On Friday, the UAE will host its Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon—an international event known for its fast times and large cash prizes.
Last year, both men and women set an astounding pace on the flat course with four men finishing under 2:05 and three women crossing the finish line under 2:20. The race resulted in four of the ten fastest men’s finishes of the year, while women had an equally strong showing with five of the ten fastest times.
And while the course conditions helped, the winners’ spoils probably didn’t hurt the athletes' motivation.
Unlike other races, the Dubai event not only handsomely rewards the first-place finisher with $200,000, but also offers the second and third place runners a solid cash prize—$80,000 and $40,000 respectively.
You can compare this to the awards in the 2011 New York City Marathon—the largest marathon in the world—where winners walk away with $130,000, second place finishers receive $65,000 and third place runners claim $40,000.
The 2011 Dubai Marathon was dominated by Ethiopians last year. Four of the five top women hailed from this east African country. This year, the Ethiopians are likely to have another strong showing. Yemane Adhane, who won Rotterdam last spring, will compete, along with Martin Lel who won the events in New York and London. Tirfi Beyene, who placed first in Paris and second in Berlin, will help represent the women.