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Twelve months after setting a wealth of records and shaking up the world of long distance running, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon takes to the streets of the emirate for the fourteenth time on Friday (Jan 25).
An elite field of world-class runners will join forces with enthusiastic amateurs as more than 2,500 set off in the marathon itself at 7am – closely followed by the competitors in the associated 10km Road Race and 3km Fun Run.
In all, around 20,000 runners are expected at the start line on Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard in the shadow of Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai for an event held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai and under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council.
“Last year’s course records showed yet again that we have one of the fastest courses in the world of international marathon running, while the award of a second IAAF Gold Label underlines how far we have come in such a short period of time,” said Event Director Peter Connerton at the pre-event Press Briefing staged at the Official Race Hotel, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai.
“As always we are grateful not only to the international running community for supporting Dubai as a marathon city but also to the thousands of Dubai residents who come out and support the event year after year.
“The support of runners and their families help make the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon a great social occasion as well as one of the year’s biggest sporting events. And for the first time, I am pleased to announce that with the support of Dubai Sports Channel, we will broadcast the race live on our official website www.dubaimarathon.org.”
The 2012 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will be remembered as not only the best in the event’s relatively short history but also as one of the most extraordinary single races in the annals of the classic distance.
Ethiopia’s Ayele Abshero blazed his way to a magnificent win in the men’s event and the top three finishers in the women’s race – headed by defending champion Mergia Aselefech also of Ethiopia – carved their own slice of marathon history by breaking the 2h:20m in the same race.
The two course records and host of other outstanding results has led to Dubai being earmarked as a “must run” in the diary of many international athletes and the 2013 edition has attracted runners from the traditional heartlands of Kenya and Ethiopia, while the women’s field also features Alevtina Ivanova of Russia, Kateryna Stetsenko of the Ukraine, Japan’s Misaki Katsumata and the Luik twins from Estonia, Leila and Llina.
“For the ninth year, Standard Chartered is pleased to partner one of the world’s most iconic road races as title sponsor,” said Jonathan Morris, CEO of Standard Chartered UAE. “This annual event has grown in stature and significance over the years, witnessing record-breaking performances by a field of elite athletes from across the globe.
“For runners, the Dubai Marathon offers the opportunity to push boundaries, be it for a sense of personal achievement, to encourage fellow runners and friends, or to support a charitable cause. Various teams from Standard Chartered have committed to raise funds by running for ‘Seeing is Believing’, an initiative that the Bank has been passionate in supporting over the past decade and we look forward to another memorable race on Friday,”
Adidas Brand Director Middle East and North Africa Jad Chouman added: “As a sporting brand that strives to support runners of all abilities achieve their goals, we are once again extremely proud to be partnering with the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon for the third consecutive year. As official outfitter of the region’s flagship running event and with the presence of our elite local and global athletes, adidas is continuing our commitment as a serious technical running brand.”
Event General Co-ordinator Ahmed Al Kamali said Dubai’s growth as a home for mass participation events has been impressive with a huge increase in participant figures since the first Marathon was staged in the city. In 2000, there were 249 runners in the Marathon and a total of 1,818 in total across all three races.
“With the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, and the ongoing support of the Government of Dubai, the race has become one of the biggest events on the Middle East sporting calendar,” said Al Kamali, President of the UAE Athletic Federation and an IAAF Council Member.
All three races will start and finish outside The Pavilion, Downtown Dubai with the Marathon getting underway at 7am, while the 10km runners will hear the start gun at 7.15am. The families and fun runners competing in the final event of the day, the 3km, will take to the roads at 10.30am.
As well as a full morning of running and activity on the roads around Dubai, there will be a wide range of entertainment, F&B outlets and other activities in the Marathon Village at the Burj Park.
In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, Adidas, 103.8FM, JW Marriott Marquis, Emaar, Sport 360, Dubai Holding, Dubai Police and the RTA.