© Copyright – 2018 – Athletics Illustrated

A group of approximately 10 Ethiopian men raced the 2018 Dubai Marathon Friday, set to do one of two things, break each other during the first 30K of the race or break the marathon world record, which is held by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto at 2:02:57 from the 2014 Berlin Marathon. Ethiopians and Kenyans are bitter rivals.

Interestingly, the elite field in Dubai is made up of primarily Ethiopian athletes each year.

They ran through the half-way point in the time of 1:01:38 to 1:01:40; as a pack, pacing, wind-breaking and perhaps going at a suicidal pace to, as mentioned, break each other or the world record.

Odds were that they would break each other; winner gets well-paid by Ethiopian standards.

Well, it was nine of the first 10 finishers, plus one bitter rival, a Kenyan to half-way. At 30K it was down to seven Ethiopians.

Athlete 21.1K 30K 42.195K Country
Mosinet Geremew 1:01:38 1:27:38 2:04:00 Ethiopia
18th fastest all-time
Leule Gebrselassie 1:01:39 1:27:37 2:04:02 Ethiopia
19th fastest all-time
Tola Tamirat 1:01:38 1:27:38 2:04:06 Ethiopia
20th fastest all-time
Asefa Mengstu 1:01:39 1:27:37 2:04:06 Ethiopia
20th-fastest all-time
Sisay Lemma 1:01:40 1:27:38 2:04:08 Ethiopia
21st fastest all-time
Birhanu Legese 1:01:39 1:27:37 2:04:15 Ethiopia
22nd fastest all-time
Seyefu Tura 1:01:38 1:27:37 2:04:44 Ethiopia
37th fastest all-time
Yenew Alamirew 1:01:38 1:27:58 2:08:56 Ethiopia

The winner recorded the 18th fastest performance ever and is now the ninth-fastest man all-time.

The eighth finisher Yenew Alamirew, a 27-year-old 5,000-metre specialist, who owns a 12:48.77 personal best, debuted in the time of 2:08:56. He began to drift off the pack at 30K. His 5,000m best is the 10th fastest in the world, all-time.

Kenenisa Bekele holds the world best time of 12:37:35.

Sunday’s winner, 25-year-old Mosinet Geremew finished in 2:04:00, a new personal best. His only other marathon was last year’s Berlin performance of 2:06:12.

Second place finisher Leule Gebrselassie debuted in the time of 2:04:02, which is faster than Bekele’s debut of 2:05:04. Tola Tamirat crossed the line four seconds back in apparently his third consecutive Dubai Marathon. It was a new personal best for the London World Championships silver medallist (2:09:49).

Asefa Mengstu also crossed the line with a new personal best of 2:04:06. His annual bests according to the IAAF are 2014: 2:19:40 and 2017: 2:10:01. This was an outstanding jump in performance for the 33-year-old.

Sisay Lemma who finished fifth overall was just another two seconds back of Mengstu also with a new personal best time. Birhanu Legese also achieved a new personal best, finished in the time of 2:04:15.

Seventh place finisher Seyefu Tura also achieved a new personal best time, finishing way back at 2:04:44. His previous best was 2:09:26 for the 21-year-old, accomplished when he was just nineteen.

By comparison, the notoriously fast Berlin Marathon has had only 16, sub-2:05 finishers spread over nine years starting in 2003 and the most recent in 2017. Dubai’s 21 sub-2:05s have taken place over six separate years.

The women’s race had a very similar result with Roza Bekele winning in the time of 2:19:17. This is the 12th fastest performance all-time behind seven other athletes in Paula Radcliffe, Mary Keitany, Tirunesh Dibaba, Catherine Ndereba, Rita Jeptoo (confirmed drug cheat), Tiki Gelana and Mizuki Noguchi.

Boru Tedese finished second overall, also achieving a new personal best with her 2:19:30 performance.

Yebrguai Melese ran a three-minute-plus new best to finish third in the time of 2:19:36.

The top-10 finishers ran through half-way in the time of 1:10:07 and 1:10:10.

Four finished sub-2:20:00, two more sub-2:21:00 and one sub-2:22:00.

Four finished within the top-29 performance all-time or 28 removing Jeptoo’s Boston performance.

Of the top-14, one ran for China, another Bahrain. The Bahraini, Jesi Disa, is Ethiopian-born. The other 12 are all Ethiopian.

First place women and men earned $200,000USD each and a further $250,000 was available for a world record performance.

$200,000USD is roughly valued at 5,512,000.00 Ethiopian Birr, the price of a medium-sized bungalow.