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A marathon too far? Bekele drops out of Dubai

Kenenisa Bekele’s ability to conquer the marathon remains in doubt after he dropped out after 36-kilometers in the Dubai marathon in the early hours of this morning.

The Ethiopian has been without doubt the greatest runner on the track and in cross country but it appears he is unable to conquer the classic distance – preparation seems to be as much of a challenge as anything else. His preparation for Chicago consisted of seven weeks and his agent, Jos Hermens, has said on a few occasions that he struggles to maintain focus and prepare for an event a long time in advance. For the track and cross he has been able to train for two months to great effect but this hasn’t been the case for the marathon.

Bekele struggling in Dubai

Bekele struggling in Dubai

Bekele switched to renowned coach Renato Canova but this hasn’t had the desired shift in performance just yet. We will have to wait and see officially if there was some problems in the build-up to the marathon with in terms of his health or an injury.

Regardless of health issues, it looks like the marathon will be a step too far for the enigmatic Ethiopian.

Lemi Berhanu Hayle (ETH) took the win, and the $200,000 prize, with a five minute pb in 2:05:28 at a deserted finish line with no spectators at the finish line. The top ten runners were all Ethiopian.

Men's winner

Men’s winner

In the women’s field, Aselefech Mergia celebrated her 30th birthday in style with a perfect comeback, winning the most thrilling finish in the history of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.

The Ethiopian, who had taken time off competition to have a baby, returned to the marathon for the first time since the summer of 2012, winning in 2:20:02. In a duel right to the line, reigning World Half Marathon Champion Gladys Cherono was beaten by just one second on a superb marathon debut, while fellow Kenyan Lucy Kabuu was third in 2:20:21.

The finish of the women's race

The finish of the women’s race

Check full results here

Image courtesy of PhotoRun
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Feidhlim Kelly

Feidhlim Kelly

Con Houlihan once told me that tomorrow is now. In taking on this venture I’ve started to try and put his words into action.

I worked for Con from 2007 till his passing in 2012 taking down his copy and a whole lot more. I have a Con Houlihan section which will go in to more depth on that.

I’m a long-time contributor to the Irish Runner magazine and am also working for the Irish Examiner.

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