Abu Dhabi marathon a 'true celebration of diversity'

Elite runners and amateurs hit the streets of Abu Dhabi together on Friday as event popularity soars

Thousands of runners from across the world took part in Abu Dhabi Marathon events on Friday, with organisers hailing the event as a “true celebration of the city’s diversity”.

Overall, around 16,500 people, from elite athletes to those completing their first organised run, registered to take part in the 2.5km, 5km, 10km and wheelchair events, as well as the full marathon.

Numbers were well up on last year, when around 10,000 registered, as the event becomes an established part of the UAE’s sporting calendar.

Among the runners who completed the full marathon were participants from Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Russia, Kazakhstan and the Isle of Man, with the route taking them past landmarks such as Qasr Al Hosn and along the city’s Corniche.

“Some friends of mine took part last year and told me how much fun it was so I was determined to participate this time around,” said Marwa, a Palestinian executive assistant from Sharjah, who completed the 5km race.

“I’ve taken part in some obstacle course races in the past but this was my first road race and it was such a pleasant experience running next to the sea at the perfect time of year. For sure, I will be doing it again next year.”

More than 1,100 people completed the full marathon, according the official results, almost double the number of finishers last year.

Among them was Adel, an Emirati government worker who lives in Ras Al Khaimah and was running his first marathon. “I work in Abu Dhabi and so I often do training runs in the city,” he said. “Today, however, was very special and an honour to run a full marathon through our capital city.”

He was one of nearly 100 Emiratis who finished the marathon, along with almost 150 from the UK and almost 250 Filipinos.

Four finishers in the 42.2km race came from Hong Kong, three came from Nepal and one each came from Somalia and Macedonia.

Around 3,300 finished the 10km, with a further 3,797 completing the 5km. The totals do not include those who did not finish or did not start.

For the 5km, times ranged from 17 minutes and 21 seconds, achieved by Somali winner Mohamed Osman, to an Indian participant who finished the same course in one hour, 39 minutes and 57 seconds.

“With over 16,500 registered participants from all walks of life and with all kinds of capabilities, it has been a true celebration of the city’s excellence and diversity,” Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council said.

“Abu Dhabi has further cemented its place at the top table of sporting cities with the second successful instalment of the Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon.”

The marathon will return next year, when it is hoped that even more people will sign up.

“The results of Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon have once again exceeded expectations, both in terms of the number of runners and the amazing times achieved today,” said Andrea Trabuio, the race director.

“It was a very fast and beautiful route through Abu Dhabi’s streets and the elite runners have rewarded us with a terrific race. We are already looking forward to making the 2020 Adnoc Marathon the best yet.”

The event would assist with the economic and social development of the UAE, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, chief executive of race sponsors Adnoc, said

"The huge number of participants from global and local community in this year's marathon not only reflects the growing popularity of this event, but also reinforces the UAE’s growing reputation as a world-class sporting destination,” he said.

“We are delighted with our successful partnership with Abu Dhabi Sports Council in organising the Marathon and supporting the growth of the wider sports sector in the UAE.”

Updated: December 8, 2019 09:04 AM


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