Yesterday, I ran the Standard Chartered Dubai 10km race, along with approximately 20,000 other runners (ok, I think that number includes the marathon runners).
It was a bit of a mess; this is not a happy review 😦
This is the third Standard Chartered race that I have entered, and I really enjoyed the other 2. This one… well, I can’t quite put my finger on what went wrong, but it just was not overly enjoyable. Yes, I managed to do the run in under an hour (57:23; official time), but the overall race was a let-down.
The gun went off at 7am for the marathon runners and they then started ushering the 10km runners to the start line, through a tiny gate so that they could check that only runners were making their way to the start line. Fair enough. There was no second gun at 7:15 for the 10km runners; people just started flowing towards the start line, and across it.
Not long into the race (less than 2km’s) I saw people crossing over the island in the road instead of running the full distance around to the turn-around point; now this is not necessarily a fault of the organisers as the runners are only cheating themselves, but I do think that maybe the organisers could have done something to stop that happening… such as timing mats at the turn-around points, or find a temporary way to block the island so that people cannot run across it.
The water stations were not well sign-posted and this meant that runners missed it and then came flying across the road in order to get water when they realised they’d just passed the station.
It felt extremely congested almost all the time, especially when they bottle-necked the road and caused runners to go from being able to run on both sides of the road to only running on one, and therefore squish us all into a small area, causing people to have to dodge slower runners (or walkers) in order to keep at your own pace.
At 2 hours, they STOPPED the 10km runners from running so that the elite marathon runners could cross the finish line. Before I continue, let me say this: I 100% support the elite athletes and totally agree that they rule the road and they should have it all to themselves. What I do not agree with is that the organisers did not think far enough ahead to have a separate finish line for the elite athletes to cross when a large part of the 10km runners will be coming through, probably very tired after 2 hours of trying their hardest to run/walk the 10kms… only to be stopped 500m from the finish line so that the elites can come through. WRONG.
And then they ran out of medals!!!!!! You pay US$60 to enter the race, are all issued an individual number (therefore the organisers should know exactly how many have entered… surely?) and then don’t get a medal at the end. WTF? The only thing I want at the end of any race is my medal.
But let me end on a good note… what I did enjoy about the race: I loved the new route! I also then enjoyed when we ran through a tunnel between 6 and 7km’s and runners in the tunnel started cheering with “whoops” – it created an amazing atmosphere and really helped push you along. There were also a decent number of spectators on the roads, clapping and cheering the runners along… something I personally get a big high from when I’m running. And of course, seeing the elites cross the finish line is always a winner!
The winner of the 2014 Dubai Marathon was Tsegaye Mekonnen Asefa, in a time of 2:04:32… just under a minute shy of the world record of 2:03:23.
The ladies winner was Mula Seboka Seyfu, 2:25:01.
The Ethiopians took charge at this years race, with the top 5 men and top 9 women being Ethiopian.
Well done to all those who took part in the 10km and the marathon; even though it was a mess this year, I’m pretty sure I’ll be at the start line next year 🙂
Next race to ready myself for is the RAK half marathon; 3 weeks away!