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Dubai (UAE): The deadline date for runners looking to register for the 2009 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has been extended to December 31.
The decision to allow athletes more time to enter has been made to assist those who have been unable to commit to the event due to the recent National Day and Eid holidays. However, the new deadline will be strictly adhered to with no entries taken from January 1.
“Runners looking to sign up for the marathon, the 10km event or the 3km Fun Run should visit the official website www.dubaimarathon.org or register at any branch of Fitness First branch in Dubai,” said Event Director Peter Connerton.
“We are already looking at record numbers for the event but we feel that extending the date to the end of the year will help those who have been away as well as those athletes who are still undecided. However, we need to finalise our numbers well before the race itself so no more entries will be accepted when the window comes down at midnight on December 31.”
With Ethiopian running legend Haile Gebrselassie bullish about the possibility of breaking his own world record on January 16, Connerton expects to see a large field of marathon runners looking to run alongside one of the greatest athletes of all time.
“It’s the equivalent of being able to say you played golf with Tiger Woods or tennis with Roger Federer,” he added. “To have run in the same race as Haile Gebrselassie is something you never forget.”
Following his most recent victory in Melbourne two weeks ago, ‘Geb’ has returned to Addis Ababa where his daily training routine is now geared towards a world record tilt over the flat race route in Dubai.
And with the Ethiopian having set two world record times in his last three marathon outings, excitement is building that Dubai could well be the venue for a moment of sporting history in an event staged under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
“Having Haile take part again is a great honour and Should he break his own world record time of 2h:3m:59s, he’ll pick up a special US$ 1 million bonus, courtesy of Dubai Holding,” said Event General Co-ordinator Ahmed Al Kamali. “Add in total prize-money for the event itself of US$ 1million and you have the richest athletics event of its kind in the world.”
As well as title sponsors Standard Chartered, other supporters of the event include Dubai Holding, The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina, Puma, Arab Media Group (AMG), TNT and Fitness First with assistance provided by Dubai Sports Council, RTA, Dubai Municipality and Dubai Police.
IMAGE: Athletes now have until December 31 to register for the 2009 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, the world’s richest race