Mai Dubai City Half Marathon, scheduled on Friday, assumes significance as it will be the first mass-running event in the emirate since the COVID-19 pandemic. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Dubai: More than 400 runners from over 40 countries are scheduled to participate in Friday’s 2020 Mai Dubai City Half Marathon, the first mass-running event to be staged in Dubai and the UAE since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Being organised under the auspices of Dubai Sports Council (DSC) with support from Dubai Police and RTA, this year’s event will be held at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and will see participants contest in three different categories – 5km, 10km and 21km – with all three categories starting and finishing in front of DIFC’s Gate Building.

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 views of sights as the iconic Burj Khalifa and Emirates Towers, and the Museum of the Future.

This year’s Mai Dubai City Half Marathon will also feature a range of innovative measures to ensure the safety of all participants. The organisers have called in experts from the UK to draft the precautionary and safety protocols for the race.

The inaugural event in 2019 saw more than 2,500 participants take part in Mai Dubai City Half Marathon, but given the circumstances, the organisers decided to limit entries for this year’s run to ensure participants enjoy the event 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.

“We are confident that the 2020 Mai Dubai City Half Marathon will be fun and challenging for all runners while adhering to all social distancing parameters.”

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

Matthijs added: “It’s been a challenging year for many us and we’re so excited to be staging this much-loved running event for our community. Staying active is vital for our physical and mental well-being and we hope that people of all levels of fitness and running experience will join us for what promises to be a fun and energetic morning.”