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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Dubai Marathon 2018: All you need to know about road closures, race routes and cheer points

With 30,000 runners and supporters expected to descend on the streets of Al Sufouh and Jumeirah, here's how to come prepared

The Ethiopian runner Tamirat Tola crosses the finish line to win the men’s marathon in Dubai in January 2017. AFP
The Ethiopian runner Tamirat Tola crosses the finish line to win the men’s marathon in Dubai in January 2017. AFP

The Middle East's largest mass participation event is back for its 19th edition, and that means an estimated 30,000 runners - and their cheer squads - descending on Dubai's coastal roads.

The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon takes place on Friday, January 26, and will welcome participants from all over the world.

As well as being touted as the world's richest race, it's also considered one of the fastest courses - being consistently flat - so the breaking of a world record isn't uncommon.

Here's all you need to know on planning your trip to the start line, where to cheer from, and crucial information (like toilet stops!) for runners.

The 4km, 10km and marathon routes.
The 4km, 10km and marathon routes.

RACE ROUTES

Marathon (42km)

Start time: 6am for wheelchair and elite athletes, 7am for the masses

Due to a last-minute route change, the full marathon will no longer go all the way along Jumeirah Beach Road.

The 42km route will start on Umm Suqeim Road, opposite Madinat Jumeirah. It will then head left along King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud St, past the entrance to Dubai Media City, before turning around at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi. Runners will then run back past their start point, onto Jumeirah Beach Road, all the way to the Dubai Canal - before turning around and running back to the madinat, and heading back towards the canal to complete that lap one more time.

It's then on to the home straight; the runners will turn left at the Madinat Jumeirah junction and head for the finish line in front of the Dubai Police Academy.

10km

Start time: 9am

The 10km route starts in the same place, on Umm Suqeim Road, and turns left to head for the One and Only Royal Mirage. There, runners will turn around and head back to the finish line, in front of Dubai Police Academy.

4km

Start time: 11am

The start line for the shortest course is on King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud St, opposite Madinat Jumeirah, and will turn around just before Al Sufouh Park, before heading back to the Dubai Police Academy to finish.

ROAD CLOSURES

There are a number of closures in and around the Umm Suqeim, Al Sufouh and Jumeirah area - with closures in place from midnight on Thursday, until 1pm on Friday afternoon.

For a full list of road closures and their timings, check out our story here.

PARKING

Marathon organisers have advised people not to attempt to park on Jumeirah Beach Road, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud St, Madinat Jumeirah or near the Police Academy area.

Instead, participants and supporters are advised to park along Al Wasl Road, and around its intersections, or at Mall of the Emirates or around the Al Barsha area, where you can then cross the Mall of the Emirates Dubai Metro bridge to get to the start line.

Thousands of runners take part in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon. Antonie Robertson / The National
Thousands of runners take part in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon. Antonie Robertson / The National

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

There will be a taxi drop-off point before the race and a collection point after the race on Al Wasl Road. Organisers recommend booking a taxi in advance, and arriving at least 90 minutes before the start.

Extra taxis will be available throughout the morning and afternoon.

CHEER POINTS

There are several things you need to take into account when deciding where you want to yell encouragements from. Do you want a place devoid of other supporters? Do you want a seat and a good view? Do you want a landmark in the background for great pictures? Do you just want to park up near the start/ finish line to stick with the most exciting parts of the race?

Or do you want to try for all of the above and make it back in time to see your runner cross the finish line?

If you're in it for a place on your own - the far end of Jumeirah Beach Road will be probably be where your cheer will be heard the loudest, and where the crowds watching will thin out, as it's further from the start and finish lines.

For seats and an elevating viewing platform, head straight for the grandstands near the end of the route.

If it's photos you're looking for, try get a spot opposite the Burj Al Arab on Jumeirah Beach Road, or on the beach side of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud St, with the skyscrapers of Media City in the background.

Ethiopian runners Worknesh Degefa, right, and Tamirat Tola, left, celebrate after winning the Dubai marathon in 2017 with middle-distance legend Kenenisa Bekele. AFP
Ethiopian runners Worknesh Degefa, right, and Tamirat Tola, left, celebrate after winning the Dubai marathon in 2017 with middle-distance legend Kenenisa Bekele. AFP

But if you're in it for the atmosphere - you should stick near to the finish line, which is usually jam-packed with cheering Ethiopian fans, and is basically a giant, ecstatic party.

However, Adidas, a major sponsor of the Dubai Marathon, will have its own cheer points as well. These will be:

  • Close to the open beach, Hessa street and Dubai College: big screens, music, and 200 cheerleaders.
  • The turn around at Al Mehemal Street, just after Sunset Mall: this is a big point in the race for marathon runners, as with the new route they will take this u-turn twice. Expect another cheer squad with music.
  • The home straight: The last corner, near the Madinat Jumeirah, before runners face the finish line.

FOR THE RUNNERS

Race pack pick-up: From the Jumeirah Beach Hotel either on Tuesday 23 (2pm to 8pm), Wednesday 24 (9am to 8pm) and Thursday 25 (9am to 5pm).

Race day temperature: is expected to be about 10 to 15 degrees Celsius at 7am.

Race timing: Your "MikaTag" electronic timing chip will be attached to your race bib, so ensure that it stays there.

Baggage facilities: There will be places to leave your belongings, but only at near the start and finish lines. You must use the baggage bag you receive when you collect your race pack, and ensure the sticker with your run number on it, also in your race pack, is stuck on its exterior.

Water stations

  • Marathon – Water stations will be provided every 2.5km from 5km to 40km, and at the finish.
  • 10km Road Race – Water stations will be provided at the 5km point and at the finish.
  • 4km Fun Run – Water will be provided at the finish.

Drink Stations – Isotonic

Marathon – Isotonic drinks will be available at 10km, 15km, 20km, 25km, 30km, 35km and at the finish.

Sponges

Sponges will be provided after the following stations on the marathon route: 5km,10km,15km, 20km, 25km, 30km, 35km and 40km.

Toilets

Toilets will be provided after the following stations on the marathon route: 5km, 10km, 15km, 20km, 25km, 30km, 35km, 40km and at the finish.

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Read more:

Road closures for the Dubai Marathon 2018

Countdown to the Dubai Marathon 2018: What to do with just one week to go

Why sleep is a crucial part of training

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