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Dubai marathon organizers pledge to lure top Kenyan runners

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Dubai marathon organizers will cut down the number of Ethiopian athletes and instead lure more top Kenyan runners and dangle higher bonuses and incentives to try and break the world marathon record.

Ahmad Al Kamali, the General Coordinator of Dubai Marathon and also IAAF Council Member, said they are keen to see a world record set at the event in 2019.

This follows fast times set by an all Ethiopian team at this year’s race last Friday in UAE.

"We need to bring more Kenyans now because they are crazy about the world record.

"They don’t care about stopping after 30km.

"This is the trick needed to break the world record," he said on Saturday.

The current world record has withstood the test of time since Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto set it in Berlin in 2014 clocking 2:02.57.

Since then Kenyans athletes have tried lowering it with Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge missing out by just 36 seconds to clock 2:03:32.

Kipchoge holds a personal best time of 2:03:05 set in 2016 London Marathon win, missing the world record by eight seconds.

Kenyans are the closest to overcome to breaking the world record.

Four times the record has been broken by Kenyans and not Ethiopians in Berlin (Paul Tergat 2:04.54, Patrick Makau (2:03.38), Wilson Kipsang (2:03.23) and Kimetto (2:02.57).

The only Ethiopian to break the record was Haile Gabreselassie (2:03.59).

"We are considering bringing more Kenyans for the next race but we are absolutely on the track to break the world record," said Al Kamali.

On Friday, Ethiopians took the first 10 places, six of them at 2:04:15 or quicker as Mosinet Geremew won in 2:04:00, while Roza Dereje became the seventh quickest woman in history with 2:19:17, leading a record four women under 2:20.

Meanwhile, Kenya’s Mary Keitany’s hopes of breaking the world marathon record in London this April have been given credibility by the current holder herself, Paula Radcliffe.

"I don’t want it to be broken but the nature of the sport is one day it will be done and I have always known that.

"I’m amazed it has lasted this long and I have always felt Mary would be the one to take it.

"Hopefully it happens in a good race with much to admire," Radcliffe said.



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