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Dubai (UAE): Entries for the 2011 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon – scheduled to get underway at 7.00am on Friday (Jan 21) – have now closed with event organisers predicting a record turn out in all three racing categories.
Since the event was first staged with just over 1,800 runners in 2000, Dubai’s appetite for distance running and an interest in health and fitness has grown to such an extent that more than 14,000 runners are expected to descend on Dubai Media City for the big day.
In all, more than 50,000 runners of all ages, abilities and nationalities have competed in either the marathon, the 10km and the 3km Fun Run over the years with this week’s record turn out set to increase that figure by more than 25%.
“Extending the deadline for registration has allowed late comers to register online but we have to draw a close with one week to go,” said event director Peter Connerton. “It’s important we know exactly how many are going to run on the day as we need to ensure adequate water, isotonic drinks and sponges as well as medals and t-shirts for our participants.”
With dehydration being one of the biggest problems faced by marathon runners, isotonic drinks supplied by Gatorade will be available at six stations along the route with full bottles provided at the 10km, 15km, 20km, 25km, 30km and 35km stations. In addition, water supplied by Aquafina will be available at every 2.5km starting from 5km with the last drink available at the 40km mark. In all, around 100,000 500ml plastic bottles of water have been supplied for the needs of the marathon.
With entries now closed, all runners will have been advised to collect their run numbers from the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon desks at the Arjaan Rotana Hotel in Dubai Media City today (Wednesday) and tomorrow (Thursday) from 9am to 9pm to ensure everyone has their runner’s pack and is ready for the start line.
“The marathon and 10km road race will start outside the old Hard Rock Café building and American University at 7.00am and 7.15am,” said event general co-ordinator Ahmed Al Kamali. “The 3km Fun Run will get underway from the Radisson Blu Hotel opposite Dubai Media City Amphitheatre at 11.00am.”
Meanwhile, organisers have also advised participants and their families to make use of public transport and enter Dubai Media City from Exit 32 on the Sheikh Zayed Road.
“There are extensive parking facilities at Dubai Media and Internet City but with so many people descending on the site at the same time, taking a taxi might be the preferable option,” added Connerton. “The public is also advised not to access the race from the Jumeirah Beach Road, Al Sufouh Road or Al Wasl Road direction as the roads will be closed from 3.00am and not open again until 2.00pm.”
The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is also supported by The Dubai Sports Council, Dubai Holding, “Official Outfitter” adidas, The Address Dubai Marina, Dubai Eye 103.8 FM, Khaleej Times, TNT, Gatorade, Aquafina, Fitness First, Men’s Fitness, Plan B and by government departments Dubai Police, RTA, Dubai Municipality DHA and the Dubai Ambulance Services.