Addis Ababa — ETHOPIAN runners, Aselefech Mergia and Mare Dibaba, will go head-to-head in the women's event when the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon gets underway on January 26.
With personal bests of 2:19:31 and 2:19:52 respectively, Mergia and Dibaba are the fastest women in the field and their race for the US$200 000 first prize will be one of the major battles to watch in the first big marathon meeting of the year.
"We are excited to have two huge talents leading the women's field," said Event Director, Peter Connerton.
He pointed out Mergia had won every time she has raced in Dubai, while Dibaba had won World Championship and Olympic medals since finishing third in Dubai in 2012.
Mergia, who turns 33 three days before the event, is rated the greatest female runner in the history of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon having won three times and set the course record of 2:19:31 in her three appearances.
It will be her first start in the world's richest marathon since her last victory in the UAE in 2015.
She faces stiff competition from Dibaba, Marathon gold medalist at the 2015 International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships and a bronze medal winner at the Rio Olympics in 2016, and defending champion, Worknesh Degefa, also of Ethiopia.