Organisers have extended the entry deadline for the 2012 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon after a rush of late interest in the US$1million (Dh3.67m) race on January 27.
Athletes of all abilities will now have an extra two weeks to sign up for the marathon, 10km and 3km runs.
"We have enforced online registration for the first time and, while it is going very well with figures well up on previous years, there will always be those runners who get caught up in the Christmas and New Year holiday excitement and simply forget to enter," said event director Peter Marathon.
The marathon has a new route though downtown Dubai, starting opposite the Burj Khalifa. That is another reason organisers think has led to an increased number of entries, with 13,000 runners already registered..
"The Burj Khalifa is a global icon and I think many runners would love to say they have taken part in a race that takes place in the shadow of such an international symbol," said Ahmed Al Kamali, president of the UAE Athletic Federation, IAAF council member and general co-ordinator of the region's first IAAF Gold Label race.
Martin Lel, the Kenyan, is one of the favourites for the $250,000 first prize. The 33-year-old has won the London marathon three times and the New York Marathon twice.
For more information on how to enter, visit www.dubaimarathon.org.