|Gebrselassie crosses the finish line, but misses out on a $1 million bonus for breaking his world record [AFP]
Ethiopian marathon legend Haile Gebrselassie completed his third Dubai Marathon victory on Friday, but missed out on setting a new world record due to a back injury.
The 36-year-old world champion crossed the finish line in a time of 2:06:09, 14 seconds ahead of compatriot Chala Dechase Beyene but more than two minutes slower than his record time.
The $2 million event had attracted around 12,000 runners, according to organisers, with a $1 million bonus pool on offer to anyone breaking Gebrselassie's earlier world record.
"I wanted to break the record, but what can I do?" Gebrselassie said.
"It's important to break my record, one day it will happen."
"I didn't have a good night last night, my back was not in the right position," he added.
Going for gold
However, he said the problem was minor and he would still be aiming for a marathon gold at the 2012 London Olympics.
In the women's event, Ethiopia's Mamitu Daska Molisa won in a time of 2:24:18, six seconds ahead of compatriot Aberu Kebede Shewaye.
The marathon world record-holder and two-time Olympic 10,000-metre champion had earlier confirmed his participation in the New York Half-Marathon in March.
Gebrselassie last competed in a US event in 2007, when he won the New York Half-Marathon in a race-record 59 minutes, 24 seconds.
"I'm very excited about going back to New York," Gebrselassie said.
"I got such a warm welcome when I ran the Half-Marathon in 2007.
"I'm sure it will be a wonderful event again and I'm looking forward to it."