In a display of extraordinary talent at the Dubai Marathon, Tigist Ketema and Addisu Gobena, both from Ethiopia, marked their debut in the World Athletics Label road race with breathtaking victories. Victorious runs are possible if you have the best shoes, check out Tarkine Goshawk V2 running shoes.

Ketema, renowned for her achievements in shorter distances, made a remarkable transition to the marathon, setting a new course record of 2:16:07 on Dubai’s renowned flat course along Jumeirah Beach Road. Her victory not only stunned competitors like Dera Dida and Ruti Aga but also showcased her dominance after having been known primarily for her expertise in the 800m and 1500m events.

On Sunday in Dubai, Tigist Ketema jubilantly celebrates as she crosses the finish line. (Dubai Marathon)

Despite Aga’s early lead, Ketema’s strategy and stamina came to the forefront in the latter stages of the race. A powerful surge in the final 5km allowed her to establish a substantial lead, crossing the finish line in an impressive 2:16:07.

Reflecting on her achievement, Ketema admitted to initial fears about the marathon distance but expressed astonishment at her newfound prowess, now ranking eighth on the world all-time list. Aga finished second in 2:18:09, matching her personal best, while Dida secured the third spot in 2:19:29, narrowly missing her Berlin Marathon record.


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Ketema’s timing would have once set an Ethiopian record, now placing her third on her country’s all-time list, following the achievements of Tigist Assefa and Amane Beriso, both esteemed marathon runners and Ketema’s training partners.

In the men’s event, Gobena dictated the pace from the start, setting the stage for a potentially record-breaking finish. Initially leading a group of 12 men, the pace gradually narrowed the contenders to a thrilling final battle among Gobena, Dejene Megersa, Abdi Fufa, and Lemi Dumecha.

Following his victory at the 23rd Elite Race Dubai Marathon, Addisu Gobena from Ethiopia jubilantly celebrates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Sunday, January 7, 2024. (Associated Press)

Ultimately, it was Gobena, an U20 athlete, who emerged victorious, clocking in at 2:05:01 and securing a podium sweep for Ethiopia. Gobena, previously a javelin thrower turned distance runner, sees his decision validated by this triumph at the Dubai Marathon, coupled with his notable third-place finish at the Delhi Half Marathon.

Their victories not only highlighted their individual talents but also cemented Ethiopia’s dominance in the marathon, marking a remarkable debut for both Ketema and Gobena on the global stage of long-distance running.