By Bob Ramsak
Heavy rains thwarted Haile Gebrselassie’s bid for a third world record in the marathon today, but the Ethiopian nonetheless successfully defended his Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon title, clocking 2:05:29 unofficially.
Reaching the half way point in 61:45 –-20 seconds faster than in his world record run in Berlin last September-- Gebrselassie watched his world record ambitions, along with a $1 million bonus, slip away for the second consecutive year in Dubai as the conditions rapidly deteriorated. Nonetheless, his performance was the fourth fastest of his career and brought with it a paycheck for $250,000, the largest single race purse in marathon running.
Ethiopians Deresse Chimsa and Esheta Wendimu clocked 2:07:54 and 2:08:41 to finish second and third. In the women’s race, Bezunesh Bekele moved up a notch from her runner-up finish last year to win in 2:24:01. All times are unofficial.