It’s one of the most important races on the UAE’s sporting calendar: Dubai Marathon is back this weekend, here’s what you need to know…

Whether you’re lacing up your trainers or just planning to join the cheering crowd, there’s no denying the annual Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is a big deal.

The 42km race (which starts at 6.30am) is long and arduous, but the flat route, which runs the length of Beach Road and back, makes it one of the fastest marathons in the world. So expect to see some elite runners trying to break records.



Both the main marathon (6.30am) and the 10km (9am) starts on Umm Suqeim Road right opposite the Madinat Jumeirah.

Meanwhile, the 4km fun run will start on Al Wasl Road (near the Al Jalila Foundation).

All of the races will finish on Umm Suqeim Road right outside the Dubai Police Academy.

Here are some handy maps:

This is the route for the marathon, which is 42.195km to be exact…


Here’s the 10km run’s route..


And the 4km fun run: four-km-run


Basically, the routes you can see on the maps above for all three races – these roads will all be closed. The roads will be closed from around midnight on Thursday night/Friday morning until 1pm on Friday afternoon. So that means all of Beach Road and a lot of Umm Suqeim Road will be closed for the entirety of Friday morning.



As the organisers point out, the elite athletes will flash by at 20 km per hour, so as long as you’re there early enough, pretty much any location along the route will give you an idea of how fast they run.

But for the best pictures, try opposite the Burj Al Arab. The best atmosphere is undoubtedly at the finishing line, which every year is packed with cheering Ethiopian fans – their enthusiasm, is in our opinion, the best thing about the whole day. Besides, there are grandstands at the finishing line so it’s an easy place to sit.

What time do you have to be there by? Well, the marathon world record time is 2 hours and 2 minutes, and the marathon starts at 6.30am, so you’ll want to get there for at least 8.30am (maybe we’ll see the Berlin record smashed?!).


Here’s a guide to where the grandstands etc will be, and the recommended areas to walk from.


Basically don’t even try to park on Jumeirah Beach Road, Al Sufouh Road, the Madinat Jumeirah or the Police Academy area.

Parking options are in the Mall of the Emirates/Al Barsha Area or further along Al Wasl Road. There will be a taxi drop off and pick up point on Al Wasl Road.

Plan to arrive at least 90 minutes before the start of your race if you’re running, so you can drop off your bag, and have time to figure out where your start point is etc (besides, there’s coffee and the like on offer if you fancy a caffeine kick).

Of course, you should already have your race pack when you arrive, and they need to be picked up at the Meydan Hotel (you can do that from 10am to 7pm on Wednesday, 10am to 5pm on Thursday).


If you’re running, good luck (and good on you!) and if you’re cheering, shout loud, as your encouragement will be of great help…

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