Berhanu, Mergia Win Dubai Marathon Crowns

Ethiopians Lemi Berhanu and Aselefech Mergia each won $200,000 for their winning efforts.

Ethiopians Lemi Berhanu and Aselefech Mergia each won $200,000 after finishing first in the men’s and women’s divisions at the Dubai Marathon Friday morning.

The prize is the largest in the world for a single marathon. The runner-up receives $80,000.

In the men’s race, Berhanu stopped the clock in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 2 seconds to claim victory. In second and third were his countrymen Lelisa Desisa (2:05:52) and Deribe Robi (2:06:06).

Notably, three-time Olympic gold medalist Kenenisa Bekele withdrew from the race about 30K in with an Achilles tendon injury, according to several news reports.

Mergia, meanwhile, crossed the line in 2:20:02 — one second ahead of Kenyan Gladys Cherono (2:20:03). Taking third was Kenyan Lucy Wangui, who clocked a 2:20:21.

The victory was Mergia’s third in Dubai, after she won the 2011 and 2012 races.

“I told myself after having my daughter that I could win a marathon again,” Mergia said in an story. “We used the prize money from my first two wins in Dubai to begin building a hotel back home, now we’ll be able to complete the job.”