Add laughter to your long-distance race by crawling through mud, coating yourself in neon, racing up stairs – and ice – or leaping over wobbly inflatables

1. Dubai Gladiators


Dubai Gladiators: Are. You. Ready? Contestants of all ages can compete, either as corporate teams (Thursday), individuals (Friday) or regular teams (Saturday). The tournament includes archery, Gladiators-style podium jousting and an obstacle course, and it all takes place in the air-conditioned hall of Dubai Sports City’s The Dome. To really get into the spirit of things, fancy dress costumes are encouraged.

September 17 to 19
Dubai Sports City, The Dome (near Dubai Sports City Football Academy), Dubai. From Dhs250. Tel: (04) 4481650. Taxi: Dubai Sports City Football Academy.

2. Ice Warrior Challenge

Ice Warrior Challenge

Get ready for the toughest commando assault course on snow. Individuals and teams race across monkey bars, cargo nets and 13 other obstacle courses all while in the sub-zero temperatures of Ski Dubai. One thing’s for sure: it’s far easier skiing down a black run than it is having to run up it.

October 2
Ski Dubai, Mall Of The Emirates, Dubai, 8am, Dhs250 Tel: (04) 4099257. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates.

3. Hilton Tower Race

Hilton race

This ‘vertical’ run sees 120 runners take to the stairs in a race to the top of Hilton Dubai The Walk. That’s 36 floors or 730 steps of foot-stomping madness, but all for a good cause. This year, money raised goes to Emirates Red Crescent to help Syrian refugees.

October 3
Hilton Dubai The Walk, Sat 7.30am, Dhs150. Taxi: JBR The Walk.

4. Desert Warrior Challenge

Desert Warrior Challenge - endurance races in UAE

The Warped Wall. The Monster. The Brain Freeze. Not exactly phrases that conjure up a relaxing weekend. These are the names of just a few of the obstacles that you can expect to encounter at this year’s Desert Warrior Challenge. Choose from the 5K course (Fearless Warrior), 10K course (Desert Warrior) and 10K timed course (Ultimate Warrior).

October 23
Dubai Police Training Facility, Al Rawia, Dubai. From Dhs350. Taxi: Dubai Police Training Facility.

5. Contagion Run

Contagion Run in Dubai

The popularity of zombie runs just won’t seem to die down (much like the zombies themselves) and the Contagion Run is no exception. Back for its second year, runners register either to be a survivor or a zombie on this 5K run. The latter have to try and steal the ‘lives’ of the living by grabbing the three flags attached to their belts. This year, the organisers have also added a Zombie Fun Run, so kids aged six and older can register as part of a team with at least one adult to supervise.

October 30
Nad al Sheba cycling track, Dubai, 4pm, Dhs300 (for survivors), Dhs50 (for zombies). Tel: (050) 7185104. Taxi: Meydan.

6. Wadi Adventure Race

Wadi Adventure Race - endurance races in UAE

Widely considered one of the toughest races in the region, completing this obstacle course at Wadi Adventure in Al Ain will earn you some serious bragging rights. It’s a 5km course packed with 25 obstacles to swim, crawl, climb or sprint your way through, and participants choose from a 5K, 10K or 15K option. Every Saturday morning this month, Wadi Adventure will be hosting free fitness training camps at the site of the race – a great way to prepare and familiarise yourself with the course.

October 31
Wadi Adventure, Al Ain, Dhs275 (5km), Dhs300 (10km), Dh325 (15mk). Tel: (03) 7818422.

7. Spartan Race

Spartan Race - endurance races in UAE

Get ready to climb mud mountains and jump over flaming coals, all in the name of the Spartan Race as it returns to the Jebel Ali Racecourse in November. This time, there are two different levels of challenges: Spartan Sprint, a 5k run with 15 obstacles and Spartan Super, a 13k run with 21 obstacles.

November 6
Jebel Ali Racecourse, The Greens, Dubai,

8. Electric Run

Electric Run Dubai - first details

In total, 15 countries have hosted this special night-time event, including the likes of London, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Singapore and Sydnwy, and finally, the Electric Run comes to Dubai. Beyond a simple pavement pounding, the event sees the course split into seven ‘lands’, including Rainforest, Rainbow Road, Electric Avenue and Under The Sea, each heavily stylised and artistic. Runners can expect to see giant installations, street art and plenty of neon lighting. Look out for Dame Kelly Holmes who’ll be running at the event.

November 6
Meydan, Dubai, Dhs165. Taxi: Meydan Racecourse.

9. Colour Run

The Colour Run Dubai - race and after-party pictures

Run, walk or skip through the family-friendly course while volunteers throw clouds of powder paint on you at five multi-coloured paint stations. The race culminates in an outdoor paint rave and everyone ends up looking like a nursery school painting.

November 21
Dubai Autodrome, Motor City, Dubai, Dhs160. Taxi: Dubai Autodrome.