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- Athletics Legend David Bedford to Attend World’s Richest Race -
Dubai (UAE): London Marathon Race Director David Bedford will jet in to Dubai from a chilly England hoping to see Haile Gebrselassie turn up the heat on a top-class field in the 2009 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on Friday (Jan 16).
The 59 year-old chief of one of the world’s biggest mass participation events will be among thousands of international runners, media and athletics figures gathered for what is the world’s richest marathon with a possible US$ 2 million on offer to the winners.
Speaking from London, Bedford said he was looking forward to his first trip to the premier road race in the Middle East.
“I’ve heard a lot about the race in Dubai and decided it was time to see it for myself,” he said. “We also work with Standard Chartered in London where they are the sponsor of a city 5km race in July. Add to that the fact that Haile is running and that the temperature in London is minus five and it seems a great idea!”
Now known more for his role as the race director for the annual London Marathon, Bedford was a 10km world record holder back in 1973 with a time of 27 minutes 30.80s and a British record holder for both the 3,000m steeplechase and 5,000m.
During his visit to Dubai, Bedford will meet up with media attracted to Dubai from all over the globe by the possibility of a new world record for the remarkable figure of Gebrselassie. But the little man from Addis Ababa won’t have it all his own way and will need to be at his best if he is to defend the title he won in brilliant style back in 2008.
“The combination of the new race route and Haile’s phenomenal sub 2:04 in Berlin late last year has captured the attention of the world’s media and we will have print and TV media here from Spain, the US, Italy, Japan, the UK, Iran, France, Ethiopia and Germany just to name a few,” said Event Director Peter Connerton.
“But while Haile may have broken 26 world records in his career, spectators shouldn’t turn up expecting to see a formality. First of all, his main concern is to win the race.”
Starting at 6.30am from The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina, classic 42.195km race will see more than 1,200 marathon runners tackle an “out and back” course with the turn at the towering UAE flag at Union House.
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and staged under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will see all activities operate out of The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina.
And with the associated 10km and 3km Fun Run set to get underway with record entries at 6.45am and 11am respectively, it promises to be a memorable – and possibly historic – day on the streets of Dubai.
The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is supported by Dubai Holding, The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina, PUMA, Arab Media Group (AMG), TNT and Fitness First with assistance provided by Dubai Sports Council, RTA, Dubai Municipality and Dubai Police.