Haile to Run Dubai Marathon in January, Chasing $1 Million Purse, by Pat Butcher, Comments by Larry Eder



Haile G. just ran 2:03:59. He has the three fastest times ever in marathon history. On January 16, 2009, he will run the Dubai Marathon, trying to break his own world record and pick up an amazing $1 million purse!


The ink was barely dry on accounts of Haile Gebrselassie’s latest world record before the Ethiopian star was signing up for his next record attempt, in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon in mid-January. And if he succeeds in this one, he will reap a bonus of one million US dollars, offered by the national enterprise company, Dubai Holdings. The Dubai prize pot is already $1m, with $250,000 each going to the men’s and women’s winners, the biggest victor’s prize in world marathon running.

Gebrselassie, 35 won the 2008 Dubai race, but started much too fast, and eventually ran 2.04.53, then second only to his world record 2.04.26 in Berlin 2007. The tiny Ethiopian returned to Berlin last Sunday, and set his 26th world record/best, 2.03.59, thus becoming the first sub-2.04 marathoner in history, and owner of the three fastest times in history.

His return to Dubai for the race on January 16, 2009 will be even more eagerly anticipated. “I made a mistake with the pace in Dubai last time,” said Gebrselassie after his Berlin victory, “and I learned from that mistake. Everything has to be perfect for another record, weather, pacemakers. I feel I can do 2.03 something. If I don’t get injured, maybe 2.02.59, but considering my shape and my age, 2.03.30, or 2.03.20.”

Peter Connerton, the Dubai race director has finessed the course for January, saying today (Thursday) “It’s up and down the coast road, dead flat, with just three or four turns. And we’ll ensure the pacemakers are up to the job. Haile will get every opportunity to set another record, and win the biggest bonus in marathon running”.

“Considering he was nursing a calf injury prior to running Berlin, setting a world record is an amazing achievement by Haile,” said Ahmed Al Kamali, marathon general co-ordinator, and President of the UAE Athletics Federation.

“His appearance in Dubai in January this year took the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon to a new level. Although he narrowly missed out on the world record, he was warmly welcomed and received a great ovation from his thousands of supporters. I’m sure we’ll see more of the same in three months time and we’ll do all we can to give him every chance of breaking the world record in Dubai”.

Pat Butcher, mr www.globerunner.org, wrote the above, used with permission.

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