Dubai Marathon

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Dubai Marathon
DateLate January
LocationDubai, United Arab Emirates
Event typeRoad
DistanceMarathon, 10K
Primary sponsorStandard Chartered
Established1998 (23 years ago) (1998)
Course recordsMen: 2:03:34 (2019)
Ethiopia Getaneh Molla
Women: 2:17:08 (2019)
Kenya Ruth Chepngetich
Official siteDubai Marathon
Participants1,927 (2020)
1,824 (2019)
48 finishers (1998)[1]

The Dubai Marathon (also known as Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon for sponsorship reasons) is an annual road marathon hosted by Dubai, United Arab Emirates, since 1998. The marathon is categorized as a Gold Label Road Race by World Athletics.[2]


Initial era[edit]

The inaugural Dubai Marathon was held on 27 November 1998.[3][1][4][a] The marathon started outside the Al Wasl Club, and ended inside the Al Wasl Stadium.[1] About 150 runners participated, with 48 of them finishing the race.[1]

The Association of Road Racing Statisticians (ARRS) has no record of a marathon occurring in Dubai in 1999.[7][b]

Current era[edit]

The 2000 edition of the marathon was held on 14 January; the event has usually been held on a Friday in January since.[9][6]

In 2006, the marathon was postponed from 6 January to 17 February due to the sudden death of Sheikh Maktoum, Emir of Dubai, on 4 January.[10][11][12][c] The postponement meant that temperatures were higher than usual during the race, approaching 30 °C (86 °F).[12] Winner Joseph Ngeny [nl] was originally only meant to pace the first 30 km (19 mi), but broke away from the pack once race organizers gave approval.[12][d]

In April 2007, it was announced that the prizes for the 2008 race would be one million dollars offered for a world record and $250,000 for first place for both men and women, making this the long distance running event with the greatest cash prizes in history.[13][14]

The 2008 race was won by Haile Gebrselassie with a time of 2:04:53. This was the second fastest recorded time for a marathon at that point, not fast enough to claim a world record or the million dollar prize.[15]

The 2012 race proved to have one of the fastest finishing fields at that point: a record of four athletes finished in under two hours and five minutes. Ayele Abshero won with a course record time of 2:04:23 hours, which was the fourth fastest on the all-time lists and the fastest time ever run by an athlete running his first marathon. The other podium finishers also entered the all-time top ten: runner-up Dino Sefir became the eighth fastest man with a time of 2:04:50 hours, while Markos Geneti became the ninth fastest with a time of 2:04:54 hours. Jonathan Kiplimo Maiyo became the 13th fastest man with a time of 2:04:56 hours, and Tadese Tola became the 16th fastest with a time of 2:05:10 hours.[16]

The women's side was also fast; for the first time in history, the top three runners of a race all finished in under two hours and twenty minutes. Aselefech Mergia finished with a time of 2:19:31 hours to win, setting an both a course record and an Ethiopian record and becoming the seventh fastest recorded woman. In her first marathon, runner-up Lucy Wangui Kabuu became the eighth fastest woman with a time of 2:19:34 hours, and Mare Dibaba became the 15th fastest woman, finishing in 2:19:52 hours. Fellow Ethiopians Bezunesh Bekele and Aberu Kebede moved up to the 16th and 17th fastest women of all time.[16]

The 2013 event, run under a heavy fog, was also very fast. The Ethiopian winner Lelisa Desisa, won in a sprint finish of the last 200 meters with a time of 2:04:45, leading four other runners who also finished in under 2 hours, 5 minutes. On the women's side, Ethiopian Tirfi Tsegaye won with a time of 2:23:23, sixteen seconds ahead of fellow Ethiopian Ehitu Kiros. The top four runners on the men's side and the top six on the women's side were all Ethiopians.

In the 2015 race, Shure Demise set a junior world record in the marathon, finishing fourth overall.[17]

In 2020, the race organizers stated that they would "not be staging a marathon/mass participation event of any format in Dubai in January 2021" due to the coronavirus pandemic.[18]


External images
image icon Course map of full marathon in 2002[19]
image icon Course map of full marathon in 2020[20]
image icon Course map of all races in 2020[20]

Initial course[edit]

The course used in the inaugural race in 1998 started outside the Al Wasl Club and ended inside the Al Wasl Stadium.[1]

World Trade Center course[edit]

The course start and finish was moved to the Dubai World Trade Centre.[19] During the marathon, runners crossed the Dubai Creek at one point by going under it via Al Shindagha Tunnel, and at another point by going over it via Al Garhoud Bridge.[19]

Current course[edit]

The marathon starts on Umm Suqeim Street, a few blocks southeast of Madinat Jumeirah, and finishes about a few hundred metres further southeast.[20] The vast majority of the race is run entirely on D 94 road that runs a few blocks away from the coast, including on King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud Street (formerly Al Sufouh Road) and Jumeirah Beach Road.[20]

The course first heads briefly northwest before turning southwest for an out-and-back leg of roughly 6 km (3.7 mi) of length each way on King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud Street, running past the entrance to the Palm Jumeirah up to around the edge of Dubai Media City, and turning around before reaching the skyscrapers immediately southwest.[20]

After returning to Umm Suqeim Street, marathoners then continue northeast for two repetitions of an out-and-back leg of roughly 7.5 km (4.7 mi) of length each way on Jumeirah Beach Road, passing Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach Hotel, and turning around on Al Mehemal Street a few hundred metres past Sunset Mall.[20]

Afterward, the marathon turns back southeast onto Umm Suqeim Street for about 500 m (1,600 ft) for the finish.[20]

