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Ambassadors Programme


Giancarlo Colombo


Dubai Marathon 2015: preparing for the big day

By Giancarlo Colombo, Friday January 23, 2015
Asefa Tsegaye Mekonnen (left) and Kenenisa Bekele (right) run past a cyclist and passenger through the old port of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Asefa Tsegaye Mekonnen (left) and Kenenisa Bekele (right) run past a cyclist and passenger through the old port of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. © Giancarlo Colombo

After a few weeks of lethargy, here I am again writing about my adventures around the world! With the start of a new year, lots of people may think that time is needed to regain strength after all the festivities. For the athletic world - and in particular for the marathon runner - it isn't so; in fact they start immediately in a big way with a much-anticipated race: the Dubai Marathon 2015, considered one of the world's fastest marathons.

During the press conference – as well as athletes – emirs, sultans and local politicians also participated; all of whom have made the event more similar to a party that a moment of preparation for the marathon. The athletes themselves, including Asefa Tsegaye Mekonnen and Kenenisa Bekele, were amazed by the warm welcome.

After numerous pictures had been taken, Kenenisa Bekele and I met in the hotel hall as two old friends. Between a coke and a glass of water we started speaking about different things, from the past to the future, passing through the immediate present. With the humility that characterises him, Kenenisa guaranteed me that during the race he would give his best and that his dream is to run the Dubai marathon in 2hrs 4mins. Speaking confidently, he told me he planned to run at around the same time as the world's second best performance.

If you don't know him you might just think that he is a bystander; a person who tells big lies just to appear like he's a phenomenon. But here we aren't just talking about a kind person and a good friend; we're also talking about an incredible athlete, a holder of three Olympic Gold medals, five world titles on track and a 16-time cross country champion. And if he is convinced about his potential, why shouldn’t we continue looking with curiosity at what the future holds for him?

For sure, I could say that I saw with my own eyes his potential and mental power. I was thinking that during his morning training, when I struggled to keep up with him! After borrowing an old bicycle, I followed him and his friend Asefa running through the old Dubai port. There were some moments when I was in trouble due to other bicycle users, my own cameras dangling round my neck causing me to lose balance, the road and even their speed, but the guys slowed down and allowed me to get closer.

Tomorrow it will be a big day and we will see some good things! Bekele himself, behind his smile, hides a flush of anger that as usual will permit him to run speedily. And who knows, maybe tomorrow it will allow him to once again get into the history books!

Kenenisa Bekele during the Dubai Marathon 2015 press conference.

Kenenisa Bekele during the Dubai Marathon 2015 press conference. © Giancarlo Colombo

Kenenisa Bekele (left) and Asefa Tsegaye Mekonnen (right) training for the big day.

Kenenisa Bekele (left) and Asefa Tsegaye Mekonnen (right) training for the big day. © Giancarlo Colombo