Dubai, UAE, January 11, 2017: Ethiopian athletes Shure Demise and Meselech Melkamu will lead a strong line-up of elite runners in the women's event at the 2017 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on January 20.
In the past, Demise and Melkamu have flirted with the top spot in the world's richest marathon and both women have the experience required to finally land the US$200,000 first prize.
Three years ago Melkamu finished as runner-up after missing out on victory by just 22 seconds to fellow Ethiopian Mulu Seboka, while Demise has already shown what she can achieve in Dubai, having run a personal best over the flat course of 2h:20m:59s for fourth place in 2015.
Demise has also won the last two Toronto Marathons and will be looking to celebrate her birthday in style when she takes to the start line outside the Dubai Police Academy on Umm Suqeim Road – Demise turns 21 just 24 hours later on January 21.
“Over the years we have enjoyed some amazing battles in the women's race, including the 2012 Marathon when the top three women all broke 2h:20, which still remains unmatched by any other Marathon,” said Event Director Peter Connerton.
Demise's personal best from 2015 is one of the highlights of an impressive roster of marathon performances for the 20 year-old. She knows how to excel on the big occasion as her run of marathon results over the past two years shows: twice winning in Toronto (2015 and 2016) and also finishing high in the rankings in Tokyo, one of the world's leading marathons.
Like Demise, 31 year-old Melkamu is a thoroughbred elite who ran a superb marathon debut when she won the 2012 Frankfurt Marathon in 2:21:01.
As well as finishing fourth in Dubai in 2014, Melkamu claimed third place in last year's Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon and clearly has the potential for a sub-2:20.
“I want to reach times in the marathon that are as good as the results I achieved in the 10,000m,” said Melkamu who has accumulated a haul of eight medals at World Championships, World Indoor Championships and World Cross-Country Championships.
Joining Demise and Melkamu in the Dubai line up are fellow Ethiopians Tadelech Bekele – who returns to the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon following her seventh place with a personal best of 2:22:51 in 2015 – and Arage Yebrgual, winner of both the Prague and Boston Marathons in 2015.
“Like their male counterparts, the leading female athletes are all keen to compete in Dubai,” said Event General Co-ordinator, UAE Athletics Federation Chairman and IAAF Council Member Ahmed Al Kamali. “The nature of the course and the wonderful running conditions lend themselves to fast times and the opportunity to set a new personal best, while the financial incentive is also bigger than other events.”
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and staged under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the event will see more than 30,000 runners compete across the IAAF Gold Label marathon, the 10km Road Race and the 4km Fun Run.
In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Masafi, Sport 360, Dubai Eye 103.8FM, Dubai Holding, Dubai Police and the RTA.