A bonus of $250,000 is on offer to any runner who can break the world record at Friday’s Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.
The bonus is in addition to the first prize of $200,000 and underlines the status of the popular IAAF Gold Label race as the richest marathon in the world.
Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, whose personal best is just six seconds outside the world record of 2h:02m:57s held by Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto, is seen by many as the pre-race favourite.
“The progression we have made is one we aim to maintain, which is why, in addition to the record prize-money, we are also offering the runners an incentive of a bonus should one of them break the current world record,” said event director Peter Connerton in comments published by news agency WAM.
Kimetto’s 2014 world record, set in Berlin, is now coming under serious threat from the running elite following the 2016 performances of Bekele in Berlin (2:03:03) and Eliud Kipchoge (2:03:05) in London.
“We don’t put together a field with a view to breaking the world record but when you have the quality of field that we always try to ensure in Dubai, fast times are a natural by-product,” Connerton added.
Nine years ago, Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie ran a new course record as the Dubai Marathon moved into the big league with record prize-money and a world record bonus.
Gebrselassie’s 2:04:53 broke the course record by nearly five minutes and was at the time the second fastest marathon time in history.