Ethiopia’s Ayele Abshero broke the Dubai Marathon course record in his marathon debut Friday, finishing in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 23 seconds.
The 21-year-old Abshero moved to the front of a pack at 21.1 miles, then pulled away from countryman Dino Sefir Kemal at 24.2 miles. Kemal was second, 25 seconds back.
Abshero shaved 30 seconds off the course record set by Haile Gebrselassie in 2008.
Abshero’s victory was unexpected not only because of his inexperience but because of the number of top Kenyans entered in the race. Five-time major winner Martin Lel and 2011 champion David Barmasai couldn’t keep pace and dropped out of contention with about 6 miles to go.
In the women’s race, Asselefech Medessa made it an Ethiopian double, successfully defending her title in 2:19:31. She held off Kenya’s Lucy Kabuu by 3 seconds.
Kabuu, a 10,000-meter star running her first marathon, held a brief late lead.