February 12th, 2023

Tola and Dida Clinch A Family Double in Dubai Marathon

After a three-year absence. the Dubai Marathon returned in style today (February 12) producing spectacular result as Ethiopians Abdisa Tola and his sister-in-law Dera Dida took the men and women’s titles.

Making his full marathon debut, Tola clocked a world leading time of 2:05:42, while Dida achieved a personal best of 2:21:11 in fine weather conditions as the race celebrated its 22nd edition in the new setting of Expo City Dubai.

In the men’s race, a group of eleven runners led by two pacemakers reached the half-way point in 62:31. The pace was consistent, but the two fastest athletes on the start list struggled to cope as Ethiopians Abera Kuma and 2014 Dubai Marathon winner Tsegaye Mekonnen dropped back.

Once the pacemakers stepped aside it was Tola who led a group of six runners at the 30km mark. The 22-year-old, brother of reigning World Champion and former Dubai winner Tamirat Tola, then pushed the pace at 39k, but having just opened a small gap he missed a turn and went straight on. After around 20m, Tola realised he hadn’t followed the leading bike, turned back and quickly re-joined the three runners who had snatched the lead from him.

 At a refreshment point at 40k, Tola went off again and this time made no mistake. “The pacemakers did a great job, they really helped me,” said a delighted Tola. “There was strong competition, but I was very well prepared.”

Following Tola home were fellow Ethiopians Deresa Gelete and Haymanot Alew Engdayehu in 2:05:51 and 2:05:57 respectively. It was the third time in a row that the men’s race of the Dubai Marathon was won by a debutant.

Little over 15 minutes later Dera Dida completed a remarkable family double: the sister-in-law of Abdisa Tola, who is married to world champion Tamirat, had taken the lead just before the 40k mark.

She left behind fellow-Ethiopians Ruti Aga, who had the fastest personal best in the field, and Siranesh Yirga who finished in second and third.

“When I took the lead, I was sure I’d win,” said 26-year-old Dida, who stormed to her biggest career win in a time of 2:21:11. Aga was second in 2:21:24 and Yirga completed yet another all-Ethiopian podium clocking 2:21:59. “It was a wonderful race and of course it was very emotional when I realised Abdisa had won as well,” she added

In the wheelchair event, there was another triumph in a major marathon for Marcel Hug. The Swiss “Silver Bullet” took the event in 1:23:50 while Eden Rainbow-Cooper of Great Britain won the women’s race in 1:47:15.

All of the winners received their trophies from HE Mattar Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, HE Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council, Salah Talak, Joint Chief Operating Officer Dubai Duty Free and Ahmad Al Kamali, General Co-ordinator of the Dubai Marathon.

The 2023 Dubai Marathon was supported by adidas, Dubai Duty Free, NORQAIN, the Channel 4 Radio Network, Al Ameen, Masafi, the Dubai Sports Council, Dubai RTA, Dubai Police and Dubai Municipality.

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