DUBAI // Hundreds of people defied windy conditions early on Friday morning to take part and watch a triathlon that took in many city landmarks.
Dubai Challenge Triathlon, which is one of the 43 Challenge Family events that take place in 19 countries, started at Jumeirah Beach Park, kicking off with a 1.9km swim, followed by a 90km cycling contest and, finally, a 21.1km run.
Frenchman Christophe Roux, 36, said the high winds made the event more challenging as the Arabian Gulf was choppy.
“I think the weather conditions are not great but there is nothing we can do about that. It’s extremely windy, and I think the people on the bikes are going to suffer,” said Mr Roux, who was part of a three-member relay team, Eclectic.
He has participated in a number of triathlons in the UAE, US and Asia and said the Dubai Challenge helps with the emirate’s goal of promoting health and fitness.
“I know that there is high rate of diabetes here, and something like this, to which professional athletes come, can raise awareness,” he said.
Meanwhile, team-mate Mona Ramzy, 37, from Egypt, was getting ready to start her 21.1 km race.
“I’m extremely nervous and this is the first time that I’ll be running more than 15km,” she said. “I feel like I haven’t trained enough for this but I have been running for a very long time. I just hope my body doesn’t fail me, my knee or leg.”
Kuwaiti Abdallah Al Basheer, 26, said he had been training for three months but found the event was disappointing.
“The weather was very bad, and I know that is an act of God, but the organisers should have looked more into it,” said the firefighter. “It’s twice the effort and time when weather conditions are bad.”
His sister, 28-year-old Doha, was there to support him. “Our parents are back home but I wanted to be here in Dubai to support my brother,” she said. “I love sports events, which are extremely challenging, and I always try to be present and supportive when my brother takes part in competitions.”
Other supportive family members were Gena Costello and daughter Kaitlin, from the US.
“My husband, Frank, is participating in the triathlon. He’s a retired fireman from Connecticut,” she said. “We’re here to support him, and we couldn’t pass up the chance to come to Dubai, it’s just amazing.
“The weather has been rough, and I think he felt a bit discouraged about the white-capped waves, but we’re here to support him, and the important thing is that he finishes the triathlon.”
Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum honoured the winners of the event, which was organised under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai and chairman of the Dubai Sports Council.
Both teams and individuals took part.
Updated: February 27, 2015 04:00 AM