Whether you’re running or cheering, it’s set to be an amazing day out…

Whether you’re lacing up your trainers or warming up your vocal chords as part of the cheering crowd, there’s no denying the annual Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is a big deal. And this year, it takes place on Friday, January 24.

The 42km race 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. There’s US$100,000 up for grabs for the male and female winners of the marathon, with a US$200,000 bonus if a new world record is set.

It can be tricky to know what’s happening, and where so here are some FAQ’s to help you out.

Where do the races start and finish?

The marathon, which starts at 6am for elite racers and 7am for the main marathon runners, and the 10km road race (which starts at 8.15am) both start on Umm Suqeim Road, opposite the Madinat Jumeirah.

The 4km fun run (11am) will start just around the corner at Umm Suqeim Road on Al Sufouh, opposite Madinat Jumeirah.

All races will finish at the Dubai Police Academy end of Umm Suqeim Road.

Here’s a handy map:

Which roads will be closed?

Basically, the routes you can see on the map above for all three races – these roads will all be closed. The roads will be closed from around 2am until 1pm on Friday afternoon. So that means all of Al Sufouh Road (King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud Street), Jumeirah Beach Road and a lot of Umm Suqeim Road will be closed for the whole of Friday morning.

If you’re headed to Palm Jumeirah, you can take the Sheikh Zayed Road bridge, via the Dubai Pearl circle.

Where should I watch from?

The elite athletes will flash by at 20 kilometres 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.

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. 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 6.00am, so you’ll want to get there for at least 8am (maybe we’ll see the Berlin record smashed this year?).

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Where do I park my car?

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

Parking options are available in the Mall of the Emirates/Al Barsha area, with access from the Dubai Metro Bridge at Mall of the Emirates. There will be a taxi drop off point before the race, and collection point after the race, 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.

Of course, you should already have your run numbers when you arrive. These need to be picked up at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel conference centre – you can do this between 2pm and 8pm on Tuesday, 9am and 8pm on Wednesday, and 9am and 5pm on Thursday.