in the final kilometre where Mamitu Molisa edged an eight-second lead over Aberu Shewave to take the tape in 2:24:18.

•South African Suzette Vermaak from Cape Town finished second in the 40-49 age category in 3:18:16.


Men: 1. Haile Gebrselassie, Ethiopia, 2:06:09; 2. Chala Dechase Beyene, Kenya, 2.06.33; 3. Eshetu Wendimu Tsige, Ethiopia, 2.06.46; 4. Abiyote Guta Duguma, Ethiopia, 2.09.03; 5. Dereja Debele Tulu, Ethiopia, 2.09.43

Women: 1. Mamitu Daska Molisa, Ethiopia, 2.24.18; 2. Aberu Kebede Shewave, Ethiopia, 2.24.26; 3. Helena Loshanyang Kirop, Kenya, 2.24.54.

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