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Bekele falls at start, drops out of Dubai

Ethiopia’s long distance runner Kenenisa Bekele, the world record-holder over 5,000 and 10,000m, finished third at the London marathon in April

DUBAI, Jan 20 – Kenenisa Bekele’s target of breaking Dennis Kimetto’s world record was thwarted after the Ethiopian star failed to finish at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on Friday.

The world’s richest prize money marathon, happened at the start. Bekele, the world record holder at 5,000m and 10,000m and the second fastest man in a record eligible marathon, fell.

Bekele’s fall was not picked up on the race broadcast, but the runners were not given an advance countdown and were crammed close together with the entire field right up on the professional runners.

After the race, Bekele’s manager Jos Hermens said on the broadcast, that Bekele’s arm was bloodied in the fall and he injured his calf, but the details were not totally known.

To viewers watching the race there was little evidence early on Bekele was injured because he soon caught the leaders and they were on a suicidal pace.

Bekele and the leading pack started out the first 5k (14:26) very fast, perhaps too fast, as they were on 2:01:48 pace in 69 degree weather.

By 10k (28:58) Bekele was 5 seconds back of the leaders, but they were still on world record pace. At 15k he was 36 back of the leaders and no longer on world record pace, although the leaders were still on world record pace.

Bekele was clearly slowing and he’d reach halfway in 1:02:48 and soon after drop out grabbing his left calf.

He’s still scheduled to run the Virgin London Marathon in April.

Olympic 10,000-meter bronze medallist Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia won the race in 2:04:10 by an amazing 2 minutes and 36 seconds as the rest of the field fell apart due to the fast opening pace.