ATHLETICS: Stunning 2:03:34 for Molla and 2:17:08 for Chepngetich in Dubai!

Fastest debut marathon ever: Getaneh Molla (ETH) in Dubai: 2:03:34! (Photo: Dubai Marathon)

The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has been the richest race in the world for several years, but the prize money was downgraded for 2019 because the IAAF won’t recognize the race for its new Platinum Label class because the number of finishers is less than 15,000.

That didn’t stop the 2019 edition from being the greatest ever, with two sensational wins from athletes who weren’t marathon icons before … but will be remembered now!

Ethiopia’s Getaneh Molla won a two-man duel in the final 700 meters to finish ahead of countryman Herpassa Negasa in an amazing 2:03:34 … in his debut marathon! Negasa ran 2:03:40 and Asefa Mengstu ran 2:04:05 … and got third!

The race went out at a very respectable 1:01:43, but Molla and Negasa were clear by 35 km and Molla ran away in the final 700 meters for the victory. It’s a race record, the fastest debut marathon ever and places Molla – after one marathon – as no. 6 on the all-time list, with the ninth fastest marathon ever run.

Negasa’s 2:03:40 was good for no. 8 all-time; he improved his all-time best from 2:09:14 from 2018!

“I was hoping for maybe 2:05 or 2:06,” said Molla afterwards. Although a new marathoner, he has excellent track credentials, having run 12:59.58 in Brussels (BEL) last season and as a four-time Ethiopian 5,000 national champion. But his Brussels time ranks him no. 93 on the all-time list; he’s now the sixth-fastest marathoner ever.

In the women’s race, the pace was quick from the start and reached halfway in a very fast 1:08:10. Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich and defending champ Worknesh Degefa (ETH) ran at the front and Chepngetich slowly pulled away to a 2:17:08 win, the third-fastest marathon ever run by a woman. She ran her first marathon two years ago in Istanbul (TUR) and won in 2:22:36, then finished second in Paris last April (2:22:59), then lowered her PR to 2:18:35 to win in Istanbul again, Now, 2:17:08!

Degefa finished second in 2:17:41, improving from 2:19:53 to win Dubai in 2018. She’s now no. 4 all-time, with the fifth-fastest women’s marathon ever run. This was only the second race in history that had two women finish under 2:18; the other was Mary Keitany’s historic 2:17:01 in the 2017 London Marathon, followed by Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH) in 2:17:56.

Although the prize money was cut from prior years, it’s still a rich race, with $100,000-40,000-20,000-10,000-5,000-4,500-4,000-3,500-3,000-2,500 for the top 10 finishers in both the men’s and women’s races. That’s $385,000 in total!

This race was unbelievable and confirms Dubai’s place as one of the top marathons of the year, even if it’s not part of the World Marathon Majors or an IAAF Platinum Label race. Summaries:

Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon
Dubai (UAE) ~ 25 January 2019
(Full results here)

Men: 1. Getaneh Molla Tamire (ETH), 2:03:34; 2. Herpassa Negasa (ETH), 2:03:40; 3. Asefa Mengstu (ETH), 2:04:24; 4. Emmanuel Saina (KEN), 2:05:02; 5. Shifera Tamru (ETH), 2:05:18; 6. Kelkile Gezahegn (ETH), 2:06:09; 7. Adugna Takele (ETH), 2:06:32; 8. Birhanu Teshome (ETH), 2:08:20; 9. Fikadu Kebede (ETH), 2:08:27; 10. Tadesse Abraham (SUI), 2:09:50.

Women: 1. Ruth Chepngetich (KEN), 2:17:08; 2. Worknesh Degefa (ETH), 2:17:41; 3. Worknesh Edesa (ETH), 2:21:05; 4. Waganesh Mekasha (ETH), 2:22:45; 5. Sintayehu Lewetegn (ETH), 2:25:59; 6. Rahma Tusa (ETH), 2:26:38; 7. Muluhabt Tsega (ETH), 2:27:36; 8. Sule Utura (ETH), 2:32:52; 9. Kate Roberts (RSA), 2:59:21; 10. Helen O’Neille (GBR), 3:15:56.