The Abu Dhabi had its premier running on Friday. While it is too early to make a full assessment, it seems that, due to a last night change by a municipality enroute, there is some question about the length of the event. Our sources suggest that while the race management had to accomodate the change in road use, it may have shortened the event by 400-500 meters. Details will continue to come in, and we will update, upon confirmation.
The course was measured to IAAF standards. There was a last minute course change near 33-35 kilometers that shortened the course. This can be viewed if one looks at official event video. Splits are off.
Truth is, things happen. If one is old enough, the 1998 San Diego rock n roll was halted by a train and citizen runners were held up for 40 minutes to 48 minutes. I recall hearing that the death knell of San Diego. But,Tim Murphy and Tracy Sundlun kept it alive.
Our sport loves to eat its young. I am sure that Abu Dhabi team will figure it out.
In the meantime, Justin Lagat is busy this weekend, with several events in the Middle East, Asia and Europe.The sport continues to grow, and Abu Dhabi Marathon is an example how the sport will continue to thrive.
The inaugural Abu Dhabi Marathon successfully expanded the territory and the season of road running
In the previous years, it would seem that the road running season would end in November just after the New York City Marathon. But, this has been exciting year with two exciting marathons so far in the last month of the year. Road running is now going to become a whole year round event with no seasons, there are going to be big marathons every month throughout the year, unlike the track and field events that only happen mostly from May up to September.
The Abu Dhabi Marathon became the second big marathon to happen in the United Arab Emirates and it was such a successful event. The organizers staged a well-organized race, invited some of the best runners in the world and the times were fast.
Having started much earlier than it was expected and having happened on a Friday, many Kenyan fans, and I guess fans everywhere else, got surprised and only learned about it when it was already done. Many were still asking what time the event was going to be run when the results had already been posted.
It took a while before I could get a link to watch the event online. I asked for the link on Twitter and Khalid AzzA from Turkey was the one who gave me the link and I was able to enjoy to remaining part of the race. The live coverage was great.
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The men’s leading pack had disintegrated after the 30km point and it soon became a battle between two Kenyans; Marius Kipserem and Abraham Kiptum at the front. Kipserem seemed to be controlling the pace at the lead and Kiptum would occasionally come up to his shoulder, and then move back again to follow closely.
Given that he had just broken the world record for the half marathon in Valencia in October, when the two crossed the 40km point, many expected that Kiptum would use his half marathon speed to take the win. With less than a kilometer to go, Kiptum made the move, but Kipserem could not let him open a gap enough to feel safe.
When Kiptum slowed down a little, Kipserem closed the gap rapidly and just ran past him. Kiptum had no more strength in him to match that. Kipserem won the race in 2:04:04 as Kiptum followed to take 2nd in 2:04:16. Dejena Gonfa was perhaps in a different class from the two, but joined them in the podium with a 2:07:06.
The women’s race was almost similar to the men’s race towards the end as it also turned into a two horse race between Eunice Chumba of Bahrain and Ababel Yeshaneh of Ethiopia. At around the 38km point, Yeshaneh had slowly begun opening the gap at the front and was 20 seconds ahead of Chumba at the 40km point. She went ahead and won the race in 2:20:16, 38 seconds ahead of Chumba who finished 2nd I 2:20:54. Gelete Burka finished 3rd in 2:24:07.