More than 30,000 runners will descend on Dubai’s streets this weekend for the annual Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.
The 19th edition of the 42 (and a bit) kilometre race takes place on Friday (26th January) and welcome runners from all around the world. Whether you’re taking part or cheering on, here’s what you need to know about one of the fastest (and richest) road races in the world.
What time do the races start?
Set your alarms! For those in the élite and wheelchair categories, the main marathon begins at 6am. Everyone else will set off from 7am, followed by the 10 kilometre road race at 9am and 4km fun run at 11am.
Where do the runners start and finish?
Taking runners along a stretch of Dubai’s coastline, the start and finish line of the marathon and 10km race is on Umm Suqeim Road, opposite Madinat Jumeirah and right in the shadow of the Burj Al Arab. The 4km will start from Umm Suqeim Road on Al Sufouh, opposite Madinat Jumeirah. All races finish at the Dubai Police Academy end of Umm Suqeim Road.
First, set off early to avoid any delays! Organisers are advising people NOT to park in the Jumeirah Beach Road, Al Sufouh Road, Madinat Jumeirah or Police Academy areas, as they’re expected to be very congested and there will be some road closures (more about those later).
Instead, head for Al Wasl Road or even Mall of the Emirates. Cross the MoE Metro bridge and start/finish lines are a short walk from there.
Race routes will be closed from midnight Thursday and re-open at about 1pm Friday. So, Umm Suqeim Street, Jumeirah Beach Road and King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street are best avoided, unless you’re a runner.
Runners, water, isotonic drinks and sponges are available along the marathon route. Plus toilets, of course. For spectators, live bands and refreshments are at the Marathon Village throughout the event.
Five tips for marathon success from a personal trainer
Aleks Grujicic, head coach of BeStrong, tells us what it takes to make it until the end.
“First of all, you need to plan your big day. All the training has now been done and the only thing that will impact your performance is your organisational skills. Plan your day and your run.
“Sleep well the night before. Go to bed early and wake up early and energised.
“Don’t skip breakfast and try also to eat few hours before the run. Focus on carbs. Hydrate yourself well before the marathon, and during the run, enjoy small amounts of fluids.
“Shoes are important. Don’t try new running shoes on the day of the marathon. Use the old ones even though they would look worn out. Your feet are used to them.
“When on the track, start your run with medium intensity and don’t burn all your energy. There is some way to go. Good luck and be strong!”
More questions are answered at www.dubaimarathon.org/faqs