Dubai: Two-time Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon winner Aselefech Mergia of Ethiopia has confirmed she will join a world-class elite women’s field when the world’s richest marathon returns to the streets of Dubai on January 23.

Mergia, who won the 2011 and 2012 events, is the course record holder for the women’s race after she took her second title in 2hrs 19min 31sec in a race that was the first and only time in history that three women ran under 2:20 in the same race.

In 2015 she will be joined by fellow Ethiopian, reigning champion and 2014 Toronto Marathon winner Mulu Seboka Seyfu, Kenya’s Lucy Kabuu, who finished just three seconds behind Mergia in 2012, 2014 Frankfurt Marathon winner Shewaye Aberu Kebede of Ethiopia and marathon debutant Gladys Cherono Keprono of Kenya, the reigning Half Marathon World Champion.

For Mergia, it will be a welcome return to the scene of one of her greatest triumphs after taking time away from competitive running to have a baby.

“It is without doubt one of the strongest fields we have ever had,” said Event Director Peter Connerton. “We also have the winner of the 2011 New York Marathon, Firehiwot Dado Tufa from Ethiopia, as well as former Dubai champions and international marathon champions from across the world.

“The depth of quality in the field is impressive and I’m sure Aselefech will be determined to join her compatriot, the legendary Haile Gebrselassie, as a three-time winner of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.”

Held under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), the 2015 Dubai Marathon will see more than 25,000 runners compete across the full marathon, the 10km road race and the 4km fun run.

“With Kenenisa Bekele headlining the men’s field and so many champions from races across the world coming together in the ladies’ event, we fully expect two exciting marathons on January 23,” said Ahmad Al Kamali, President of the UAE Athletic Federation and IAAF Board Member.

Runners who would like to take part should register online at