Three months after running the second-fastest marathon time in history, Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele has confirmed his appearance at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on January 20.
The three-time Olympic gold medallist stormed to victory at the Berlin Marathon in September, crossing the finish line in an Ethiopian record of 2:03:03, just six seconds short of Dennis Kimetto’s world record.
After voicing his disappointment at missing out on the world record, Bekele is targeting Dubai for the next chapter in his marathon running career. It will be his second appearance at the event after an injury forced him to pull up on his Dubai debut in 2015.
“It’s a massive boost to have Kenenisa confirmed for the 2017 staging of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon,” said event director Peter Connerton. “His performance in Berlin proves that he is now very comfortable at the distance and we know he has unfinished business in Dubai after dropping out here two years ago.”
The 2008 Olympic 5000m and 10,000m champion took two minutes off his marathon PB in Berlin. “It was fantastic for me to get a personal best, but I’m still disappointed to have missed out on the world record,” said Bekele, who also finished third (2:06:36) at the London Marathon in 2016.
His performance in Berlin suggests that Kimetto’s world record of 2:02:57, set in Berlin in 2014, is within his reach. “I knew I had trained well and I knew what my strengths were,” said Bekele, who remains convinced he can run faster than his winning 2:03:03. “The Berlin race was fantastic but I could see that I still had to make a couple of changes in my training.”
As well as targeting a personal best and the 2:04:23 course record in Dubai, Bekele – who has 17 world titles to his name and remains world record-holder on the track at both 5000m and 10,000m – is also giving serious consideration to running at the IAAF World Championships London 2017. “If the federation select me, I’ll run the Worlds in London,” he added.
Organisers for the IAAF