Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 April 2019

Paula Radcliffe says ‘everything in place for a very fast race’ at 2016 Dubai Marathon

World-record holder Paula Radcliffe thinks the conditions and course for Friday’s 2016 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon are ideal for fast times.
Runners cross the start line of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday Jan. 24, 2014. (STR)
Runners cross the start line of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday Jan. 24, 2014. (STR)

DUBAI // World-record holder Paula Radcliffe thinks the conditions and course for Friday’s 2016 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon are ideal for fast times.

“A lot of thought has gone into planning the route and making sure it’s a very, very fast course,” Radcliffe, a three-time winner of the London Marathon, said. “But primarily the depth and quality of the field here and the prize money at stake means they have everything in place for a very fast race.”

Radcliffe, a three-time winner of the London Marathon who retired last April, says that the mostly straight route should not affect the runners’ concentration or competitiveness.

“In terms of the race here being a little hard to focus on, I think because of the quality of the race the athletes will be so focused on that; it actually helps to have a very fast straight race,” she said. “Sometimes when you’re training it’s nice to have things to distract you, but in a race you just want a fast course and to be able to see everything panned out ahead of you.”

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Friday’s 42-kilometre race starts at 6.30am, with the 10km runners setting off at 9am and the 4km Fun Run two hours later. The cool weather will also help in achieving fast times, according to Radcliffe.

“Because the start is early, I think conditions are pretty good,” Radcliffe said. “It will be getting warmer towards the finish of the race but only the final bit. A lot of the guys will be used to running in temperatures similar to this, and they will find it pretty much perfect.”

One runner who should have no trouble adjusting to conditions is Tsegaye Mekonnen Asefa, who won the 2014 Dubai Marathon age 18. The Ethiopian first ran as pace setter in 2013, before setting his sights higher.

“In the evening I was watching the highlight of the race, and I saw that I could comfortably win the race,” Asefa said. “Immediately from that day, for one year I concentrated on this marathon. I have great memory of that year.”

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Friday, Asefa will be putting all thoughts of the Rio Olympics to the back of his mind.

“I will not be running alone, there will be very strong competitors,” he said. “The first thing to think about before the Olympics is to win this marathon, the target is to run fast, that is important. Talking about Olympics comes later.”

Asefa thinks that a personal best could be on the cards.

“I am more ready than 2014,” he said. “Not only is the course flat, but to run fast, the first part of the race must have consistent pace. If the pace is cut at intervals, to run very fast is impossible. I am willing to run fast in the first part of the race.”

akhaled@thenational.ae

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Updated: January 20, 2016 04:00 AM

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