January 23, 2018
Dubai (UAE): The elite athletes competing in this week’s Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon may have record-breaking ambitions following some slight changes to the route for the 19th staging of the Middle East’s biggest mass participation event on Friday (January 26).
Last year’s men’s champion Tamirat Tola set a new course record of 2h:04m:11s before admitting he should have brought the record below the 2:04 mark. This year he has another chance to do just that over a course that features two loops of the famous Jumeirah Beach Road.
Starting at 6am, the elite runners will take to the course one hour ahead of the masses with the start of the mass Marathon returning to its traditional start time – all but one of the previous 18 editions of the race have started at 7am.
Following the start on the Umm Suqeim Road at the Madinat Jumeirah end, the athletes will turn left onto the left hand side of the carriageway heading up Al Sufouh before making a U-turn at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi traffic lights.
From there Tola, defending women’s champion Worknesh Degefa and the rest of the world-class field will head back towards Madinat Jumeirah and on to the Jumeirah Beach Road for the first of two loops that will see them head up the Beach Road on the left carriageway before making a U-turn at Al Mehemal junction just before the bridge over the Creek. Once the runners reach the Madinat Jumeirah junction, they will run the same Beach Road section for a second time before turning left at the Madinat Jumeirah junction and running the final 500m along Umm Suqeim Road to the finish line just before the Dubai Police Academy.
“The route gives the elites a fast and flat route that helps them towards their goals of personal bests and course records,” said Event Director Peter Connerton. “The double loop also means the runners will not be stretched all the way down the Beach Road, which will appeal to those spectators who want to come out in the early morning and see the best long-distance runners in the world.”
As for any other major city in the world staging a marathon brings the inevitable road closures to allow it to be staged. During the early hours of Friday, the Jumeirah and Al Sufouh areas will see a number of road closures. Umm Suqeim Street will be closed in both directions from Al Wasl Road (Dubai Police Academy) to the Madinat Jumeirah traffic signals on Jumeirah Beach Road – this will close at midnight and remain closed until approximately 4.00pm on Friday afternoon.
The Jumeirah Beach Road and King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street will be closed from Al Mehemal Street on Jumeirah Beach Road to the Al Naseem street signals next to the Westin Hotel. These roads will begin to close from around 1:30am and will be fully closed to all traffic from 5:30am. Al Wasl Road will also be closed between Al Thanya Road and Umm Suqeim Street, but remain open in the opposite direction away from Umm Suqeim Street – the area is expected to reopen by 2pm.
The 10km race will start at 9:00am and the 4km run at 11:00am – both of these races use King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street and finish on Umm Suqeim Street as the marathon is ongoing. With the excellent support of Dubai Police and the RTA, the organisers will aim to open Jumeirah Beach Road and King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street by 1pm and Umm Suqeim Street by approximately 4pm.
During the road closures, The Palm Jumeirah can be accessed via Dubai Pearl Circle from Sheikh Zayed Road. Dubai residents are asked that they please respect the road closures, plan journeys accordingly and use an alternative route to avoid the closed roads during this time.
The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and under the egis of the Dubai Sports Council. In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Dubai Eye 103.8FM, Masafi Natural Water, Dubai Holding, Dubai Police and the RTA.