The race is held in January each year, the first being run on 14 January 2000. In April 2007, it was announced that the 2008 race would become the world's richest long distance running event in history, with one million dollars offered for a world record and $250,000 for first place for both the men and women.
The 2012 edition proved to be one of the fastest finishing fields at that point: a record of four athletes ran under two hours and five minutes. Ayele Abshero won in a course record time of 2:04:23 hours, which was the fourth quickest on the all-time lists and the fastest time ever run by an athlete on their marathon debut. The other podium finishers also entered the all-time top ten: runner-up Dino Sefir became the eighth fastest man with 2:04:50 hours, while Markos Geneti became the ninth with 2:04:54 hours. Behind them, Jonathan Kiplimo Maiyo became the 13th fastest man with 2:04:56 hours and Tadese Tola became the 16th fastest with 2:05:10 hours.
The women's side was also fast: Aselefech Mergia ran a course and Ethiopian record time of 2:19:31 hours to win, becoming the seventh fastest woman ever. For the first time in history, the top three runners of a race all finished under two hours and twenty minutes: debutante and runner-up Lucy Wangui Kabuu became the eighth fastest woman with a time of 2:19:34 hours and Mare Dibaba became the 15th fastest woman in 2:19:52 hours. Behind her, fellow Ethiopians Bezunesh Bekele and Aberu Kebede moved up to the 16th and 17th fastest of all-time.
The 2013 edition, ran under a heavy fog, was also very fast. The Ethiopian winner Lelisa Desisa, won in a sprint finish of the last 200 m with a time of 2:04:45, and led 4 other runners for sub-2:05 runs. In the women's side, Ethiopian Tirfi Tsegaye won in a time of 2:23:23, 16 seconds ahead of her fellow countrywoman Ehitu Kiros. The top 4 in the men's side and top 6 in the women's side were all Ethiopians.
Key: Course record
|Edition||Year||Men's winner||Time (h:m:s)||Women's winner||Time (h:m:s)|
|1st||2000||Wilson Kibet (KEN)||2:12:21||Ramilya Burangulova (RUS)||2:40:22|
|2nd||2001||Wilson Kibet (KEN)||2:13:36||Ramilya Burangulova (RUS)||2:37:07|
|3rd||2002||Wilson Kibet (KEN)||2:13:04||Albina Ivanova (RUS)||2:33:31|
|4th||2003||Joseph Kahugu (KEN)||2:09:33||Irina Permitina (RUS)||2:36:26|
|5th||2004||Gashaw Asfaw (ETH)||2:12:49||Leila Aman (ETH)||2:42:36|
|6th||2005||Dejene Guta (ETH)||2:10:49||Diribe Hunde (ETH)||2:39:08|
|7th||2006||Joseph Kiprotich (KEN)||2:13:02||Delilah Asiago (KEN)||2:43:09|
|8th||2007||William Rotich (KEN)||2:09:53||Askale Tafa (ETH)||2:27:19|
|9th||2008||Haile Gebrselassie (ETH)||2:04:53||Berhane Adere (ETH)||2:22:42|
|10th||2009||Haile Gebrselassie (ETH)||2:05:29||Bezunesh Bekele (ETH)||2:24:02|
|11th||2010||Haile Gebrselassie (ETH)||2:06:09||Mamitu Daska (ETH)||2:24:18|
|12th||2011||David Barmasai (KEN)||2:07:18||Aselefech Mergia (ETH)||2:22:45|
|13th||2012||Ayele Abshero (ETH)||2:04:23||Aselefech Mergia (ETH)||2:19:31|
|14th||2013||Lelisa Desisa (ETH)||2:04:45||Tirfi Tsegaye (ETH)||2:23:23|
|15th||2014||Tsegaye Mekonnen (ETH)||2:04:32||Mulu Seboka (ETH)||2:25:01|
|16th||2015||Lemi Berhanu (ETH)||2:05:28||Aselefech Mergia (ETH)||2:20:02|
- "Dubai to stage $1 Million Marathon". IAAF. 2007-04-14.
- "Dubai to stage world's richest-ever marathon". AMEInfo. 2007-04-14.
- "Second fastest of all time for Gebre in Dubai Marathon". IAAF. 2008-01-18.
- Butcher, Pat (2012-01-27). Abshero stuns with 2:04:23 debut, Mergia clocks 2:19:31 in Dubai. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-02-04.
- "Women set records on Dubai's superfast course". Berlin-laeuft.de. January 26, 2015. Retrieved April 20, 2015.