Sport | Athletics

Dubai course may see a world record anytime

Slight changes to course from last year as organisers expect new mark

  • By K.R. Nayar Chief Cricket Writer
  • Published: 20:56 January 23, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
  • Andy Ross and Ian Lee

Dubai

Andy Ross and Ian Lee are two of the key backroom boys behind the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon. They have been working hard to ensure that marathon runners can race comfortably without the slightest of obstruction and focus on good timings.

Ross, the traffic management co-ordinator of the course, has worked as a consultant for nearly 70 running events in UK with Lee as his assistant.

Speaking to Gulf News, Ross said: “The Dubai marathon course is very good one. It is probably the best course we’ve had in the last 10 years. It is unique and extremely fast but challenging as well in terms of the turns.

“It also provides a mental challenge because runners can clearly see the distance they have to run as it is a long straight course.”

Expecting a new mark from the course, Ross said: “The course has the potential to deliver a new world record. It has come close in three occasions in the past. I expect at some point in future, Dubai will hold the world marathon record.”

Answering to a query from Gulf News on whether there are any changes to the course from last year, Peter Connerton, the event director said: “The course is almost the same as last year. There is a slight 48-metre difference at the start from last year. There is turning point at Dubai Ports, which has been taken back. Then there is also a slight change when you go round the corner just after the Novotel Hotel.”|

Connerton is expecting the marathon to create new marks like last year. “Last year was a fantastic year for our marathon. Lots of records were broken. For the first time in the history of our marathon, men ran under 2:05 and first time three women were running under 2:19.

“For us, it is not about chasing world record but pushing the limits and try and get more and more athletes running faster times here. This is what our marathon is all about.”

The official also revealed that since 2008, the Dubai Marathon stopped giving appearance money to top runners, but the turnout for the event has increased tremendously.

“We now entice athletes to come and run here for the right reason and not for the appearance money. We decided we will have no appearance money and all the money have been put into our prize money. The impact of this change, which we brought about in 2008, has resulted in the registration numbers being doubled and interest for the event increasing dramatically.”

Gulf News
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