Dubai Holding today announced the highest number of Emirati participants in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon since the introduction of the UAE National Prize Category in 2011. Over the last nine years, Emirati participation has increased by 325% with the 2020 marathon not only seeing the greatest number of Emiratis taking part but also record times for UAE Nationals in the city’s signature fitness event.
This year, the company’s #MyCity_MyRace campaign that called on all male and female Emiratis to participate, inspired 30% more UAE Nationals to take part across all categories versus 2019. The most significant increase was in the 10km which saw Emirati participation increase by an impressive 61% compared with last year. The 10km was a major focus for the Dubai Holding campaign as it encourages mass participation of all fitness levels. This year also witnessed the return of a UAE National who participated in the wheel chair category for the third consecutive year.
In celebration of UAE National success in the Dubai Marathon, Dubai Holding will award a prize fund of AED 86,000 to the top three male and female Emirati winners from each category.
Khalid Al Malik, Managing Director of Dubai Holding, commented: “It is incredible to see how the Emirati community has responded to our campaign and proudly come together with the UAE National athletes to represent the nation in this significant event. This year’s results and particularly both the impressive 61% increase of fellow UAE Nationals taking part in the 10km and the Emirati records broken today reflects the collaborative effort among all government and semi-government entities, UAE national athletes, local running clubs and the Emirati community. It is inspiring to witness the younger generation’s passion in supporting our leadership’s vision – that nothing is impossible and that we must strive to succeed in every sector, including sports.”
Testomonials from Emirati participants:
Abdulrahman Alhosani, 34, member of the UAE Triathlon Association said: “I am representing the UAE triathlon team today and it’s my fifth time taking part in the Dubai Marathon. I am proud to support the #MyCity_MyRace campaign and see many of my fellow Emirati athletes and runners, both male and female participating today. I am also delighted that I broke my own personal record today coming in at 3 hours, 5 minutes in the 42km, shaving 2 minutes off my previous best. Last year was a big year for me, participating in a major Triathlon in Argentina and qualifying for the Iron Man Championship in New Zealand but I always love taking part in events here in the UAE.”
Obaid Mohamed Al Nuaeimi, 37, UAE National Running Club and the 2019’s Emirati runner-up of the 10km said: “I’ve been participating in the Dubai Marathon for a number of years and have been successful twice as the Emirati winner of the 10km. I have trained for this 10km all year, running alongside over thirty Emiratis daily as part of the UAE National Running Club. This year, I’m delighted that all the training has paid off and I have broken my own personal best for the race. Today, I’m proud to have seen more Emirati participants than ever before and particularly an increase in the number of women taking part and I think the #MyCity_MyRace campaign has really contributed to that. I hope next year we’ll see even more Emiratis of all ages and fitness levels get involved.”
Abdulla Yousef Alblooshi, 42, Founder of Desert Shield Team said: “We feel it’s essential for Emiratis to take part in sporting activities, to be more active in their communities and to represent their country with pride. #MyCity_MyRace campaign says it all in a simple and beautiful way and it puts the responsibility on us Emiratis to get involved in the city’s wellness initiatives. Four years ago, I was training with a group of friends and we were inspired to create a community team in the UAE specializing in obstacle racing, running and promoting an active lifestyle - the Desert Shield Team was born. Today we are very proud to be representing #MyCity_MyRace, taking part in the Dubai Marathon and sending out the message that sports is an integral part of our city and the UAE as a whole.“
Mohammad Albalooshi, 26, Head Coach at Obstacle Course Racing Nation (OCR), said: “Being an Emirati, it gives me a great sense of achievement and satisfaction to participate in an event hosted by my city. Our ethos as a running club is aligned with Dubai Holding’s committment to community wellness, we firmly believe in the message behind #MyCity_MyRace and will continue to support the drive to actively encourage more Emiratis to take part in the city’s sporting initiatives.“
Abeer Alkhaja, 30, Co- Founder of Ana Gow Running Club and Events Manager at Dubai Sports Council said:, “I’ve started preparing for the Dubai Marathon four months ago. As a face of the #MyCity_MyRace campaign, I was inspired to challenge more of my friends and the wider community of Emirati ladies to participate today and I think it’s great that Dubai Holding are championing young Emiratis to be part of these historic events in our city. Today I was inspired by ladies like Sara Alulama and Meera AlFalasi who were running the Marathon (42km) and I will certainly be looking to get involved in more events across Dubai’s sporting calendar from here on.“
Nahla Al Fahad, UAE Film and Content Director at Expo 2020 said: “This is my first time to participate and I am very proud to be part of this amazing event. Such Marathons have become an integral part of Emiratis lifestyle and Dubai’s official sports calendar. Our wise leadership, official bodies and government entities are keen on encouraging the participation of Emiratis and I have seen a huge number of UAE Nationals from different government entities to represent our country in Dubai’s official marathon.”
Khalid Walid Ali, 21, Emirati Runner said: “As a young Emirati, I have been participating in the Dubai Marathon as part of a team of 15 UAE National runners since I was 18 years old. I have been challenged by my friends to achieve and win in sports and becoming part of an official club has helped me with my aim to become a professional athlete.”
Adil Mohamed Alnuaimi, 40, member of the UAE Athletes Federation and ex footballer said: “It’s my first time participating in the Dubai Marathon. Previously, I was playing football for the Ajman and Fujairah National Club teams from 2000 – 2017. Even though I’m now 40 I’m still aiming to be one of the Emirati winners of the 10km category today.”
Further showcasing its commitment to this globally renowned marathon, Dubai Holding fielded the largest corporate team for the twelfth consecutive year, with more than 2000 employees taking part. A team from across the group representing multiple nationalities, both genders and different fitness levels, including Jumeirah Group, TECOM Group, Dubai Properties, Dubai Asset Management, Arab Media Group (AMG), Dubai Retail and Dubai Holding’s Corporate Office, successfully completed different categories in the Marathon.
Dubai Holding launched #MyCity_MyRace to actively encourage UAE Nationals to show their national pride and join the country’s elite runners to take part in the 10km, 42km or Wheel Chair categories. This initiative was launched to complement the Dubai Holding UAE National Prize’ category, a dedicated platform established in 2011 to recognize Emirati sporting accomplishments in the Dubai Marathon and encourage participation.
Dubai Marathon is the biggest mass-participation sports event in the region, with the number of participants reaching more than 30,000. Dubai Holding is one of the founding sponsors as part of its wider wellness programme launched in 2007.
Source: Asda’a BCW