Dubai: Becky Hayward of the UK and Norway’s Ingrid Feliza Fuglestad topped the overall charts in the 10km and 5km, while Shamsa Salim of the UAE was fastest in the 2.5km of the opening stage of the four-stop Dubai Women’s Running Challenge, which attracted more than 300 enthusiasts to Dubai Safari Park, on a foggy Saturday morning.
In the 2.5km, Emirati Salim blitzed through the course with a time of 9:15, finishing 3:22 ahead of Oman’s Khlood Al Saadi in the overall rankings, while Analyn Fuglestad (13:18) of Norway was third.
Hayward, meanwhile, took the overall honours in the 10km run with a time of 47:28, finishing a 1:37 ahead of Helen Boland of Ireland, while Kahli Johnson of the UK was third with a time of 49:10.
In the 5km, Ingrid Feliza Fuglestad was fastest with a time of 22:38, finishing 17s ahead of Egypt’s Joud Dabous, while Louise MacGregor (24:37) of the UK came in third.
Organised in collaboration with Dubai Municipality under the slogan ‘It is good to compete in the World’s Coolest Winter’, Stage 1 one of the Challenge provided the participants with an unforgettable experience as they ran past lions, giraffes and many other exotic animals on a chilly morning.
“We are so excited to have run this race in the Dubai Safari Park,” said Elizabeth Manrique, who took part with her daughter Lucia. “I have just done the 5km and Lucia has done the 2.5km. The race is absolutely fantastic. We saw lions, we saw elephants, and we saw hyenas. We absolutely loved it.”
“I have just completed the 5km today at Dubai Safari Park,” said Vicki Matheson of Scotland, who also took part in the 5km. “It’s the first race in four. I saw the lions — I ran past them. It was cold at the start. We had to go up the hill, but we all finished. It was an amazing morning.”
The next stage of the Challenge will take place on January 23 at another unique location, the Palm Jumeirah, while Stage 3, which will be a night race starting at 9pm, will take the ladies to Dubai Garden Glow on January 28.
The Challenge will then wind up on February 6 at Al Seef, allowing participants to soak in the atmosphere in what is the cultural and historic district of Dubai.
Registration for the remaining three stages of the Dubai Women’s Running Challenge is open on the Hopasports website — www.hopasports.com