Dubai (UAE): Runner-up in Dubai two years ago, Ethiopia’s Meselech Melkamu is the latest big name to be added to what is a powerful field for the women’s event at Fri-day’s (January 22) Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.
In 2014, Melkamu missed out on victory by just 22 seconds to fellow Ethiopian Mulu Seboka and the two will again lock horns when the first major marathon of Olympic year gets underway at 6.30am on Friday.
With a marathon personal best of 2:21:01 - set in Frankfurt in 2012 - Melkamu is the second fastest in the field behind another compatriot and 2013 Dubai champion Tirfi Tsegaye (2:20:18) with Seboka ranked third for what is shaping up to be a true battle of running thoroughbreds.
The second fastest female 10,000m runner in history, Melkamu’s marathon personal best came on her debut, at the time the third fastest debut ever, and she returns to the fast and flat course of Dubai fresh from her last outing where she finished fifth at the Ottowa Marathon - an IAAF Silver Label race - in Canada.
While she continues to make great strides in her marathon career, Melkamu is perhaps better known for her 29m:53.80s run over 10,000m which ranks her second on the all time list and making her one of only five woman in history to break the 30 minute barri-er for the distance.
In her running career, she has also accumulated a haul of eight medals at World Championships, World Indoor Championships and World Cross-Country Champion-ships and boasts a track speed that suggests potential for further success over the classic 42.195km distance.
"The field is in great shape for both the men and women’s race," said Event Director Peter Connerton.
"While both lists are sprinkled with winners of many of the world’s biggest events, we also have three former Dubai winners in the women’s field in the shape of Tirfi Tsegaye, Mulu Seboka and Mamitu Daska. Having Meselech confirm her place adds even greater competition to what should be a fascinating race."
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Mak-toum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and staged under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the marathon will again set off from Umm Suqeim Road outside the Dubai Police Academy with around 30,000 runners expect across the IAAF Gold Label marathon, the 10km Road Race and the 4km Fun Run.
And while online registration has now closed, last minute runners who wish to enter can do so in person at run number collection at Meydan on Tuesday and Wednesday (Jan-uary 19-20) from 10am to 7pm and on Thursday (January 21) from 10am to 5pm with payment by credit card only.
In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Oasis, Dubai Eye 103.8FM, Dubai Holding, Dubai Police and the RTA.
2014 runner-up Meselech Melkamu - back in Dubai and determined to win her first Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on Friday (January 22)