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The men's race is guaranteed a new champion as no previous winners are entered for this year's Dubai Marathon.
Ethiopian men have triumphed at the past eight editions of the race and that trend looks set to continue as a strong Ethiopian contingent - including six men with PBs faster than 2:07 - will be in action on Friday.
With a PB of 2:04:40, 25-year-old Deksisa is the fastest athlete on the men's start list. Despite his relatively young age, the talented Ethiopian has built up plenty of experience at the marathon distance after a brief track career.
At the age of just 20, he won the 2014 San Diego Half Marathon with a personal best of 1:00:12, then two years later he moved up to the marathon and ran an impressive 2:06:22 debut in Rotterdam to finish second.
Since then he has fully focused on the 42.195km distance and claimed his first marathon victory in Mumbai in 2018 before winning again in Hamburg a few months later. It proved to be his best year so far as he ended it with a 2:04:40 PB to finish third in Amsterdam. His lifetime best is just one minute outside the Dubai course record set in 2019 by Getaneh Molla.
Deksisa’s compatriot Seifu Tura is another of Ethiopia’s crop of rising stars who made an impressive marathon debut with a solid second place in 2:09:26 in Seoul in 2017.
Still just 22, Tura enjoyed his best day at the 2018 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon when he took full advantage of the renowned fast course to carve a big slice off his personal best, improving by four minutes to run 2:04:44 for seventh. The young Ethiopian has also sealed marathon wins in Milan and Shanghai, while setting a half marathon personal best of 59:17 in Buenos Aires in August.
With a best of 2:06:00, Andualem Belay Shiferaw may not be the fastest in the field, but he will be feeling confident after being unbeaten at the marathon distance in 2019. He set his PB in his most recent race, winning the Lisbon Marathon in October.
Aychew Bantie Dessie, 38-year-old Birhanu Bekele Berga and Limenih Getachew Yizengaw are the other sub-2:07 performers in the field. If the conditions are kind - temperatures are expected to be about 19C at the time of the race - then they could improve on their times on the flat and fast course.
Bahrain's Aweke Ayalew and Kenya's marathon debutant Eric Kiptanui will be looking to end Ethiopia's winning streak in Dubai. Ayalew made his marathon debut in Frankfurt last year, finishing third in 2:07:12, while Kiptanui's half marathon PB of 58:42 suggests he could run a swift time in the marathon.(01/22/2020) ⚡AMP
In its relatively brief history (the race was first held in 2000), the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has become one of the fastest, most respected and the most lucrative marathon in the world in terms of prize money. Each year thousands of runners take to the roads in this beautiful city in the United Arab Emirates for this extraordinary race...more...