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– Second World Record Holder Eyes Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon –
Dubai (UAE): Holland’s multi-world record holder Lornah Kiplagat has set her sights on the world’s richest race following her confirmation that she will make her Dubai debut at the 2008 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on January 18.
The Kenyan-born star – a Dutch citizen since 2003 – is the second world record holder to be added to the US$ 1,000,000 race, which also offers a further US$1,000,000 bonus for a new marathon world record. She will join Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie in a field that is coming together as the strongest ever seen in the region.
Like Gebrselassie, Kiplagat was nominated for the 2007 World Athlete of the Year award and is in scintillating form after an early summer calf injury kept her out of the World Athletics Championships in Osaka.
Last month, she broke the world record for both the 20km and Half Marathon with a stunning performance at the 2nd IAAF World Road Running Championships in Udine, Italy. Competing for only the second time since picking up that injury, the 33-year-old defending champion shattered her own 20km record by 24 seconds with a time of 1h:02m:57s, before storming through the last kilometre to claim gold and a new Half Marathon world record in a time of 1h:06m:25s.
That sliced a huge 19 seconds from the previous IAAF World record of 1h:06m:44s, which South Africa’s Elana Meyer set eight years ago with victory in Tokyo.
“When we announced the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon was being taken to the next level thanks to the support of Dubai Holding, our aim was to attract the very cream of long distance running,” said event director Peter Connerton.
“With Haile and Lornah in the line-up, we have two runners with over 30 world records and six Marathon golds to their names – and we’re looking to add even more top names to the field in the coming weeks.”
A tall, leggy runner and role model to young Kenyan women athletes, Kiplagat also won the World Cross Country title in March on “home” territory in Mombassa, to capture another gold medal for her adopted nation of Holland, which she has represented since marrying husband/coach Pieter Langerhorst.
“In Kenya for years, people didn’t believe women could run so well,” she said. “Look at the development now. In Osaka the women got as many headlines as the men. In Udine, I won the race in a Dutch vest with two Kenyan girls next to me – that’s the development of Kenyan women’s running for me.”
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, the 2008 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is the richest race ever seen in athletics with a potential US$ 2,000,000 prize-fund provided courtesy of Dubai Holding.