FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STANDARD CHARTERED DUBAI MARATHON STAGE SET FOR RICHEST RACE IN HISTORY
- Largest Ever Field for Gulf Race; Haile Gunning for World Record -
Dubai, (UAE): Nine months after Dubai stunned the athletics world by
launching the richest running race of all time, the 2008 Standard Chartered
Dubai Marathon finally takes to the streets of the emirate on Friday
(January 18) with the biggest line-up in Middle East running history.
Over 11,000 runners from 92 nations will come together for a three-race
card that will see the classic marathon distance of 42.2km get underway at
7am, the 10km Road Race start at 10.30am and the 4km Fun Run round off the
day at 11.30am.
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice
President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and staged
under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the multi-national event will
be the richest marathon of all time with $1 million in prize money and a
bonus $1 million on offer to any male or female athlete who breaks the
current world record, courtesy of Dubai Holding.
There will also be prizes for the 10km races and the leading UAE nationals
and pushchair entrants, while Al Futtaim Motors will provide a new Toyota
Corolla 1.8L GLi to the winner of a raffle draw open to all participants
registered to participate in the Dubai Marathon.
Ethiopian double Olympic champion and the current marathon world record
holder, Haile Gebrselassie will head a men's field featuring a host of
elite distance runners. Among those likely to push the 'Emperor' all the
way is Kenyan Sammy Korir – the third fastest man in history – while a pack
of talented pace makers such as world half marathon champion Fabiano Joseph
will aim to ensure the pack stay on record schedule.
Last year's race winners Willy Rotich and Askale Magarsa return to defend
their titles with Dubai record holder Askale facing a tougher challenge
than in 2007. The little Ethiopian will need to be at her very best to
retain her title with big guns Lornah Kiplagat and Berhane Adere the
favourites on the biggest pay day in women's distance running.
"This year marks Standard Chartered's 50th anniversary in the UAE and what
better way to start our Golden Jubilee celebrations than with our fourth
successive year of sponsoring the Dubai Marathon – now the richest marathon
in the world," said Simon Jaquiss, Head of Global Markets, Standard
Chartered UAE and Oman.
"Standard Chartered's global community initiative to tackle avoidable
blindness, - 'Seeing is Believing' - will again be the beneficiary of the
4km charity run. The global initiative aims to make a difference to ten
million people in twenty countries by 2010 and with all proceeds from the
4km run going to this cause, we hope to make a significant contribution
towards helping to eradicate avoidable blindness globally."
All three races will get underway from a new start line on the road outside
Zabeel Park Gate Six. The finish line is situated on the same road and will
be flanked by spectator grandstands as well as an entertainment village
where runners and their families can enjoy music, entertainment and
"Of course we are delighted to have Haile Gebrselassie competing for the
first time in Dubai," said Event Co-ordinator Peter Connerton, "but the
amateur and part-time runners are equally important to us. A great deal of
attention will be on the marathon and a possible world record but we want
all runners to enjoy the day no matter which distance they are running."
To help assist traffic on the day, 200 taxi cabs will operate from the car
park opposite the main grandstand. Dubai RTA and the Police and Emergency
Services will also be on hand to ensure that the day's event run smoothly
over roads and highways temporarily closed down for the second time in a
"We can't say enough about the assistance we receive from Dubai RTA, the
Police & Emergency Services," said Event General Co-ordinator Ahmad Al
Kamali. "It's a big task but their assistance is key to the success of an
event that is bigger than it has ever been. We thank them for all their
help and look forward to a great race – and possibly a new world record."
In addition to title sponsors Standard Chartered, other sponsors of the
Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon 2008 are Dubai Holding, Toyota, Puma,
Aquafina, Gatorade, TNT Express, Raffles Dubai, Coast FM, Fitness First,
Right Bite, Dubai Sports Channel and Dubai Sports Council.