This Ethiopian runner smashed the Dubai Marathon record
There were plenty of thrills – as well as spills – at the world’s richest road race over the weekend.
Ethiopian runner Tamirat Tola gave the crowds something to cheer about as he took out the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon with a speedy time of 2 hours, 4 minutes and 11 seconds – smashing the course record while he was at it.
The 25-year-old, who won a bronze medal in the 10,000 metres at the Rio Olympics last year, claimed the $200,000 first prize for his record-breaking time at Friday’s race.
The previous record was set at the 2012 Dubai Marathon by fellow Ethiopian Ayele Abshero, who ran the course in 2 hours, 4 minutes and 23 seconds.
Meanwhile, pre-race favourite Kenenisa Bekele, also of Ethiopia, was forced to drop out around halfway into the 42km course after suffering a nasty fall at the very start of the race.
Unofficial footage from the Dubai marathon. Incident involving Bekele at the start resulting in a hard fall. Updates to follow. pic.twitter.com/5ElKCtPYEF
— Sub2hrsmarathon (@Sub2hrs) January 20, 2017
The 5000m and 10,000m world record-holder was seen limping away to catch a taxi to the finish line, FloTrack reported.
It’s the second time Bekele has dropped out of a Dubai Marathon – two years ago he suffered a hamstring injury.
Marathon debutant Worknesh Degefa, of Ethiopia, won the women’s race with an impressive time of 2 hours, 22 minutes and 36 seconds. She also took home a $200,000 prize packet.
Ethiopian runners also scooped second and third place in both the men’s and women’s categories.
However, in the wheelchair category, Rafa Botello of Spain emerged victorious, clocking in at 1 hour, 31 minutes and 19 seconds.
More than 30,000 runners took part in this year’s marathon, 10km road race and 4km fun run, which has been dubbed the biggest mass participation sporting event in the Middle East.
Photos: Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon