January 7th, 2024

Tigist Ketema Breaks Debut World Record in Dubai

There was a double celebration on Ethiopian Christmas Day as debut runners Addisu Gobena and Tigist Ketema wrapped up the elite titles in superb style at the 23rd Dubai Marathon.

Staged under the auspices of the Dubai Sports Council, Ketema clocked an unofficial women’s world record debut, finishing in a fantastic 2:16:07.

For Ketema, it was a surprise result as she had initial reservations about shifting her focus to the classic 42.195km distance.

“I was quite afraid of the distance before I ran my first marathon but now, I wonder why,” she smiled after receiving the trophy from His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council.

Running on Dubai’s renowned super flat course that mainly stretches on Jumeirah Beach Road, the 25-year-old Ethiopian marked her first-ever marathon by becoming the eighth fastest woman in marathon history. She also smashed the Dubai course record, improving the mark by 61 seconds.

In benign weather conditions, fellow-Ethiopians Ruti Aga and defending champion Dera Dida took second and third places with 2:18:09 and 2:19:29 respectively. Fourth placed German Melat Kejeta ran 2:21:47 and qualified for the Olympic Games.

Teenager Addisu Gobena also stormed to victory with the 19-year-old Ethiopian junior clocking 2:05:01 ahead of fellow Ethiopians Lemi Dumecha and Dejene Megersa, another debutant, in second and third spots with 2:05:20 and 2:05:42. Fifth placed Samuel Fitwi, representing Germany, smashed his personal best and qualified for the Paris Olympic Games with 2:06:27.

Last year, brother and sister in-law Abdisa Tola and Dera Dida took the Dubai Marathon titles, while this year it was almost another family affair as Addisu Gobena took the men’s crown while his aunt – Ruti Aga – finished runner-up in the women’s race.

Originally an average javelin thrower, Gobena turned to running on the advice of his aunt just two years ago. And after training with her, he discovered he also had a talent for distance running and today is the Dubai Marathon champion – “I think I made the right decision,” he said.

In the wheelchair division, it was a Chinese clean sweep with Jin Hua and Tian Yajuan taking the men and women’s titles in 1:27:08 and 1:39:39 respectively. In all, around 12,000 runners took to the flat streets with races across the marathon, 10km and 4km distances.

The 2024 Dubai Marathon was supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Dubai Duty Free, EXEED by Al Ghurair, the Channel 4 Radio Network, ITP Media Group, Bisleri Water, Biofreeze, Dubai RTA, Dubai Police, Al Ameen Service, Dubai Municipality and SIRO One Za’abeel, the first fully integrated Fitness + Recovery hotel in Dubai.

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