Tirunesh Dibaba, photo by PhotoRun.net
LONDON (GBR): Her preparation has been intense and she's ready, but Tirunesh Dibaba admitted her highly anticipated debut at 's Virgin Money London Marathon is a year late. „I was ready to go, but the plane was delayed ... for one year," she joked when asked why she withdrew from last year's field. „This is where all the best athletes are and I wanted to be here," said the three-time Olympic champion and multiple world record holder. „I understand that this is a new experience. I can't estimate my time as it's my first marathon, but like any athlete, I've prepared well." Advice has come from closer to home too, thanks to her husband Sileshi Sihine, the 2004 and 2008 Olympic 10,000m silver medallist, as well as from Ethiopian marathon legend Haile Gebrselassie who will run as the lead pacemaker for the elite men's race in this year's event. „My experience in the 5000m and 10,000m on the track has been good, but this is new," she said. „Haile has good experience on the world stage and I'm grateful that he's shared his experiences with me. I've taken his advice. I've gone through some intensive training with a group of marathon runners for several months," she said. „I've done my best to prepare. I've done all my training in Ethiopia. It's such a fascinating place for marathon training and other runners come to us to run."
(Editor's note: Tirunesh Dibaba is called, by some, the baby faced destroyer. In her press conference today, she had a few laughing with her comment about her delayed marathon debut.
Dibaba is a racer. She would not show up without being fit. How can she do? Her 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters and half marathon runs suggest a fine debut time, but, as we all know the marathon is a crap shoot.
RunBlogRun thinks that Dibaba could be under 2:23 in her first marathon, and top three in this field. She has the wheels, but it is all about getting marathon experience. )