Haile Gebrselassie: Simply, the Best: 2:05.29 in torrential rains, by Larry Eder, EME News by Alfons Juck


Running 2:56 a kilometer through the half marathon, Haile was twenty seconds ahead of his world record pace from Berlin 2008. The rains won this time, but Haile held on and ran a fine 2:05.29 to take the 2009 lead, and win $100,000 in the Dubai Marathon....

EME NEWS (JAN 16, 2009)


DUBAI (UAE, Jan 16): Torrential rain in the final stages ruined Haile Gebrselassie's world record attempt in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on Friday morning. But the Ethiopian still took the USD 250,000 first prize, winning in 2:05:29, the eighth fastest in history. He already has the top three times. On an uncharacteristically cool morning for the Gulf – the temperature stayed around 12C for the duration - The Ethiopian and his pacemakers encountered the first shower after just five kilometres in the 42.2k race. But even though Gebrselassie has said in the past that wet roads affect his running gait, it wasn't evident as he averaged just over 2:56 per kilometre, and streaked through the half-marathon in 61:45. That was right on the schedule he had planned for a new world record, and some 20sec faster than he had run the 'half' in Berlin four months ago, when he set the current world record of 2:03:59. Second Edae Chimsa, who distinguished himself last year by paying his own way to the race, and finishing seventh, clocked a personal best of 2:07:54, and won 100,000 USD. Third was another Ethiopian, debutant Wendimu Tsige, who has acted as a pacemaker for Gebrselassie in the past, but who clocked 2:08:41 here, and won $50,000. It was an Ethiopian day as best Kenyan David Kemboi finished sixth (2:12:14). Ever the optimist, Gebrselassie refused to be downhearted by what most saw as a reversal: "I'm really pleased with this performance," he said at the press conference, "this is my best time in this sort of weather. I'm not perfect for it. It's not the rain from the sky, it's the water on the ashphalt. I knew after halfway when we turned back, and felt the wind, and saw the rainclouds, it was gone. There was a chance I could've dropped out, this weather is bad for hamstrings. This is better than Dubai last year (2:04:53) for me, so I'm happy and will try here next time". In contrast, the women's race turned out to be as exciting as expected. The threat to last year's winner and race favourite, Berhane Adere also materialised, in the shape of 2008 runner-up, her colleague, Bezunesh Bekele, and the Kenyan, Helena Kiprop. Bezunesh, 25, and Kiprop, 33, swapped the lead head ing a group of eight, while the 35 year old Adere surveyed her rivals. Shortly after 30k, she needed binoculars, because Bezunesh and Kiprop sped away such that they had forged a gap of 100 metres inside a kilometre. They traded the lead between them for another two kilometres, before Bezunesh opened up a similar gap on the Kenyan. Bekele´s winning time 2:24:02 was almost a minute outside her fourth fastest debut in history, 2:23:09 last year. Another Ethiopian, Atsede Habtamu finished on her debut, in 2:25:17, relegating Kiprop to third in 2:25:35. Russian Osaka 2007 world steeple silver holder Tatyana Petrova was best European as fourth and improved her PB to first sub 2:30 (2:25:53). Another interesting debuts by Ethiopians, fifth Genet Getaneh (2:26:37) and sixth Eyerusalem Kuma (2:26:51). Adere finished seventh at the end of the day (2:27:47).

With even the tenth placer winning USD 10,000, the overall prize pot is USD 500,000 each for men and women, making Dubai the world's richest marathon in terms of prizes.


NAIROBI (KEN): 800 m star Pamela Jelimo was chosen to be part of Kenyan presidential delegation to witness the inauguration of US President Barack Obama. That was confirmed by her management company Golazo Sports. Her training goes well and everything is well underway for her first two ever indoor races. The Olympic champion and world junior record holder who was unbeaten last year will run a mile in Birmingham and 1000 m in Praha in February.


LAUSANNE (SUI): SPAR European Cross Country Champions' Sergey Lebid from Ukraine and Hilda Kibet from the Netherlands have been voted the European Athletes of the Month for December for their outstanding performances winning their European titles in Brussels last month. The runners up in the men's poll were Italian Andrea Lalli and Belgian Pieter Desmet while Steph Twell of Great Britain and Susan Kuijken of Netherlands were the runners up on the women's side.

DERVOCK (GBR): A politician from Dervock, a small village with the population of less than 700 in County Antrim in Northern Ireland, has written to the Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell asking for the marathon at the 2012 Games to be staged there. Informs insidethegames.com. Ballymoney councillor Ian Stevenson claims that it would be the perfect way to celebrate the cenentary of the victory of Kenneth McArthur, who was from Dervock, in the 1912 Olympic marathon in Stockholm. McArthur is the only runner born in the British Isles to have won an Olympic gold medal in the blue-riband event of the Games.

TALLINN (EST): The only international combined events fixture the Reval Hotels Cup organised by Olympic winner 2000 Erki Nool could see for this years edition a high quality field. As the organisers informed, already confirmed for Feb 7-8 event are Olympic silver medalist Andrey Kravchenko of Belarus and 2006 World Indoor Champion Andre Niklaus of Germany. Also top Russians Aleksey Drozdov and Aleksey Sysoyev are lined to come. For women pentathlon the top names so far are Russian indoor medalist Anna Bogdanova and Czech record holder Denisa Scerbova. Organisers also aimed to invite Olympic winner Bryan Clay, but he is passing the winter season.

BOSTON (USA): Reigning Olympic bronze medalist and American Record Holder Shalane Flanagan will make her 2009 debut at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games on February

7th. She will run her first 5000 m indoors, outdoors her US record is 14:44.80 from 2007. Organizers also announced the addition of American record-holder Alan Webb and 2008 NCAA Cross Country Champion, Galen Rupp, to its featured list of stars for 2009.

LAUSANNE (SUI): AP reports that world class sprinter Churandy Martina made his case to be reinstated as the Olympic 200 meters silver medalist to the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Thursday.

The team argued that a United States protest against Martina was filed too late under rules set by the International Association of Athletics Federations. Martina appeared at the daylong hearing to give evidence before arbitrator Luigi Fumagalli, along with officials from the IAAF and the U.S. Olympic Committee. CAS said Thursday that a ruling is not expected before the end of January.

LUXEMBOURG (LUX): One of the first bigger international meetings in Europe will be on Saturday the 7th Dussmann Indoor Meeting in Luxembourg. One of the best hurdlers in Europe Czech Petr Svoboda will debut into the season and hopes to break his own meet record 7.63 from last year. US Jerome Avery with 6.67 best from last year will compete at 60 metres. Interesting the appearance of Eritrean 1500 m national record holder Hais Welday who clocked 3:36.9 as junior in 2008. Interesting duel in Pole Vault with German Lars Borgeling and top Benelux duo Laurens Looije of Netherlands and Belgian Kevin Rans. Good quality women 60 m could be expected with African Champion Vida Anim, Sweden´s Lena Berntsson and Iwona Brzezinska of Poland.


TEL AVIV (ISR, Jan 11): Irina Lenskiy clocked windy 13.10 (+3.2) and legal 8.18 (+1.2) at the hurdles during local outdoor meet. Four days later on January 15 she clocked 13.18 (-0.1)

KAUNAS (LTU, Jan 15): At city championships world class multieventer Austra Skujyte started with solid 16.41 in Shot Put. Martynas Jurgilas clocked good 6.78 at 60 m.

Special thanks to Alfons Juck, EME News, sponsored by runblogrun.com.

For more on the sport, please check http://www.american-trackandfield.com

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