After Tirunesh Dibaba hits the 5000-meter finish line at the adidas Grand Prix on June 9, will New Yorkers next see her on the roads?
Dibaba’s manager, Mark Wetmore, confirms that the 26-year-old Dibaba, who won double gold at the 2008 Olympics at 5000 and 10,000 meters, will focus on the marathon distance after the 2012 London Games.
“You will still see her on the track,” he said, “but she is definitely planning to concentrate on the World Marathon Majors races and then the Olympic Marathon in 2016.”
Wetmore said that Dibaba’s marathon debut is planned for 2013, but he wouldn’t completely rule out a fall marathon this year.
Dibaba, who missed the 2011 season with an injury, has not yet been named to the 2012 Ethiopian Olympic team. She is scheduled to run the 10,000 meters at the Prefontaine Classic tomorrow and the 5000 meters in New York with the goal of impressing the selectors by turning in fast times at both. Her training is reportedly going extremely well.
“Right now, it’s all about these Olympics, on the track,” Wetmore said. “But after that, the focus will shift.”
The World Record-holder at 5000 meters on the track and a four-time World Cross Country Champion, Dibaba has competed sparingly on the roads. But when she’s traded the Mondo for the macadam, the results have been impressive on courses not commonly known to be flat and fast: In 2009 she set the still-standing World Best at 15K (46:28) in winning the aptly named Fortis Seven Hills Run in the Netherlands. It remains her longest race.
When Dibaba makes the switch, she won’t have to look far for advice. Her older sister, Ejegayehu, made her marathon debut at the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, finishing second in 2:22:09, after winning the Olympic silver medal at 10,000 meters in 2004.
And her cousin, Derartu Tulu, a two-time Olympic gold medalist at 10,000 meters, won the ING New York City Marathon in 2009.
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