February marks the start of prime running season and here are seven options to choose from, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned ultra-runner!
1. M1 Run
Distance: 33 floors
Even the most seasoned runners can find sprinting up and down staircases more of a challenge than their usual terrain, and this annual run is a great way to test your stamina for steeper altitudes. The vertical run can be raced individually or in relay teams, where you’ll start at the entrance of Media One hotel, run up the steep ramps of the car park, before entering the building, and racing up 33 flights of stairs. Phew.
Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City, 9am, February 16, Dhs103.95, Tel (04) 427 1000. mediaonehotel.com
Distance: 30K, 50K or 100K
One for serious runners, this new multi-terrain ultra-trail is the only single-stage 50K and 100K trail run in the UAE. It will take you through mountain ravines, past boulders, and over the sand dunes of Ras al Khaimah. There are three distance options available: 30K (with a cut-off time of 5.5 hours), 50K (with a 12-hour cut-off ), and 100K (with a 24-hour cut-off limit). Participants can spare their tired legs a hurried drive home afterwards by taking advantage of the Khatt Springs Golden Tulip Hotel’s discount for the first 25 participants to book a room.
Golden Tulip Khatt Springs, Ras Al Khaimah, February 15, Dhs630 (30K and 50K options), Dhs890 (100K). urbanultra.com
3. RAK Half Marathon
This popular half marathon is also world record-breaking as the fastest half marathon in the world. It starts and finishes opposite the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel at Al Marjan Island with a strict limit of 5,000 entries. The best part? The race culminates in a huge pasta party.
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah, 6.45am, February 8, Dhs367.50 per person. rakmarathon.org
4. Dubai Desert Road Run
Distance: 3K, 5K or 10K
This popular running series takes place several times throughout the season and takes place along private, traffic-free roads beginning at The Sevens Stadium. There are prizes and trophies available for the top three racers, and medals and certificates for all competitors.
Sevens Stadium, Dubai Al Ain Road, from 7.30am,February 22, Dhs105 (3km), Dhs126 (5km), Dhs147 (10km). runsqueak.com
5. Dubai Canal Run
Distance: 1K, 5K or 10K
The running route along the Dubai Canal has arguably one of the best views in the city. There’s a 1km, 5km, and a 10km option, and the race starts at 6.30am.
Dubai Canal, from 6.30am, February 15, Dhs50 (1km), Dhs150 (5km), Dhs195 (10km). raceme.ae/event/dubai-canal-run
6. Spartan Race Middle East and Africa Championship
Distance: 5K, 13K or 20K
One of the most exciting, challenging, and mud-drenched obstacle courses on the planet moves to a new location: Mleiha.
Mleiha historical site, February 15, Sharjah, from Dhs338. spartanarabia.com
7. Muhaisnah Road Run
Distance: 3K, 5K and 10K
Probably one of the more greener running routes, the Muhaisnah Road Run is a traffic-free, fully-supervised race. The 10km option has the added incentive of prizes, trophies, and medals up for grabs for the winners in each age category.
Muhaisnah 2, Dubai, 7am, February 15, Dhs150 (3K and 5K options), Dhs126 (10K). Tel: (054) 56 6283. email@example.com
An alternative race to try: Triyas
Fancy tackling a little more than just a run- around? TriYas features a swim through Yas Marina, a cycle on the track at Yas Marina Circuit and a run. The Sprint category features a 750m swim, a 22km cycle and a 5.5km run, while the Olympics category features a 1,500m swim, a 38km ride, and a 10km run.
Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island, 4pm, February 15, Dhs294. premieronline.com