When it comes to the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, it isn't just Haile Gebrselassie who holds all the records.
Malcolm Murphy and Jacques Rijkmans share one which is safe from the grasp of the Ethiopian running legend. The two friends have run in every edition of the event ever since it first graced the UAE back in 2000. And it is a feat they are immensely proud of as they prepare for their 10th consecutive start.
"To be a part of every Dubai Marathon since it's been held is a tremendous feeling for me personally, because I did my first marathon in Dubai at 50," said Murphy, now 60. "And I had said I would never run a marathon when I started running here in 1995," he added.
Rijkmans enjoys the same elated feeling. "If the Dubai Marathon does go on to become as big as the other city marathons like New York, Boston and London, to say I was the first person to complete 10 does have special significance," said the 47-year-old South African who has devoted half of his life to running.
Having featured in every edition, there are bound to be some unforgettable memories for the pair. "2002 would stand out for me. I had a very good run time," said Rijkmans who completed the 42km run under an impressive three and a half hours.
Murphy's mind darted back to his first marathon. "When you cross that finish line for the first time, the feeling is just unbelievable," he said. Unlike his comrade, Murphy has completed all but one of the nine Dubai Marathons as a stress fracture forced him to retire just 200 metres into the run two years ago. "That was probably my worst memory," he said.
When the 2009 version begins tomorrow, Rijkmans and Murphy will be leading a group of at least 50 runners from the Dubai Creek Striders, a club they started in 1995.
"That's the other thing we enjoy doing, encouraging new runners who have never done that distance before. To say we have done all 10 sets an example," said Murphy.
And though they will look to achieve their own goals tomorrow, the duo stressed on their support towards the overwhelming favourite. "We hope it ends up being a case of us running with the guy who breaks the world record in the same race," said Murphy.
Intrepid double act
The 60-year-old Dubai resident started out in the Dubai marathon's first edition in 2000. He only started running in 1995.
Murphy's friend, the 47-year-old South African Rijkmans has completed all but one of the Dubai marathons including a sub-3hr 30min in 2002
Age of murphy who will be running his 10th race