As of 2020, the marathon course has a time limit of six hours.[21]


The event is organized by Pace Events FZ LLC, a team from the UK.[citation needed][18]


In 2001, Samsung became the title sponsor for four years.[22][23][e]

In 2005, Standard Chartered became the title sponsor, and has been since, as of 2020.[27][28]


Haile Gebrselassie on his way to winning the 2010 race

Key:    Course record (in bold)

Initial era[edit]

Ed. Date Male Winner Time Female Winner Time Rf.
1 1998.11.27  Alan Chilton (GBR) 2:23:08  Barbara Young (IND) 3:50:36 [1][4][29]

Current era[edit]

Ed. Date Men's winner Time[f] Women's winner Time[f] Rf.
1 2000.01.14  Wilson Kibet [nl] (KEN) 2:12:21  Ramilya Burangulova (RUS) 2:40:22 [6]
2 2001.01.12  Wilson Kibet [nl] (KEN) 2:13:36  Ramilya Burangulova (RUS) 2:37:07 [6]
3 2002.01.11  Wilson Kibet [nl] (KEN) 2:13:04  Albina Ivanova (RUS) 2:33:31 [6]
4 2003.01.10  Joseph Kahugu [nl] (KEN) 2:09:33  Irina Permitina (RUS) 2:36:26 [6]
5 2004.01.09  Gashaw Melese (ETH) 2:12:49  Leila Aman (ETH) 2:42:36 [6][9]
6 2005.01.07  Dejene Guta [nl] (ETH) 2:10:49  Diribe Hunde [nl] (ETH) 2:39:08 [6]
7 2006.02.17  Joseph Ngeny [nl] (KEN) 2:13:02  Delillah Asiago (KEN) 2:43:09 [6][30]
8 2007.01.12  William Rotich [nl] (KEN) 2:09:53  Askale Magarsa (ETH) 2:27:19 [6]
9 2008.01.18  Haile Gebrselassie (ETH) 2:04:53  Berhane Adere (ETH) 2:22:42 [6][31]
10 2009.01.16  Haile Gebrselassie (ETH) 2:05:29  Bezunesh Bekele (ETH) 2:24:02 [6]
11 2010.01.22  Haile Gebrselassie (ETH) 2:06:09  Mamitu Daska (ETH) 2:24:19 [6][32]
12 2011.01.21  David Barmasai Tumo (KEN) 2:07:18  Aselefech Mergia (ETH) 2:22:45 [6][33]
13 2012.01.27  Ayele Abshero (ETH) 2:04:23  Aselefech Mergia (ETH) 2:19:31 [34]
14 2013.01.25  Lelisa Desisa (ETH) 2:04:45  Tirfi Tsegaye (ETH) 2:23:23 [35]
15 2014.01.24  Tsegaye Mekonnen (ETH) 2:04:32  Mulu Seboka (ETH) 2:25:01 [36]
16 2015.01.23  Lemi Berhanu (ETH) 2:05:28  Aselefech Mergia (ETH) 2:20:02 [37]
17 2016.01.22  Tesfaye Abera (ETH) 2:04:24  Tirfi Tsegaye (ETH) 2:19:41 [38]
18 2017.01.20  Tamirat Tola (ETH) 2:04:11  Worknesh Degefa (ETH) 2:22:36 [39]
19 2018.01.26  Mosinet Geremew (ETH) 2:04:00  Roza Dereje (ETH) 2:19:17 [40]
20 2019.01.25  Getaneh Molla (ETH) 2:03:34  Ruth Chepngetich (KEN) 2:17:08 [41]
21 2020.01.24  Olika Adugna (ETH) 2:06:15  Worknesh Degefa (ETH) 2:19:38 [42]

Multiple wins[edit]

By country[edit]

Country Total Men's Women's
 Ethiopia 29 14 15
 Kenya 9 7 2
 Russia 4 0 4

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Statements released by the race organization generally do not take this race into account when assigning ordinals to their annual races, and also often omit the race from lists dealing with event statistics.[5][6]
  2. ^ Because the marathon in 1998 was held on 27 November while the one in 2000 was held on 14 January, it is unlikely that another marathon was held in 1999 during the intervening 14 months.[4][8] However, the marathon's general coordinator acknowledged the 2009 edition of the race as the "12th Dubai Marathon", implying that two Dubai Marathons took place before the race in 2000.[3]
  3. ^ The race took place after a 40-day period of mourning.[11]
  4. ^ He had called out his request, "I can finish?", while approaching the 27 km (17 mi) mark.[12]
  5. ^ Despite ARRS stating that the marathon was known as the "Samsung Dubai Marathon" from 2000 to 2004, Samsung themselves only claim to have been the title sponsor starting from 2001, and the race site itself does not appear to have begun prominently using the phrase until after the 2001 marathon.[9][22][24][25][26]
  6. ^ a b h:m:s


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  12. ^ a b c d
  13. ^ "Dubai to stage $1 Million Marathon". IAAF. 2007-04-14.
  14. ^ "Dubai to stage world's richest-ever marathon". AMEInfo. 2007-04-14.
  15. ^ "Second fastest of all time for Gebre in Dubai Marathon". IAAF. 2008-01-18.
  16. ^ a b Butcher, Pat (2012-01-27). Abshero stuns with 2:04:23 debut, Mergia clocks 2:19:31 in Dubai. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-02-04.
  17. ^ "Women set records on Dubai's superfast course". January 26, 2015. Archived from the original on April 27, 2015. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  18. ^ a b
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External links[edit]