Best Moments from 2017: Bekele falls, Tola triumphs and Degafa debuts! An exciting 2017 Dubai Marathon, from RunBlogRun Archives January 2017


Originally published January 20, 2017

Reposted December 31, 2017

I am reposting twelve interesting moments from 2017, one a month. Here is the one from January 2017, with an amazing Dubai Marathon!

No one could have planned this one! The Dubai marathon had surprises for everyone. Kenenisa Bekele, so confidant before the race, falls at the start and drops out with a calve injury at 22 kilometers. Tamirat Tola and Worknesh Degafa lead an Ethiopian sweep of all top three places!

Bekele falls.jpgKenenisa Bekele falls as the race starts, photo from Dubai Marathon

The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is fast, but it is bad luck for one Kenenisa Bekele. In the 2017 version, Kenenisa falls at the start, which manager Jos Hermans claims was a surprise start, and Bekele was bloodied before the battle began.

Bekele was behind by 10k, and by 22 k, he was out of the race. The front pack went out in 61:33. The early pace had been 14:26 for 5k, 23:08 for 8k and 28:58 for 10k. The 10k was passed in 2:02:13 pace. The 15k, passed in 43:26, was 2:02:11 pace. The leaders, with Bekele off the back, hit 20k in 58:24, a 2:03:03 pace. With the half hit in 1:01:33, a 2:03:11 pace, the race was on.

But, the man confident of a World Record, Kenenisa Bekele dropped out just past 22 kilometers, citing sore calve, and sore everything else after the fall.

The leaders hit 25k in 1:12:53, a 2:03:01 pace. Again, a fast pace, but no WR race here. The 30k was hit in 1:27:41, a 2:03:20 pace. The 35 kilometer, again, fast, but 2:03:39 pace, in 1:42:33. Tamirat Tola was leading and dominating, taking a two minute plus lead to the finish, as he crossed 40k in 1:57:35.

 Tola wins Dubai 2017.jpgTamirat Tola wins 2017 Dubai Marathon in 2:04:11, photo courtesy of Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon

Hats off to Tamirat Tola, who was the only man who held it together after hitting the half maraton in 61:33. Most of his competitors ran 65 minutes for the second half, or worse! Tola held on for a fine 2:04:11 course record.

In the womans race, Worknesh Degafa won, in her debut, in a fine 2:22:36. Worknesh ran against a very determined and experienced field, and surprised many with her fine win.

We have attached the top ten lists on each race right below.

Degafa wins dubai .jpgWorknesh Degafa wins Dubai Marathon, photo courtesy of Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon

The race had been highly anticipated, as many woke up around the world, hoping to see Mr. Bekele go for the World Record. We will have to wait until London now.

The lesson we learn in this one? The marathon is a cruel mistress sports fans. No one, not even the most bemedaled distance runner of his generation can take the race for granted. While this unfortunate race for Mr. Bekele was more than likely the result of the fall at the start, planning two major marathons in three months does not show much respect for the training, the distance or the insane speed at which elite races are run.

We wish Kenenisa Bekele a speedy recovery and hope to see him fit and better for the lesson learnt from the Dubai Marathon, when he toes the line in London in April 2017.

Here is pdf of Elite men's splits from Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon. The splits are the diligent work of Dr. Helmut Winter, who does this for many of the finest marathons in the world: Standard Chartered Dubai marathon on January 20, 2017: Live splits for men - Live splits.pdf

Here is JPEG of Top Ten Men from Dubai marathon 2017:

2017 Men's Top Ten Dubai .jpg

Here is JPEG of Top Ten Women from Dubai Marathon 2017:

22017 Top ten women dubai.png

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