Haile Gebrselassie completed a hat-trick of Dubai Marathon victories on Friday but the Ethiopian’s hopes of setting a new world record were dashed by a bad back.
The world champion crossed the finish line in a time of 2:06:09, 14 seconds ahead of Kenya’s Chala Dechase Beyene but more than two minutes slower than his record time.
“I wanted to break the record, but what can I do?” the 36-year-old told reporters. “It’s important to break my record, one day it will happen.”
The $2 million event had attracted around 12,000 runners, according to organisers, with a $1 million bonus pool on offer to anyone breaking Gebrselassie’s earlier world record.
“I didn’t have a good night last night, my back was not in the right position,” Gebrselassie added.
However, he said the problem was minor and he would still be aiming for a marathon gold at the 2012 London Olympics.
In the women’s event, Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska Molisa won in a time of 2:24:18, six seconds ahead of compatriot Aberu Kebede Shewaye.