April 18th, 2007

Dubai Marathon officials hail Boston visit as hugh success

- The 2008 event in the city will be the richest race in the world -
Boston, Massachusetts: After a hectic few days of meetings with athletes, race officials, sponsors, tour organisers and the media, officials from the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon have voted their first trip to the Boston Marathon an overwhelming success.

The world’s oldest marathon may have suffered some of the worst weather in its 111-year history, but that did not dampen the spirits of the Dubai race officials who took the opportunity to announce that the $1 million (Dh3.6 million) Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will be the richest long-distance running event in history, when staged in 2008.

And after Kenya’s Robert Cheruiyot crossed the finish line for a third Boston title in a time ravaged by the conditions, event director Peter Connerton was already looking ahead to further discussions with athletics chiefs at this week’s London Marathon.

‘Overwhelming’ response

“The reaction in Boston to our announcement has been overwhelming and has certainly created a lot of talk in athletics circles,” said Event Director Peter Connerton. “As the oldest marathon in the world, the Boston event attracts thousands of runners, hundreds of media and representatives from running bodies, agencies, management teams and sponsors. To be on hand to answer their questions as to the status of the 2008 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has been very worthwhile.”
Earlier this week, it was announced that the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon – held under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and staged under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council – will offer a total prize fund of $1 million with a further $1 million available to anyone who can break the current world record for men or women in Dubai next January.

“The Government of Dubai and Dubai Holding have shown their faith in the event and we are already working behind the scenes to make next year’s marathon reflect that valued support,” said Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon general co-ordinator Ahmad Al Kamali.

Tourist influx

“Among the many aspects we would like to develop is the number of tourists coming to Dubai for international marathon tours. Many US runners, for example, fly to Iceland, Africa and Jamaica to combine a holiday with the running of a marathon. This year, we had an American tour group compete in Dubai – we don’t see why we can’t also build on this and increase numbers from other countries.”

While the label of the world’s richest marathon will undoubtedly attract many of the best long-distance runners in the world come January 18, 2008, the Dubai event has never been short of a quality field.

Kenya’s James Koskei, who competed in Dubai earlier this year, claimed fourth place in Boston, while 2007 Dubai Marathon ladies’ champion Askale Tafa Magarsa of Ethiopia won the Paris Marathon last week.

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