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Many of the world’s long greatest distance runners will rub shoulders with thousands of dedicated amateur athletes when the 2014 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is staged on Friday (Jan 24).
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, the Middle East’s biggest mass participation sporting event will see the Marathon get underway at 7am with the 10km Road Race starting at 7.15am and the 3km Fun Run at 11am.
Last year a total of 19,837 runners of 145 different nationalities took part across the three races – and with registrations again up on the previous year organisers expect a new record turnout.
In 2013, victory in the men’s race went to Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia after a breathtaking run to the line saw the top five men all break the 2h:05m mark. It was the first time in marathon history that any event had so many athletes below 2:05 and brought to ten the total number of runners to complete the Dubai course in sub 2:05 – another marathon first.
“The 2013 race once again underlined the quality of the field attracted to Dubai each year,” said Event Director Peter Connerton. “This year we have a new route that takes in many of the city’s iconic buildings such as the Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Mosque, Madinat Jumeirah and Union House before reaching the finish line on Umm Suqeim Road just before Dubai Police Academy.
“The 2014 race is significant as it marks the tenth anniversary of Standard Chartered’s title sponsorship and we thank them for their ongoing support as we do our other key sponsors. I’d also like to thank the Dubai Sports Council, under the leadership of HH Sheikh Hamdan and the Vice Chairman His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, for its continued encouragement and support.”
Speaking at the pre-event press conference at the Madinat Jumeirah, Jonathan Morris, CEO UAE Standard Chartered Bank added: “2014 marks the tenth year of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon. The significance of the Dubai Marathon to Standard Chartered transcends the hosting of a world-class event – it represents a long-term partnership between the Bank and the UAE.”
Over the past few years, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has grown to become one of the premier road races on the athletics calendar and now boasts the fourth fastest men’s course record time behind only Berlin, Frankfurt and Chicago, while in the women’s event it has the fifth fastest women’s course record time behind London, Berlin, Chicago and Rotterdam.
Since it began, some 100,923 runners have pounded the streets of Dubai and with a new record turnout expected on Friday, the event is set to write yet another new chapter in Middle East sport.
Among the VIP guests at the event’s press conference were Dobromir Karaminov, Hilmy Aboud Said and Elias Mpondela, Presidents of the Athletics Federations of Bulgaria, Comoros and Zambia respectively, and former Olympic and World 5,000m gold medalist Said Aouita of Morocco.
IAAF Council Member and President of the UAE Athletics Federation Ahmed Al Kamali said the Dubai Marathon was a positive example of several bodies coming together to stage a sporting event that not only features world-class athletes but also enthusiastic amateurs from around the world.
“With the ongoing support of the Government of Dubai, the race has become one of the biggest events of the year,” he said. “Once again we have put together a strong field of elite athletes in both the men and women’s marathons and we look forward to a great race and, hopefully, record times.”
Jad Chouman, Brand Director, adidas Middle East and North Africa, added: “adidas is proud to partner with the 2014 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon for a fourth consecutive year.
“We’re looking forward eagerly to supporting running in this region and creating products for runners of all abilities. Our partnership with the region’s flagship running event along the presence of our local and global athletes, is a symbol of our continued dedication to sport and running in particular.”
All three races will start and finish on Umm Suqeim Road with the Marathon getting underway at 7am, while the 10km runners will start at 7.15am. The families and fun runners competing in the final event of the day, the 3km, will take to the roads at 11am.
As well as a full morning of running and activity on the roads around Dubai, there will be a wide range of entertainment and F&B around the Marathon Fun Zone along Umm Suqeim Road by the start and finish lines.
The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, Adidas, Dubai Eye 103.8FM, Masafi, Dubai Holding, Dubai Police, the RTA and Dubai Municipality.