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Gebrselassie wins Dubai marathon

Updated: Friday, 16 Jan 2009 10:29

Haile Gebrselassie ran the Dubai marathon in 2hrs 5mins 29secs
Haile Gebrselassie ran the Dubai marathon in 2hrs 5mins 29secs

Haile Gebrselassie was a runaway winner of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon this morning but failed in his attempt to set a third world record at the distance.

In adverse weather conditions Gebrselassie claimed victory and the $250,000 prize in two hours five minutes 29 seconds, falling well short of his performance in Berlin last September where he ran 2hrs 3mins 59secs.

The 35-year-old Ethiopian initially looked to be well on target to claim a world record bonus of $1million and at the halfway point despite an outbreak of heavy rain - he was 20secs faster than what he achieved in Berlin - indeed his time of 61min 45sec was exactly what he had asked the pacemakers to provide at that point.

However, the pace rapidly slowed and at 32km as the pacemakers stepped aside he was just a second ahead of schedule, leaving him to complete the final 10km on his own.

Gebrselassie was chasing the 27th world record of his unmatchable distance running career, but with the rain falling even harder, saw his dreams fall apart for a second year.

By 35km he had fallen 22secs behind the requisite pace and with the wind changing direction and rain lashing down into his face, he failed to pick up his momentum.

Gebrselassie, who missed out in his world record attempt a year ago after going off too quickly in the early stages, saw himself beaten on this occasion by the conditions as they rapidly deteriorated.

Deressa Chimsa (2hrs 7mins 54secs) and Esheta Wendimu (2hrs 8mins 41secs) made it a clean sweep of the medals for Ethiopia.

Last year's women's runner-up Bezunesh Bekele made it a double celebration for the hundreds of Ethiopian spectators at the event, also scoring an easy success in the unofficial time of 2hrs 24mins 1secs.

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