Dubai: The 2016 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will be held earlier in the year, most likely within the first two weeks of January.

Ahmad Al Kamali, general co-ordinator of the event and President of the UAE Athletics Federation, told Gulf News on Friday: “We plan to host the next Dubai Marathon within the first two weeks of January and not in the third week. We haven’t finalised the date, but people can start preparing right away.”

Legendary runner Haile Gebrselassie also urged the people of Dubai to start training early for next year’s marathon.

“Running is very important for health, to prevent any problems relating to heart, brain, lungs and every part of one’s body. Even if you don’t want to compete, make sure to run every day. I urge everyone to prepare for the marathon right away. Do not wait until tomorrow, start today,” the Ethiopian told Gulf News.

Al Kamali was congratulated for the ongoing success of the Dubai Marathon by legendary runner Sebastian Coe, as well as the presidents of 17 different athletics federations from around the world and 11 general secretaries, who attended Friday’s race.

He said: “Records cannot happen every day. Weather and many other factors play a big role, but an unknown runner [Lemi Berhanu Hayle] winning the Dubai Marathon was very pleasing.

“Dubai Marathon has always produced stars and our winners from here immediately go into high level competitions like the Olympics or even win top city marathons.”

Peter Connerton, the Event Director, believes that Kenenisa Bekele’s injury prevented the men’s race from producing a new world record.

“It wasn’t our day in the men’s race as Bekele was injured, pulling a hamstring, but it was a great race in the women’s event. We had 17 women under 2:25 and the winner at 2:20 is a great result. We will keep pushing for better timing, but the atmosphere and crowd was exhilarating,” he said.

Al Kamali announced that for the next year’s marathon will also see more bands performing at the finish line.

“Dubai Marathon is not just about the participation of runners, but the joy of the spectators who turn up in large numbers and make the event a huge success,” he said.