DUBAI // The deadline for entries to the 2009 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has been extended by two weeks after the lengthy holidays over National Day and Eid al Adha, the organisers said yesterday. The deadline for the marathon, to be run on Jan 16, has been put back to Dec 31. A 10km and 3km race will be run simultaneously.
"We are already looking at record numbers for the event but we feel that extending the date to the end of the year will help those who have been away as well as those athletes who are still undecided," said Peter Connerton, the event director. Around 1,000 people have registered for the marathon, while another 2,500 have entered the 10km race and 2,000 have said they will run three kilometres. Organisers said they still expected several thousand people to enter the shorter races but only a few hundred more were likely to sign up for the marathon.
The favourite for the marathon is the Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie, who won in 2008 and stands to win a US$1 million (Dh3.6m) bonus from Dubai Holding if he breaks his world record of two hours, three minutes and 59 seconds. His presence has been a big draw for competitors from around the world, with up to half the 2008 entrants flying in from overseas. "It's the equivalent of being able to say you played golf with Tiger Woods or tennis with Roger Federer," Mr Connerton said. "To have run in the same race as Haile Gebrselassie is something you never forget."
To register, go to www.dubaimarathon.org, or visit any branch of Fitness First in Dubai. email@example.com