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– Thousands Expected To Run Streets of Dubai with Haile Gebrselassie in January – – Entries Close on December 15 –
Dubai (UAE): Runners from across the world have been quick to sign up for the 2009 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon following the announcement that Haile Gebrselassie will launch an attempt on his own world record time in the emirate.
Entries for the event, scheduled for January 16, 2009, continue to rise as competitors sign up for the full marathon, the popular 10km event and the 3km Fun Run through the event’s official website www.dubaimarathon.org.
Runners of all ages can only register online or visit any branch of Fitness First in Dubai. Details of all branches of Fitness First are available at www.fitnessfirst.ae.
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, this year’s Dubai Marathon saw Ethiopian legend Gebrselassie set the then second fastest marathon time in history and narrowly miss out on a record US$1 million bonus.
Gebrselassie – fresh from setting a new world best of 2h:03m:59s in Berlin last month – has already confirmed he will have another attempt at landing the biggest prize in athletics in January, a move that is already encouraging even more amateur names to sign up for the entry list.
“The 2008 event was the best in the history of the Dubai Marathon and we are looking forward to a record turnout in 2009,” said Event Director Peter Connerton. “Thanks to the support of title sponsors Standard Chartered as well as our other supporters such as Dubai Holding, who are again offering US$1 million for a new world record, and the regular appearance of athletes such as Haile, Dubai is now well established as a leading marathon venue in world athletics.”
Despite registration opening three months before the start gun, Ahmed Al Kamali, Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon General Co-ordinator, President of the UAE Athletics Federation and Al Ahli Club Board Member, urged UAE runners not to be slow in signing up for the event. “We will close registrations on December 15 around one month before the race in order to finalise numbers and ensure we have all the necessary logistics in place to handle the exact number of runners,” he said.
While organisers continue to work behind the scenes on assembling a powerful field for next year’s marathon, event sponsors Standard Chartered are calling on the UAE public to put on their running shoes and get into training for all three race categories.
“Standard Chartered has been the title sponsor of the Dubai Marathon for the last four years and we are excited about our fifth year as sponsors in 2009. The Dubai marathon has grown into an international success story that reaches out to every member in our local UAE community,” said Shayne Nelson, Standard Chartered Regional CEO, Middle East and North Africa.
“The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, the 10km race and the 3km ‘Seeing is Believing’ Fun Run are great ways to get fit as well as raise money and awareness for local and international charities. For us, the marathon is a key component of the Bank’s community strategy as we help to raise awareness about the rise of diabetes in the region, and how we can effectively combat this illness through regular exercise.
Those who take the challenge to participate in any one of the runs has the potential to make a significant difference. I look forward to welcoming thousands of athletes of all ages, nationalities and abilities to the starting line on January 16 next year.”
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