History was made last Friday, as two Ethiopian runners Aselefech Mergia and virtually unknown Lemi Berhanu, surprised the world to win the 2015 Standard Chartered Dubai marathon in the women and men events, respectively. (continues below... )
21-year old Lemi Berhanu, who had previously competed only once abroad in a major race, beat some of the world’s greatest marathoners, to win the coveted $200,000 prize for the event, widely known as the world's richest marathon.
The young athlete made his fellow countrymen proud by continuing the Ethiopian domination of the Dubai marathons for the fourth year in a row. Fellow country man and win favorite Kenenisa Bekele, could not finish the race due to injury, while 2013 champion Lelisa Desisa came 2nd.
Winning this race is a good start for Lemi Berhanu after he won the Zurich marathon in 2014. He clocked 2:05:28 in Dubai falling a little short of the 2:04:23 Dubai marathon record set by fellow Ethiopian Ayele Abshero in 2012. This is surely one star to watch out for.
Aselefech Mergia celebrated her win on the finish line, holding her national flag and her 18-month-old daughter. This win makes her the first woman in history to win the race three times, and her finish time of 2 hours, 20 minutes, 29 seconds, was the second fastest in Dubai history -- just 31 seconds off the course record.
In her words:
“After maternity leave and two years without running any marathons, to come back and win the Dubai Marathon for the third time in my life is very special”.