x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

As close as it gets for Formula One fans at Yas Run

Some of the participants preferred to imagine they were driving through the Yas Marina track in an F1 car.

People of varied backgrounds and age groups ran.
People of varied backgrounds and age groups ran.

Lewis Hunt briefly closed his eyes and for a second or two he was a Formula One driver as he raced around the Yas Marina Circuit.

Then reality kicked in again and he continued his trek along the track with hundreds of others taking part in the Adnic (Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company) Yas Run. But it is still a moment the Australian motor racing fan will treasure.

"I've been following F1 since the days of [Ayrton] Senna and [Alain] Prost," the 36 year old said.

"Completing the event under lights is as close as most people are going to get at being an F1 star."

Another to recognise the significance of running on the grand prix circuit was General Obaid Al Kubti, the Head of Abu Dhabi Police, who wore number 1971 in his shirt to mark the country's 40th National Day celebrations.

"It's a completely different experience running on the track," he said after finishing the 10km run in 58 minutes and 54 seconds.

"Imagine two weeks [ago] this is where the F1 drivers were racing - it's another feeling altogether.

"This is my fifth 10km race; I've done two or three in Dubai and the Healthy Kidney 10km in New York."

As well as the 10km run, which attracted athletes from the Abu Dhabi Striders, Mirdif Milers and members of the UAE Athletics Federation, there were children's races, with the first event of the day, a kilometre run won by 11-year-old Declan Ball in 3:54. Lucy Preston was the first girl home in 4:11.

The Yas Run is the first internationally certified 10km race in the region and the day drew praise from Faris Al Sultan, Team Abu Dhabi Triathlon's European Ironman Champion.

"It's great, the F1 track is an asset for Abu Dhabi and you have to use it - not just for F1 events," he said. "I hope to see it utilised as much as possible and see many more races taking place on it."

Richard Cregan, the Yas circuit's chief executive, said: "Yas Marina Circuit is an amazing asset to the emirate of Abu Dhabi and the Adnic Yas Run is a perfect example of our commitment to reach out to the community.

"Every great city has a great space - a venue where people can meet and enjoy themselves.

"The most important thing is to get people out here and to use Yas Marina Circuit as their second home.

"From the outset, the Adnic Yas Run was developed around families. And that showed. It was a terrific event, for all age groups and nationalities."