Dubai (UAE): Four years after storming on to the world marathon scene with a new course record in Dubai, Ethiopia’s Ayele Abshero will return to the scene of his greatest triumph when he lines up at the 2016 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on January 22.
In 2012, the 21 year-old marathon rookie stunned a world-class field by clocking an astonishing time of 2h:04m:23s to win the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on his debut at the classic 42.195km distance.
Not only was it a course record for the IAAF Gold Label race, it was also the fastest marathon debut ever and, at the time, the fourth fastest marathon time in history.
Since then Abshero has competed all over the world – adding third and fourth place finishes at the London Marathon to his running CV – and will make his long-awaited return to Dubai for the first world-class marathon of 2016.
“Ayele’s victory and course record was a highlight in what was an amazing year for the Dubai Marathon in 2012,” said Event Director Peter Connerton.
“Never before in marathon history had more than three men broken 2:05 on a legal course yet that year four men broke that mark here in Dubai. We bettered that in 2013 when five men ran sub-2:05 but Ayele’s race – and the fastest marathon debut ever – are certainly among the race’s historical highlights.”
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and staged under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the 2016 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will offer a new race course for Abshero.
In 2012, the young Ethiopian started and finished his race in Downtown Dubai – in 2016 he will join the other elites at the start line outside the Dubai Police Academy.
Now 25, Abshero began running in order to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Tessera and enjoyed his first opportunity representing Ethiopia by finishing second in the junior event at the 2008 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. A year later he claimed gold in the same event in Jordan.
After a few years competing on the track, he made his move to the marathon distance and that stunning debut in Dubai. Since then he has enjoyed those two strong finishes in London, a sixth place at the Chicago Marathon in 2013 and victory at the Egmond Half Marathon in 2014 in Holland. This year, Abshero warmed up for the Dubai event with third place at the recent Gyeongju Marathon in Korea.
“As well as 2012 champion Ayele Abshero joining two-time London Marathon winner Tsegaye Kebede in the men’s line-up, we have several other world-class athletes vying for positions at the start,” added General Co-ordinator, IAAF Council Member and UAE Athletics Federation President Ahmed Al Kamali.
“Numbers are once again very strong across the three race categories and we expect around 30,000 runners of all ages, nationalities and abilities to be join us for what will once again be one of the city’s biggest sporting events of the year.”
Runners who have yet to register for the Marathon, the 10km event and the 4km Fun Run can sign up through the official website www.dubaimarathon.org. In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Dubai Eye 103.8FM, Dubai Holding, Dubai Police and the RTA.
Caption: Ethiopia’s Ayele Abshero – the course record holder at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon – will make his first appearance in four years when he returns to the IAAF Gold Label race on January 22