November 27th, 2007

Benoit Z eyes new euro marathon record in Dubai

- Flamboyant Frenchman Signs Up For Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon -

- Second Year of Marathon Support for Sports Giant PUMA -
Dubai (UAE): Flamboyant French athlete and European record holder Benoit Zwierchwiewski will target a new European best when he lines up for the world’s richest race, the 2008 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, on January 18.

Known simply as Benoit Z, the 31 year-old Marseille-based runner is the 16th fastest man in Marathon history and co-holder with Portugal’s Antonio Pinto of the Marathon European Record of 2h:06m:36s. And following his debut in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon earlier this year, the Frenchman firmly believes Dubai’s benign running conditions and excellent road surfaces are conducive to record times.

“Benoit Z is one of the most exciting European marathon runners of recent years and has been targeting another European Marathon best since matching Pinto’s time in Paris in 2003,” said Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon event director Peter Connerton.

“He won the Cannes Half Marathon less than a month after running here last January and has been working hard towards his goal of running in Dubai again in 2008. He is an excellent addition to our strongest ever field.”

Benoit Z joins marathon world record holder and double Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie and women’s 20km and Half Marathon world record holder Lornah Kiplagat in a powerful line-up for the US$1 million race, which also offers a further US$1 millon bonus for a new marathon world record.

Benoit Z 2 The appearance of a host of leading lights of distance running is welcomed by many of the event’s partners, including sporting goods giant PUMA who are co-sponsoring the 42.195km race for the second successive year.

“PUMA is proud to sponsor the Dubai Marathon for the second year in a row,” said Oliver Wirth, Managing Director of PUMA Middle East. “With the eyes of the running world on the richest race in athletics history, we will use the Marathon as the platform for the launch of the PUMA Runway collection – a range of Performance Running products that will be available in the region in January.

“As for our activities during the race itself, PUMA’s involvement will include continued support at the Marathon’s halfway turn – also known as the famous PUMA Turn – as well as operating a PUMA booth at the Start /Finish line.”

To register online for an event being held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, and staged under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, runners are asked to visit the official website www.dubaimarathon.org where they can register instantly or download the registration form and post it to the Marathon office.

“It’s a great opportunity for athletes of all standards to say that they ran alongside an Olympic Champion and World Record holder,” added Connerton. “The deadline for entries is December 31 and we urge people to register online or visit any branch of Fitness First from December 1.”

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