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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 22, 2010

Running: Gebrselassie wins Dubai Marathon


BARBARA SURK
Associated Press Writer

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates Haile Gebrselassie won the Dubai Marathon on Friday, falling three minutes short of his own world record.

The 36-year-old Ethiopian champion finished the race in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 9 seconds, just ahead of compatriots Chala Dechase Beyene (2:06:33) and Eshetu Wendimu Tsige (2:06:46).

The women's event was also dominated by Ethiopians, with Mamitu Daska Molisa wining the race in 2:24:18, ahead of compatriot Aberu Kebede Shewave (2:24:26). Helena Loshanvang Kirop of Kenya was third (2:24:54) ahead of Ethiopian defending champion Bezunesh Bekele Sertsu (2:26:05).

Gebrselassie set the world record in the 2008 Berlin Marathon at 2:03:59.

On Friday, he complained of back problems and not sleeping well before the run along Dubai's Persian Gulf coast. But, he said, he was content he won.

"It's wonderful," Gebrselassie said. "I wasn't feeling very good this morning because I had a back problem but I'm very happy to win the race."

He said woke up with back pain and went to the doctor to check it out.

"I think I slept in a different position, on my stomach, and that caused the problem," Gebrselassie said.

Gebrselassie made the halfway turn at 1:02:51 and was pushed in the second half of the race by the pacemakers. He said he wanted to "move a little" after the pace makers stopped at 30 kilometers, but soon found that he couldn't "change my gear."

"It was a hard moment and I just had to decide a different tactic," Gebrselassie said.

Molisa, who collapsed at the finish line after winning the women's race, had enough strength left to say that she was happy with the result.

"I had always dreamt of winning here and I am very happy," said Molisa, who like Gebrselassie, took home a $250,000 winner's prize.