Dubai set to host first mass-running event since start of pandemic

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The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) will be buzzing with activity this Friday as more than 400 runners from over 40 countries take part in the 2020 Mai Dubai City Half Marathon.

It will be the first mass-running event to be staged in Dubai and the UAE since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Being organised under the auspices of Dubai Sports Council and supported by Dubai Police and the Roads and Transport Authority, this year’s event will include three different categories – 5km, 10km and 21km – with all three categories starting and finishing in front of the Gate Building in DIFC.

The new and improved route for this year’s run will take participants on a 5km loop through the heart of DIFC, providing runners with breathtaking views of the Burj Khalifa and Emirates Towers, and the glittering Museum of the Future.

The event will also feature a range of innovative measures to ensure the safety of all participants. The organisers have called in experts from the United Kingdom to draft the precautionary and safety protocols for the race.

The inaugural event in 2019 attracted more than 2,500 participants, but given the circumstances, the organisers decided to limit entries for this year’s run to ensure participants enjoy the run in a safe manner.

Steven Matthijs of Promoseven Sports Marketing, the organisers of the race, said: "The safety of runners, staff and contractors is our top priority and we are working closely with relevant partners and government bodies, including the Dubai Sports Council and Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, as well as taking best practice from similar events held around the world to ensure that all necessary procedures are in place."

Some of the measures, which will be introduced to ensure the wellbeing of participants, are: drive-through race pack collection to reduce participants touch-points; contactless temperature checks for participants before and after the race; automatic no-touch sanitisation and water distribution on the course; enhanced sterilization and cleaning regimes in key areas; and staggered race start times to ensure safe management of runners.

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