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The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon – the world’s richest long distance running event – has been awarded Gold Label status from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for the second consecutive year.
It is the first time any athletics event in the region has won back-to back IAAF Gold Labels and is in recognition of the hugely successful 2012 race, an event described by respected running industry publication Athletics Weekly as “…arguably the greatest marathon ever in terms of depth.”
As online entries continue to flood in for the 2013 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, which will get underway from Emaar Boulevard in Downtown Dubai on January 25, Event Director Peter Connerton said he was proud that the Dubai Marathon continues to cement its place among the world’s premier road races.
“When the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon was recognised last year, it was the first time a Middle East running event of any kind had gained IAAF Road Race Gold Label status so to do it for a second straight year is a tribute to everyone involved in making it such a success,” he said.
To qualify for IAAF Gold Label status, an event has to satisfy a number of criteria including global media and TV coverage, the variety of international competitors and the quality of their previous race times.
Add in the fact that Dubai has now firmly established itself as a venue for fast race times means the city is now ranked up among the world’s premier events. In the men’s competition, Dubai now has the fourth fastest course record/time in marathon history behind Boston, Berlin and Frankfurt.
The stunning performances in 2012 – led by overall winner Ayele Abshero (2:04:23) -gives Dubai top spot in the top ten average times in any one year in marathon history with 2:05:54, while the city also now ranks third of all time for its top ten average times (2:05:10) behind Berlin and Rotterdam.
In the women’s event, Dubai is now placed fourth in the world behind London, Chicago and Berlin in terms of course record/time, while the top ten average times in the history of the event (2:21:16) also places Dubai fourth in the marathon league table behind London, Chicago and Berlin respectively.
“Since 2008, our average race time for men has improved by 3m:45s – far better than any other marathon,” added Connerton. “This year we also had three women break 2h:20m, which is the first time that has ever happened in the same race.”
Speaking on behalf of the title sponsor, CEO Standard Chartered Bank UAE Jonathan Morris said: “Since 2005, we have seen the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon grow year on year and we are proud that for the second year in a row the race has achieved Gold Label status. We are looking forward to another highly successful race on the streets of Dubai in January 2013.”
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai and under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is expected to see a record 20,000 runners competing over the three events on January 25, 2013.
Ahmed Al Kamali, a Member of the IAAF Council and recently re-elected for another four years as President of the UAE Athletic Federation, added: “I’d like to thank HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai; HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council; and HE Matar Al Tayer, Deputy Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council for their outstanding support of the Dubai Marathon.
“It is because of their unwavering commitment that we are able to attract such a strong field of elite athletes whose times in 2012 were simply incredible. We look forward to seeing many of them again in January 2013 when we hope to have the biggest field of entries ever seen in Dubai.”
Prior to the start of the 2012 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, never before had more than three men broken 2:05 on a legal course – remarkably, four runners broke that mark in the emirate this year.
Best times-for-place were set for positions from fourth through to 17th with the top 17 men all breaking the 2:10 mark – also the first time ever in marathon history.
Such was the quality of the competition, the 2011 winning time of David Barmasai (2:07:18) would only have been good enough to earn 11th place in 2012.
“Dubai has a marathon that has caught the imagination of the athletics world and we are already talking to managers and agents regarding the athletes we’d like to see back here in 2013,” added Connerton.
In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, Adidas, 103.8FM, Emaar, Sport 360, Dubai Holding, Dubai Police and the RTA.
Runners who would like to take part in the 2013 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon or the associated 10km and 3km events should register online at this website.