Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie will be hoping to make it third time lucky on January 22 after failing to break the world mark in his earlier two attempts in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A million dollar awaits the runner who can break the world record in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on Friday. This is over and above the $250,000 that one can pocket on winning the event.

Though the temperature is expected to be hovering around 10 to 15 degree Celsius, it will be one of the hottest races in the history of marathon with some of the finest runners in the game from around the world arriving here.

The $1 million bonus for the record breaker is being offered by Dubai Holding.

Cedric Betis, Dubai Holding Corporate Wellness Manager, urged the runners to go for the money. "We hope the record will be broken this time. In the first year, Haile Gebrselassie had come so close to breaking the record and in the second year he failed due to the rain. We wish him all success to make it the third time," remarked Betis.

At a time when the world is reeling from economic recession, Dubai marathon continues to be the richest marathon in the world.

"I like to thank all my sponsors who readily came out to support the event. The interesting news is that Standard Chartered has even renewed their support for a few more years," said Peter Connerton, the Event Director during the press conference.

"The number of entries is up by 50 per cent and it is fantastic considering the economic climate. It is nice that people have preferred to take up running to keep fit. The support from Dubai Holding and Dubai Sports Council has been fantastic," added Connerton, who hailed Haile Gebrselassie's decision to run in Dubai for the third time.

Ahmad Al Kamali, the General Co-ordinator of Dubai Marathon and President of the UAE Athletics Federation, is delighted with the impact on running in UAE. "It is a proud moment for Dubai. From the first race in November 27, 1998 with just 250 runners, today we have crossed the 15,000 mark in the number of entries forcing us to even close the entries. It exhibits nothing but the great popularity of this marathon," said Al Kamali.

Chasing Gebrselassie, who holds the world record time of 2:03:59 seconds is being closely followed by Sammy Korir of Kenya with a career best time of 2:04:56 and Joshua Chelanga, also from Kenya with a timing of 2:07:05.

In the women's race, Bezunesh Bekele of Ethiopia has arrived to defend her title in the women's category.

Her career best time is 2:23:09 when she finished second in the Dubai Marathon in 2008. Incidentally, she won the title when she recorded 2:24:02 in torrential downpour last year.

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