Haile Runs 2:04:53 at Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, by Pat Butcher


Pace makes the race or breaks it. In the marathon, it is a lesson that many, fast and slow, seem to forget. The little emperor, Haile Gebreselassie hit the half in 61:27 and could not hold on for his record, running the second fastest in history, with a time of 2:04:53.

Pat Butcher's story tells all:

dubai, friday january 18, 0800gmt

Haile Gebrselassie ran the second fastest marathon in history, 2.04.53,
to win the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on Friday morning, but a
suicidal early tempo by the Ethiopian and his pacemakers ruined any
chance he had of breaking his world record of 2.04.26, set in Berlin
three months ago.

The weather was perfect for marathoners, global warming, or in the
Gulf, global cooling kept the 7am start temperature down to 11C, rising
to just 14C at the finish, with little wind.

Already at 10k in 28.39, Gebrselassie was 45 seconds up on the Berlin
pace, and at halfway in 61.27, that advantage had stretched to 61sec,
positing a potential finishing time of well under 2.03. Since
Gebreselassie himself had suggested that 2.03 was his limit, he had in
effect predicted his own demise. As it proved, although he maintained
his advance on a new world mark until 35k, when he still had 25sec in

But the last pacemaker, Abel Kirui of Kenya had dropped out at 30k, and
the pace itself was dropping inexorably. The million dollars for a new
record, offered by Dubai Holding, evaporated before 40k, and in the end
the 34 year old Ethiopian was 27 seconds shy of his record.
Nevertheless, he had consolidated his position as the world’s best
marathoner, and current most prolific record breaker (24 at last
count), and today’s effort won him the biggest prize in marathon
history, $250,000.

Isaac Macharia of Kenya came through to take second place in a personal
best 2.07.16, and Sammy Korir, still the third fastest man in history
(2.04.56 in Berlin 2003) was third in 2.08.01.

Gerbrselassie conceded that the start was too fast, “I wanted to do 62
minutes for halfway, and I paid the price in the final stages, but I’m
happy to run this time. You know, everything needs to be perfect, and
today, I missed one little thing”.

The women’s race was far more competitive, and also fast in the early
stages, though not in the same register as Gebrselassie. Seven women
were still together at halfway in 70mins, but similarly, class told in
the end. Berhane Adere ran away in the last few kilometres, to win in
2.22.40, less than two minutes outside her Ethiopian women’s record of
2.20.42, set in Chicago 2006. She too won $250,000.

Her colleague, Bezunesh Bekele made one of the fastest marathon debuts
in history, finishing second in 2.23.09, and defending champion, Askale
Magarska was third, in 2.23.23, also a personal best.

There were some big name drop-outs. World Cross and half-marathon
champion, Lornah Kiplagat of the Netherlands dropped out just after
halfway with the recurrence of a calf problem, and Olivera Jevtic of
Serbia lasted until 30k when stomach problems forced her out.


Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon 2008

Place bib no name nation time prize US$
1 1 Gebrselassie, Haile ETH 2:04:53 250,000
2 22 Macharia, Isaac KEN 2:07:16 100,000
3 9 Korir, Sammy KEN 2:08:01 50,000
4 16 Kudama, Gudisa Shentema ETH 2:09:27 25,000
5 21 Tesfaye Tola ETH 2:09:38 15,000
6 8 Kipkoech, Raymond KEN 2:09:39 14,000
7 28 Chisma, Deressa ETH 2:10:16 13,000
8 17 Fikadu, Asnake ETH 2:11:04 12,000
9 15 Gashaw Melese ETH 2:12:03 11,000
10 7 Rotich, William Todo KEN 2:12:20 10,000

Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon 2008


1 31 Adere, Birhane ETH 2:22:42 250,000
2 35 Bezunesh Bekele ETH 2:23:09 100,000
3 32 Magarsa, Askale Tafa ETH 2:23:23 50,000
4 37 Cheruiyot, Rose Jelagat KEN 2:25:48 25,000
5 44 Chelengat, Alice KEN 2:27:29 15,000
6 42 Roba, Asha Gigi ETH 2:28:24 14,000
7 43 Gemechu, Shitaye ETH 2:30:20 13,000
8 36 Tola, Roba Guta ETH 2:33:44 12,000
9 39 Teka, Kidst ETH 2:35:58 11,000
10 46 Kimani, Lucia KEN 2:37:37 10,000

For more on the race, try http://www.runningnetwork.com

For more on Haile, try http://www.iaaf.org

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