World unofficial junior marathon record holder Tsegaye Mekonnen will return to Dubai Marathon where he wrote history as the youngest athlete to clinch the title with the fastest time nine years ago.
The 27 year-old ran the fastest time by an 18-year-old runner of 2:04.32, nine seconds shy of the course record and one minute nine seconds off the world record – a time he was on course to beat at the half-way split.
In 2013 Mekonnen ran on the same course but as a pacemaker and is still the youngest winner in the history of the Middle East’s oldest Marathon, Mekonnen has had an impressive career as a young runner with his 2014 Dubai victory being the third fastest time in history by an athlete making his full marathon debut.
Winning the Dubai Marathon changed the then 18 year life forever. While speaking to World Athletics, he said, “Winning in Dubai meant I was able to buy a house in Addis Ababa and I bought a car to be able to go to training,” he said. “I was also able to stop school and concentrate fully on running. It is definitely a completely different life for me now.”
Life changed for Mekonnen since clinching the Dubai title as he has been invited to major marathons with a fifth-place finish at the 2014 London Marathon in a time of 2:08.06.
Mekonnen’s progress has been restricted by a succession of injuries. He also suffered misfortune when making his Frankfurt debut in 2014, recovering from a fall during the race but subsequently dropping out. In 2017 Mekonnen won his second marathon with a time of 2:07.26 in Hamburg and finished second the following year at Shanghai International Marathon in 2:09.18.