Additional $1MM for World Record Also on Offer
Friday's Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, the tenth edition of the race, will feature a small field (last year's marathon has 657 finishers) but an enormous USD 1,000,000 prize money purse, supplemented by additional $1,000,000 bonuses should either the male of female winners break the world record. Simply winning the race is worth $250,000 in prize money, the largest single race winner's check in all of marathon running.
Elite athlete coordinator Larry Barthlow has recruited six pacemakers for the race, and four will likely shepherd Gebrselassie through the flat, out-and-back course, with the strongest lasting through 30 km, and possibly beyond.
Besides Gebrselassie, Barthlow has recruited a fast, all-African mens' field. Team Ethiopia's supporting cast includes Tesfaye Tola (2:06:57 PB), Gudisa Shentema (2:07:34), Gashaw Melese Asfaw (2:08:03), Mesfin Admasu (2:09:49) and Deressa Edae Chimsa (2:10:16) amongst others. Team Kenya is led by William Kiplagat (2:06:50 PB), Benson Cherono (2:07:58), Nephat Kinyanjui (2:08:09), Daniel Yego (2:08:16), David Kemboi (2:08:34), and Jonathan Yego (2:09:57).
Ethiopia also has a strong presence amongst the 16 women Barthlow recruited for the elite field. National record holder and defending champion Birhane Adere (2:20:42) is the top entrant, but Bezunesh Bekele (2:23:09) and Askale Tafa Magarsa (2:21:31), who finished second and third here last year, respectively, are also in the field. Other Ethiopians include Elfenesh Alemu (2:24:29), Asha Gigi (2:26:05), Gishu Mindaye Tilahun (2:28:30) and Mulu Seboka (2:29:06) amongst others. Helena Kiprop is the top Kenyan entrant (2:25:01), while Russian steeplechaser Tatyana Petrova (2:31:03) is the only non-African entered in the women's elite field.
Prize money is paid 10-deep: $250,000-100,000-50,000-25,000-15,000-14,000-13,000-12,000-11,000-10,000. The course records are 2:04:53 (Gebrselassie, 2008) and 2:22:42 (Adere, 2008).