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There’s speculation that the Abu Dhabi marathon course was short

Kipserem and Yeshaneh took the win at one of the richest marathons in the world

The inaugural Abu Dhabi Marathon took place on Friday morning in the United Arab Emirates. The course was quite flat and predicted to deliver very fast results, and it did. But there’s something strange about the splits of the race. 

Robert Johnson of Let’s Run pointed out that the 13:55 split between kilometres 30 and 35 of the men’s race seems off. That’s very, very fast, especially near the end of a race, without pacers. He continued to point out a similar surge in the women’s pace between the same two markers. 

Both the men and women’s winners ran huge negative splits and personal bests. Abraham Kiptum, the half-marathon world record holder, was upset by Marius Kipserem also of Kenya, who finished only 12 seconds ahead of the record holder. Kipserem finished in 2:04:04, and Kiptum in 2:04:16.


RELATED: Half-marathon world record-holder rejected by Chicago

In the women’s race, Ababel Yeshaneh of Ethiopia won in 2:20:16, followed by Eunice Chebichii Chumba of Bahrain in 2:20:54. The winners of each race took home an impressive $100,000 USD in prize money, while second place was awarded $25,000 USD, and $15,000 USD to third. 

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RELATED: Abraham Kiptum breaks half-marathon world record at Valencia

Kiptum’s half-marathon record of 58:18 earlier this fall was a 51 seconds personal best and put him on the radar big time. The previous record of 58:23 was set by Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea at the EDP Lisbon Half-Marathon back in 2010. Tadese was one of the three athletes who ran in the Nike Breaking2 project in 2017.

Full results and splits can be found here

Update: This video was released later in the day on Friday.