Aselefech Mergia claims women’s crown at Dubai Marathon

At 2 hours, 20 minutes, 29 seconds, Aselefech Mergia came within 31 seconds of her own course record in winning the Dubai Marathon out of the women's field on Friday.

Aselefech Mergia, centre, displays her trophy after winning the Dubai Marathon on Friday. Stephen Hindley / AP / January 23, 2015
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Ethiopian Aselefech Mergia came within 31 seconds of eclipsing her own course record at the Dubai Marathon on Friday morning in what was, incredibly, her first full-distance race since giving birth 18 months ago.

Mergia, who has won the UAE race twice previously, finished in 2 hours, 20 minutes, 29 seconds, a little more than half a minute off the record she set in 2012. She was pushed all the way to the line by Kenyan Gladys Cherono, who, making her marathon debut, finished just one second behind in a grandstand finish to the annual event.

In 2012, Lucy Kabuu finished three seconds behind Mergia in what is widely regarded as the greatest marathon finish in the event’s history with three women finishing sub-2:20. This morning, Kabuu, of Kenya, finished third, 19 seconds off the lead.

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