From David Monti
© 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved RaceResultsWeekly.com
The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon announced last week that the next edition of their event, scheduled for Friday, January 18, 2008, would offer a $1,000,000 prize money purse plus an additional $1,000,000 world record bonus. Both the male and female winners will receive $250,000, the largest guaranteed prize money payments in marathon running.
The money will come from directly from Dubai's ruler, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, whose official title is "Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai."
The race, which had its 8th edition this year, implemented a new course for 2007. William Rotich of Kenya (2:09:53) and Magarsa Askale Tafa of Ethiopia (2:27:19) own the current course records, well north of the current men's and women's world records of 2:04:55 and 2:15:25 set by Paul Tergat and Paula Radcliffe, respectively, in Berlin and London in 2003.
The announcement underscores the rise of professional athletics events located in the Middle East. Sammy Wanjiru set the first of his two half-marathon world records this year in Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates last February, and Abu Dhabi is reportedly launching an international marathon next April.
Is the course in Dubai fast enough to set a world record? This year's champion Rotich thinks it might.
"I think with the right people and pacing, someone could do 2:05 here," he told race organizers.
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