Peter Connerton, Dubai Marathon event director.
Peter Connerton, Dubai Marathon event director. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Peter Connerton, the Event Director of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, is delighted that the iconic race has always thrown up surprises.

Speaking to Gulf News on the eve of the 21st edition of the event, Connerton said: “We always had surprises here every year. Last year we had debutants creating sensation. We saw course records being erased. We have been breaking these records with consistency and this is why athletes keep coming here and we are able to get good results consistently.”

Talking about the growth of the Dubai Marathon over the last 21 years, Connerton said: “It’s good we have progressed well over the years. Look at the record books and I feel Dubai Marathon has shown the way. That is why everyone wants to come here, Ethiopians more than any. The runners feel that there is magic in the streets of Jumeirah. There is such a huge demand to come here, which is great. It is a good reflection of the city because we provide first-class facilities, not just the route, but we always hosted the athletes in five star hotels and treated all athletes very well. Even the great Haile Gebrselassie, when he came here, loved the facilities. He is like the Ronaldo of Athletics. We feel running is the perfect way to promote a city.”

Connerton is delighted that the course did not undergo any change this year. “The route is exactly the same like last year. The whole of Jumeirah is a fantastic place. The weather has always been good here. It is always 14-15C at the start though it gets warmer later on. The conditions here have always been good.”

When asked how the 21-year journey for the event has been, Connerton said: “In 2000, when we started this event we just had a few dedicated runners. The field has grown into the largest mass-participation event in the Middle East with nearly 30,000 taking part and 150 nationalities coming together to compete.”

Today, the Dubai Marathon is held under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council. “The support of RTA, Dubai Police and Dubai Municipality and the medical support teams has been vital,” Connerton said. “Our thanks to all the government bodies who have come together to provide the framework for this event. Without their assistance and invaluable support, a race of this scales on the streets of the city would not have been possible. We are sure that Dubai Marathon will continue to produce high quality race.”