Last year’s Dubai Marathon set a cracking pace for the elite marathon year, with eight of the 20 fastest times of 2012 recorded in the UAE race. It caught people a little offguard and there were all indications that 2013 was going to serve up a spectacular encore.
It stil very well may, however some of that shine has rubbed off with neither the men’s or women’s champions returning to defend their titles compounded by the news late this week that two of the big names for the race have pulled out.
The second fastest man ever over the marathon distance, Kenya’s Moses Mosop who recorded 2:03:06 at Boston in 2011, was down to attend and attempt to win a race that has alluded him in previous attempts. However he joins fellow Kenyan and three time Virgin London Marathon and two time ING New York City Marathon winner, Martin Lel, and the defending men’s champion, Ethiopia’s Ayele Abshero, stuck on the sidelines due to injuries.
That said, the lack of known names does not preclude the chance of further fast times – entering last year’s race very little was known of the top finishers, including Abshero who was debuting over the distance.
Ethiopians Yemane Tsegay and David Yami will be trying to maintain their country’s dominant streak, both having raced last year and recorded sub 2:06:30. It will be difficult to pick a winner but others to keep an eye on will be debutant Kenyan Olympian Moses Masai, who ran twelfth in the London Olympics 10,000m race, and fellow Kenyan, 2011 Dubai winner, David Barmasai.
The race will be streamed live online with the winner taking $200,000 in prizemoney.
On the women’s side it again appears to be an open race with most talk surrounding 2:21:19 marathoner, Tirfi Tsegaye and another debutant in 67:58 half-marathoner Wude Ayalew.
While it will be an open race that can often make for the most interesting – and if past performance indicates anything the course will do it’s part to make for a fast time.