Dubai (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES): Earlier this week, Kenenisa Bekele seemed inordinately confident that he could break the world record in tomorrow (Friday) morning’s Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.
Firstly there is his pride in being a multi-medallist and world record holder, who has thus far in his career succeeded in everything he has attempted - except the marathon. That was something he underlined in response to questions yesterday.
Next, there is the considerable incentive of a $200,000 first prize, and a $250,000 bonus should he beat Kenyan Dennis Kimetto’s world mark of 2:02:57. There will be the inevitable pacemakers to help the Ethiopian along.
But Event Director Peter Connerton had added yet another incentive in the shape of a $50,000 bonus for any of Bekele’s rivals (up to five men) who can get under a 2:04 finishing time. That way, he feels, Bekele will be pushed all the way. And of course, Bekele himself can add the $50,000 to his own pot if he wins in sub 2:04.
"Of course, I’ve insured against a world record but when I questioned the underwriters about adding this sub-2.04 bonus incentive, they went away and came back with what I thought was a reasonable additional fee. So I’ve gone for it," said Connerton.
All that remains is for Bekele and his rivals to do the same. It promises to be quite a race...