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Ambassadors Programme


Giancarlo Colombo


Dubai Marathon 2015: the big day!

By Giancarlo Colombo, Monday January 26, 2015
Aselefech Mergia Medessa (left) and Lemi Berhanu Hayle (right); the two winners of the Dubai Marathon 2015.

Aselefech Mergia Medessa (left) and Lemi Berhanu Hayle (right); the two winners of the Dubai Marathon 2015. © Giancarlo Colombo

Finally the big day came! It was just 4a.m. (local time) but my alarm clock was already calling me! Oh yeah, because here we can’t slack off!

The sun was still low on the horizon and the heat was, fortunately, for the moment, tolerable. The athletes were ready on the start line and the judges were waiting the striking of the hour to start the race.

As always, I was also twitching; ready on my motorbike. Lots of questions swirled around in my head, but maybe the most insistent was: “What will happen?”

But then the shot of the starting pistol woke me up from my torpidity... the Dubai Marathon 2015 had begun!

I was following the head of the race when I realised something was not right. We were at 20 kilometres, around the halfway point of the marathon, and Kenenisa Bekele, one of the favourites, started to slow down. His opponents noticed this and they immediately increased their pace. I decided to follow Bekele for a while and then I went back to [photographing] the top runners.

After another 10 to 15 minutes I received the news I wouldn’t have believed: Bekele had left the marathon. Why? I didn’t have time to think about it because the race was in full swing and till Lemi Berhanu Hayle crossed the finish line the surprises never ended.

The reason for Bekele’s retirement was told to me later in the hotel... by Bekele himself! He explained me that his muscles, his breathing and his head were in very good condition, but what didn’t work were his leg ligaments! What a pity!

However, from his words, I think this isn’t the end! I bet during his next race he will not waste any chance to get even!

Kenenisa Bekele pictured during a difficult moment.

Kenenisa Bekele pictured during a difficult moment. © Giancarlo Colombo

Gemetu Lelisa running the Dubai Marathon 2015.

Gemetu Lelisa running the Dubai Marathon 2015. © Giancarlo Colombo