Peter Connerton (left) and Ahmad Al Kamali. Image Credit: K.R. Nayar/Gulf News

Dubai: It was a proud day for the architects of the Dubai Marathon as the 20th edition saw records shattered from both the men and women runners.

Speaking to Gulf News, Ahmad Al Kamali, the Event General Coordinator and President of the UAE Athletics Federation, said: “It’s a special day in the history of Dubai Marathon. To have two men break the course record has made the 20th edition a memorable one. The women’s winner’s timing of 2:17:08 is the third fastest in the history of women’s marathon. We have earned a creditable place on marathon world map.”

Event Director Peter Connerton, expressing his delight over the results, said: “It was fantastic to see last year’s course records being erased. It is the first time in Dubai Marathon we have a time under 2:04 in men’s race and under 2:18 in women’s race. We have been breaking these records with consistency and this is why athletes keep coming here and we are able to get good results consistently.”

Kamali feels that Kenya ending Ethiopian reign in women’s race is a good sign. “It was nice to see Ethiopian monopoly being broken by a Kenyan woman. This will encourage more Kenyans to come here,” he said.

Kamali also revealed that the next edition will be held in the third week of January. “We like to host the event in the third week as we don’t want the dates to be pushed to the end of January. The weather helped us a lot today and so this time of the year is very good for marathon.”

Connerton feels that Dubai Marathon has proved to be a heaven for debutants: “The men’s winner, Getaneh Molla, is a debutant. We had so many debutants come here. Other races don’t invite debutants but we do and they perform well here. For debutants the race is unknown to them and so they give their best and perform well. Out of the fastest 10 marathon debutants six of them have run in Dubai.”

Connerton is hoping that the Dubai Marathon course will remain unchanged next year too. “Starting from the shadow of Burj Al Arab, the Al Sufouh road is lovely and with Jumeirah Beach there, it is fantastic,” he said. “We couldn’t get better and so, hopefully, our course remains here provided there isn’t many changes and the developments in the area. Frankly, we would like to stay here.”