Dubai: Swedish athlete Hanna Lindholm eyes a place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when she competes in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on January 24, thanks to an invitation from the event organisers in the UAE.

The experienced Swede is no stranger to the roads of Dubai, having been here in 2018 as a private entry when she smashed her personal best by four minutes and qualified for the European Championships in Berlin.

This time, the 40-year-old from Stockholm is focused on making the 2:28:00 mark that would seal qualification for the world’s biggest athletics event in Japan. “I really like the straight and fast course in Dubai and wanted to run a marathon as early as possible in 2020,” said Lindholm, who has improved her Marathon personal best by almost 15 minutes in five years and combines athletics with a career as a Quality Assurance Manager in a pharmaceutical company.

“My hope is to qualify for the Olympics and while my personal record is 2:29:34, the Swedish Olympic Qualifying Time I need to beat is 2:28:00. I was really happy to receive the invitation since I decided very late that I wanted to run in Dubai and I know the elite field there has the fastest runners in the world. Now that I know I am in the field, I will train for a couple of weeks in Florida before the event as the weather conditions in Sweden are not so good at this time of year.”

“I ran Sweden’s second fastest marathon time ever when I ran in Valencia in 2018 (2:30:37) and then improved it by more than a minute in Hamburg in April 2019. The whole last year has been amazing because I feel I have reached a new level and beaten my records at every distance.”

Lindholm’s reward for an outstanding season is an invite to compete at the Middle East’s first and only IAAF Gold Label Marathon.

“Hanna took part in the 2018 Marathon in Dubai as a private entry and has been consistently improving her performances over the distance as well as being a gold medallist in the Swedish Championships at 10km,” said Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon Race Director Peter Connerton. “We are delighted to extend an invitation to Hanna to compete in Dubai at the end of January and wish her every success in her efforts to qualify for the Olympics in Japan.

As well as the marathon, runners looking to take part in the associated 10km Road Race or the 4km Fun Run can register online only at

UAE nationals are being encouraged to take part in the event thanks to the ‘#My City_My Race’ campaign, an initiative launched by Dubai Holding.