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Dubai (UAE): As the countdown continues to the 2010 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, the Dubai Creek Striders are already focused on maintaining their position as the largest team in the world’s richest marathon.
No sooner had Striders’ Chairman Malcolm Murphy collected the trophy for bringing home 63 runners in the 2009 event, the man who co-founded the popular running club back in 1995 was already setting a new target for the next staging of the race on January 22, 2010.
“We have to look at getting one hundred runners over the start and finish line next year,” said Murphy after receiving the “Largest Team In The Marathon” trophy from Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon Facilities Manager Pat Carey. “To get 63 to complete the 42.2km was a great achievement but I think we can raise the bar even higher.”
Murphy’s Striders will once again line up alongside world record holder Haile Gebrselassie and a host of elite male and female athletes when the $2 million race is staged for the eleventh time. And with record numbers set to hit the streets for the club’s annual half marathon on December 11, the Striders’ chief is looking forward to successfully defending the prized team trophy.
“We’ve already had to close entries for our half marathon next month with the number of entries already fifty per cent up on those for 2008,” added Murphy. “I hate turning people away from running but we have limits. It’s wonderful so many runners are coming along to take part in what we like to call the world’s best half marathon.
“Not only is it a wonderful run over a very scenic route, it is also great preparation for the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon itself and I hope most of those running next month will turn out in January and run for the Striders.”
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, and staged under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is already attracting numbers greater than previous years.
But while Gebrselassie is the star attraction, it is the spirit of running clubs like the Striders – as well as the thousands competing in the Marathon, the 10km and the 3km Fun Run – that help add to the unique camaraderie of the occasion.
“While we are delighted to accept this trophy from the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, we will present it to AP Kumar who was the 63rd member of the Striders to finish the event in 2009,” said Murphy. “It’s that type of spirit and determination that makes running such an enjoyable and social sport”
As well as title sponsors Standard Chartered, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is supported by Dubai Holding, The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina, AMG, Dubai Sports Council, TNT, Fitness First, Men’s Fitness, RTA, Dubai Municipality and the Dubai Emergency Services.
Entries for the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon are being accepted at all branches of Fitness First in Dubai and online at the event’s official website www.dubaimarathon.org. Teams and individuals are asked to ensure their places in the line-up before the closing date for entries on December 31.
Pat Carey from the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon presents the “Largest Team In The Marathon” Trophy to Dubai Creek Striders’ Chairman Malcolm Murphy and Gayatri Viswanathan, who accepted it on behalf of AP Kumar, the 63rd member of the Striders to finish the 2009 event.