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– The Westin Mina Seyahi to Host World’s Richest Marathon –
Dubai (UAE): The 2009 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will have a brand new race route starting and finishing at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina, the new headquarters for the world’s richest athletics event.
To be staged on January 16, the US$2 million race over the classic 42km, 195m marathon distance will see the field – led by world record holder Haile Gebrselassie – tackle an “out and back” course from the new HQ with the turn to be made at the towering UAE flag at Union House.
Paul Hodgson, a Grade “A” Course Measurement Official with the Association of International Marathons and Road Races (AIMS), is in Dubai to measure the route and ensure that nothing is left to chance in an event worth US$1 million in prize-money as well as a further US$1 million for a new world record.
“The new route is a classic “Out and Back” configuration with only a minor detour required near Madinat Jumeriah to provide the mandatory distance,” said Hodgson.
“The route configuration will provide spectators with the opportunity to see the athletes in both the outward and return legs. In particular a vantage point in the vicinity of Souk Madinat Jumeriah will witness the runners pass by at 5.5km, 7.5km and 36.5km.”
With Gebrselassie intent on breaking his current world best – set in Berlin in September – the spotlight of the athletics world will be on the Dubai race.
And the man charged with measuring every last millimetre believes the new course could well be the setting for a slice of running history. “The course compares favourably with that of this year when Haile ran the second fastest marathon in history,” he added.
“Although there is no significant change in the elevation profile, we’ve eliminated the sinuous nature of the early and latter stages of the route, which will be appreciated by the elite athletes.”
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 will see all activities operate out of The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina.
“The Westin Dubai creates a perfect backdrop for this event as well as contributing state of the art facilities for pre and post marathon events, athletes will appreciate the fact that the race HQ is adjacent to the start and finish, which means no early rise or long bus ride to the start, as is the case with most international marathons,” said Event Director Peter Connerton.
“I am delighted to welcome The Westin to the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon – I’m sure with the fabulous facilities and their excellent support we will again see another world-class sporting event in the city.”
Michael Scully, Complex General Manager, added: “We at The Westin Dubai are delighted to be playing such an integral part in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon and look forward to providing both runners and spectators with a fantastic event.”
Runners looking to sign up for the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon or the 10km and 3km can register on-line at www.dubaimarathon.org or visit any branch of Fitness First. Entries close on December 15, 2008.
IMAGE: Course Measurer Paul Hodgson puts the final touches to the new course for the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.