Tigist Ketema wins Dubai Marathon on debut and shatters course record

Addisu Gobena takes the men’s race as Ethiopians dominate

Tigist Ketema from Ethiopia crosses the finish line to win the women's elite race of the 2024 Dubai Marathon. AP
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Tigist Ketema made her marathon debut in Dubai a momentous one by becoming the fastest woman in the race's 23-year history on Sunday.

2024 Dubai Marathon Results

Women’s race:
1. Tigist Ketema (ETH) 2hrs 16min 7sec
2. Ruti Aga (ETH) 2:18:09
3. Dera Dida (ETH) 2:19:29
Men's race:
1. Addisu Gobena (ETH) 2:05:01
2. Lemi Dumicha (ETH) 2:05:20
3. DejeneMegersa (ETH) 2:05:42

She clocked in at two hours, 16 minutes, and seven seconds to establish a new course record over the 42.195-kilometre distance and secure a memorable win.

Ketema was followed home by Ruti Aga, the runner-up last year, in 2:18:09, and defending champion Dera Dida (2:19:29) for an Ethiopian sweep of the women’s podium.

The Ethiopians also swept the men’s race, with Addisu Gobena crossing the finish line in 2:05:09, ahead of Lemi Dumicha (2:05:20) and Dejene Megersa (2:05:42).

For Ketema, 25, it was a surprise result as she initially had reservations about shifting her focus to the marathon; Ketema has spent much of her career as a middle-distance runner, and in 2016 was Ethiopian national champion over 800m.

“I was quite afraid of the distance before I ran my first marathon but now, I wonder why,” she said after receiving the trophy from Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council.

“I came here as one of the hopefuls but I didn’t really expect to win. Obviously, I’m delighted and am now looking forward to more marathon races with such a wonderful start to the year.

“I’m not sure where I’ll be heading next but right now I’m going to cherish and celebrate my first marathon win, take a short break, and then back to training for the next race.”

Running on Dubai’s super flat course around some iconic locations, Ketema marked her first-ever marathon by becoming the eighth fastest woman in marathon history. She also smashed the Dubai course record, improving the mark by 61 seconds.

It was also a dream debut for Gobena, 19, who took the advice of his aunt Aga – the women's runner-up on Sunday – to take up long-distance running two years ago.

Having started as a javelin thrower, Gobena trained with the two-time Dubai marathon runner-up to discover his potential.

“I think I made the right decision," Gobena said. “My aunt taking second spot for the second time made it a great day for the family back home. Whatever I achieved today was for Aunt Ruti.

“For me, it’s also the best possible start to the New Year. Having had the first taste of a marathon win, I’ll work harder to take this momentum forward. I’m still young and learning, and hopeful of better things to come, if I stay healthy.”

Updated: January 07, 2024, 12:27 PM
2024 Dubai Marathon Results

Women’s race:
1. Tigist Ketema (ETH) 2hrs 16min 7sec
2. Ruti Aga (ETH) 2:18:09
3. Dera Dida (ETH) 2:19:29
Men's race:
1. Addisu Gobena (ETH) 2:05:01
2. Lemi Dumicha (ETH) 2:05:20
3. DejeneMegersa (ETH) 2:05:42