A full guide to Dubai Fitness Challenge 2021, including Expo 2020 events

Everything you need to know about Dubai Run and Dubai Ride, activities at Expo 2020 and the Fitness Villages

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Participants doing workout at the closing weekend carnival of the second year of the Dubai Fitness Challenge at Burj Park, Dubai.  Leslie Pableo for The National

The onset of cooler weather in the UAE means it’s time to get outside with those trainers on because Dubai Fitness Challenge is upon us.

The fifth annual event starts on Friday and runs until November 27. Those interested in committing 30 minutes of daily activity for 30 days can now register for the initiative on the official website.

There’s a full schedule of events and activities taking place city-wide to help you stay true to your goals. Here’s a look at some of what's on offer:

Dubai Ride and Dubai Run are back

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Participants starting to run at the Dubai 30x30 Run at Sheikh Zayed Road.  Leslie Pableo for The National

One of Dubai Fitness Challenge’s most popular events is Dubai Ride and this year it will be held on Friday, November 5, giving cyclists the chance to experience the city’s best roads on two wheels. Presented by DP World, participants can choose between a 14-kilometre general route around Sheikh Zayed Road or a 4km fun ride with family and friends around Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard. The race is free to attend but registration is essential at dubairide.com.

Dubai Run is also making a return, with runners of all ages and abilities encouraged to take to Sheikh Zayed Road on Friday, November 26. There will be a 5km route for families and a 10km for athletes, with both starting next to Emirates Towers Metro Station. The 5km route loops around DIFC, while the 10km one will take the overpass towards Downtown Dubai, with gorgeous views of Burj Khalifa and other skyscrapers.

Three DFC Fitness Villages

Kite Beach Fitness Village.

The city launches the third edition of the Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC) today with wide range of activities across the city that will be accessible to the entire Dubai community.   Here, Kites Beach is converted into a dedicated fitness village with different zones for free outdoor activities.

(Photo: Reem Mohammed/The National)


This year, DFC’s Fitness Villages, which are outdoor spaces offering an array of sports and fitness classes at each venue, will return. These villages will operate throughout the 30 days and cater to all ages and fitness levels.

The Mai Dubai Fitness Village in Mushrif Park will feature six zones to help you achieve your fitness goals, from pools to a multifunctional gym with trainers, to a Kids Zone complete with an obstacle course. It will be open daily, from Saturday to Wednesday between 4pm and 10pm, and Thursday to Friday, from 4pm to 11pm.

The DP World Fitness Village at Kite Beach will have the seaside activity centre dedicated to DFC, with a variety of free health and fitness activities daily (Sunday to Thursday, 2pm to 11pm, and Friday and Saturday, 7am to 11pm). This year, visitors can expect 15 sports zones for activities such as HIIT training, yoga, cycling and water sports. The village also features a ladies-only zone, Fun Spot Kids Zone and Etisalat main stage area for live classes and sessions. This year, anyone registered with DFC can book a session at the Padel Tennis Arena, with a court offering classes and training sessions for all levels. For yoga lovers, there’s the new Suspension Yoga zone.

Meanwhile, the Expo 2020 Dubai site will also feature a Fitness Village packed with running events, a Global Fitness Stage, football pitch, cricket nets, a gym, multisports area and more.

Expo 2020 x Dubai Fitness Challenge

Expo 2020 Dubai is set to make every athlete’s dream come true, with a variety of activities taking place and a wide expanse. Runners can lace up and train at the Expo Running Club on all 182 days of the world fair, with 30-minute classes taking place daily, for all experience levels.

Expo 2020's Dubai Fitness Village offers sports, fitness and well-being activities designed to promote physical activity, in a 5,400-square-metre space. Adjacent to Mobility Gate, the sporting facility features a gym, a five-a-side football pitch, a multipurpose court for basketball, netball, volleyball and tennis, and a stage with daily classes. A huge number of events will be hosted by participating countries at the Fitness Village throughout Expo 2020, including the arrival of the Harlem Globetrotters to launch a 3-on-3 basketball tournament every weekend of DFC.

Meanwhile a new – and once-in-a-lifetime – event coming to Dubai’s race calendar this year is the Expo 2020 Dubai Run on Friday, November 19. It will take participants around the global fair's pavilions, with the option to take 3km, 5km and 10km routes. Those looking for something more laid-back can sign up for the informal and free Run the World Family Run, taking place every Saturday morning.

DFC Fitness Hubs

DFC’s free Fitness Hubs will be located across numerous residential and commercial neighbourhoods in the city, offering you the chance to get moving with the help of certified fitness instructors. This year will have 14 hubs in total: Zabeel Ladies Club, Hatta, Uform at D3, One Central, Dubai Media City, DIFC, Dubai Police Officers' Club, DMCC, Dubai Healthcare City, Dubai Studio City, La Mer, Champs Sports & Fitness Club, Dubai Digital Park, and Dubai Sports City. Each will offer a different mix of sports and fitness sessions such as bodyweight training, cycling, HIIT and Zumba.

Dubai Padel Cup

Over the last year, padel has come into its own in the UAE. So it seems fitting that the fifth DFC will feature the inaugural Dubai Padel Cup. This new event on the DFC calendar includes three days of exhibition matches at Jumeirah Emirates Towers and will feature some of the world’s top-ranked professionals, as well as a dedicated championship for amateur players in various categories of ability. The buzz around padel will continue with citywide activations to help you improve your skills at locations across Dubai.

Free fitness events

A number of venues across Dubai will also offer free sessions to get the blood pumping – so watch out for these offers and promotions. Theatre of Digital Art will host free yoga sessions every Friday from 10am to 11am, starting this Friday, and continuing until Friday, November 26. A certified coach specialising in hatha-vinyasa yoga will take participants through a low-impact workout that’s easy on the joints.

Meanwhile, from this Friday until Saturday, November 27, Festival Plaza will be hosting free Zumba sessions in the mall, at 7.30pm daily during weekdays and 10am on weekends.

Action-packed calendar of races

Apart from Dubai Run and Dubai Ride, there’s a number of races and runs taking place during DFC that you can now sign up for. These are:

Hero Dubai Hatta (Friday, October 29)

Dubai South Run (Friday, October 29)

Halloween Run at Dubai Festival City Mall (Saturday, October 30)

Super Sports Canal Night Run (Tuesday, November 2)

The Night Run at Run The Track (Tuesday, November 9)

Dubai Design District Run (Friday, November 12)

Al Marmoom Dune Run (Friday, November 12)

Beach Run Festival (Friday, November 12)

La Mer Open Water Swim (Sunday, November 14)

Skechers Performance Run 1 (Friday, November 19)

The CBD Run on The Palm (Friday, November 26)

Updated: October 27th 2021, 11:57 AM