DUBAI, UAE — After a successful career on the track, Kenenisa Bekele believes he’s now a marathon runner and plans to attack the world record at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Race on Friday.
You Can Watch Live Streaming Coverage Online: Race Time is 9:30pm ET
The 5000m and 10,000m world record holder, who won both events at the 2008 Olympic Games, will be the main headliner at Friday’s Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon and the 34-year-old is targeting a very fast time on the flat road surface.
In fact, Bekele, who owns the third fastest time ever for the marathon, believes he’s in excellent shape at the moment and understands what it takes to run the longer distances now to break the world record.
The experienced Ethiopian has improved significantly since making his marathon debut in Paris in 2014 and owns a personal best and national record time of 2:03:03, set in Berlin, last September.
“The marathon needs a long time to develop, you need experience,” said Bekele.
“After two years, I feel that I am a marathoner now. This (Dubai) is a similar flat course to Berlin, and I think I can do better. I plan to run the world record.
“Of course, it’s a race, so you can’t say for sure, and it depends on the conditions.”
Bekele was forced to drop out of the 2015 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon after the 30km mark with a leg injury and he’s determined to make up for that this year.
“I was very disappointed not to finish here two years ago. My plan in Berlin was to run a fast time,” he said.
“I was focused on a personal best and the Ethiopian record (2:03:59 by his illustrious predecessor, Haile Gebrselassie). Dubai is a fast course, I’m planning to run the world record, and I’m confident.”
If he’s successful at breaking the world record at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, the Ethiopian would become the only man in history to simultaneously holds world records for 5000 and 10,000m on the track and in the marathon event.
“He is quite confident that he can break the record,” said Bekele manager Jos Hermens. “He’s 34 now, he’s got to take every chance.”
Meanwhile, the battle for the women’s title in Dubai, is expected to come from Ethiopian pair Shure Demise and Meselech Melkamu.
Demise, 20, heads into the race with a personal best of 2:20:59, set in Dubai in 2015, while Melkamu has run 2:21:01.
Top List In Dubai
Kenenisa Bekele, ETH, 2:03:03
Tsegaye Mekonnen, ETH, 2:04:32
Dino Sefir, ETH, 2:04:50
Sisay Lemma, ETH, 2:05:16
Mule Wasihun, ETH, 2:05:44
Abera Kuma, ETH, 2:05:56
Tamirat Tola, ETH, 2:06:17
Solomon Deksisa, ETH, 2:06:22
Raji Assefa, ETH, 2:06:24
Chele Dechasa, ETH, 2:06:33
Limenih Getachew, ETH, 2:06:49
Azmeraw Bekele, ETH, 2:07:12
Berhanu Legese, ETH, Debut
Shure Demise, ETH, 2:20:59
Meselech Melkamu, ETH, 2:21:01
Koren Jelela, ETH, 2:22:43
Tadelech Bekele, ETH, 2:22:51
Yebrgual Melese, ETH, 2:23:23
Worknesh Edesa, ETH, 2:24:04
Shuko Genemo, ETH, 2:24:31
Ruti Aga, ETH, 2:24:41
Belaynesh Oljira, ETH, 2:25:01
Roza Dereje, ETH, 2:26:18
Worknesh Degefa, ETH, Debut