The stage is set for a memorable Dubai Marathon with the organisers announcing an elite field of female athletes for the race that will be held at Expo City Dubai on February 12.
The Dubai Marathon was set for a return in December following a break of over 1,000 days as the previous edition was called off due to the pandemic. However, logistical challenges posed by the Fifa World Cup in Qatar saw the organisers decide to hold the event this year.
The race was last held in January 2020 where Ethiopians dominated the field once again. Then, Worknesh Degefa clinched the women’s title with a time of 2:19.37, while in the men’s section Olika Adugna Bikila prevailed with a time of 2:06.15.
This month, organisers will welcome top athletes from across the world again. In the women’s competition, Etjiopia's Ruti Aga and compatriots Gutemi Shone and Gelete Burka will be leading the way.
Aga, 29, has the fastest personal best in the field having clocked 2:18:34 when finishing second in the Berlin Marathon in 2018. Last year, the Ethiopian – who won the Tokyo Marathon in 2019 – claimed fourth in Chicago.
Her compatriot Shone finished second last time she competed in Dubai in 2020.
That runner-up spot behind champion Degefa was achieved with a personal best of 2:20:11.
Also returning to the Middle East is 37-year-old Burka. In 2018, Burka enjoyed a successful year, starting off with sixth place and a personal best in Dubai (2:20:45) before winning the Ottawa Marathon in Canada and closing the year with third place and a podium finish in Abu Dhabi.
What will make this year's marathon special is the venue. With its unique architectural marvels and open areas, Expo City Dubai will provide an exceptional new setting for the Dubai Marathon.
The organising committee said the Expo City was chosen as the venue because "it represents Dubai’s vision of serving as a bridge between cultures and its values of peaceful coexistence and tolerance".
The Dubai Marathon features three runs: the full 42 km marathon open to runners over 18; the 10 km Road Race open to runners over 15 years; and the 4 km Fun Run open to all.
Log on to www.dubaimarathon.org for more details.