Dubai (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES): Ethiopian elites dominate the entry list in the women’s competition for the 2023 Dubai Marathon with Ruti Aga and compatriots Gutemi Shone and Gelete Burka all targeting the biggest Marathon in the Middle East on February 12.
Twenty-nine-year-old Aga is the athlete with the fastest personal best in the field having clocked 2:18:34 when finishing second in the Berlin Marathon in 2018. Last year, the Ethiopian – who won the Tokyo Marathon in 2019 – claimed fourth in Chicago and will certainly be one to watch.
But while Aga, with three Marathon Majors medals to her name, has an impressive pedigree, her compatriot Shone knows exactly what to expect in Dubai having finished second last time she competed in the UAE in January 2020 – the last time the Dubai Marathon was staged before the pandemic.
That runner-up spot behind champion Worknesh Degefa was achieved with a personal best of 2:20:11 and the 31-year-old, who finished fifth last year in Seoul, will be looking to use that ‘local knowledge’ to go one place better on the podium on the race’s return to the sporting calendar.
Also returning to the Middle East with experience of running in the Gulf is 37-year-old Gelete Burka. In 2018, Burka enjoyed a successful year starting off with sixth place and a personal best in Dubai (2:20:45) before winning the Ottawa Marathon in Canada and closing the year with third place and a podium finish in Abu Dhabi.
A hugely talented runner, in 2019 Burka added victory in the Paris Marathon and third place in Chicago to an impressive running CV that also includes World Championship medals and a 5,000m top five finish at the London Olympics in 2012.
Held under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the Dubai Marathon will see the World Athletics Gold Label race finally return to the sporting calendar with a mixed elite field combining highly experienced international race winners with raw talent keen to make a mark in the early years of their careers.
“Over the years we’ve enjoyed some breath-taking performances from marathon debut makers as well as experienced campaigners,” said Dubai Marathon Event Director Peter Connerton. “Athletes know that with the world-class infrastructure and benign weather conditions in Dubai, they can run a personal best and gain international recognition.”
Runners who have yet to register and who would like to compete in the Marathon, the 10km Road Race or 4km Fun Run can still register up until February 11 only at the official website dubaimarathon.org.
The 2023 Dubai Marathon is supported by adidas, Dubai Duty Free, NORQAIN, the Channel 4 Radio Network, the Dubai Sports Council, Dubai RTA, Dubai Police and Dubai Municipality.