Training uphill is said to consume 10 times more calories than doing the same exercise on a flat surface Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI The vertical marathon, as Dubai residents have known it for 14 years, has just scaled up. As the annual vertical run up the 52 floors of Jumeirah Emirates Towers gets set for the big day on April 8, this year’s participants will, for the first time, be part of the Vertical World Circuit with the race rebranding itself.

Cedric Betis, chairman of the Dubai Holding Wellness Programme, which organises the run, told XPRESS that the company has partnered with the International Skyrunning Federation to include its vertical run in the Vertical World Circuit, even as the race has been renamed to highlight the new international association.

The big difference

As per the ranking system of the Vertical World Circuit, the all-new Dubai Holding SkyRun will be one of the eight races (see box) counted for the final ranking, where world champion titles and cash prizes are awarded. So expect top ranked Vertical World Circuit athletes to take part this year, in addition to employees of UAE corporates focused on health and wellness as well as fitness enthusiasts from the region.

But just how is a vertical run different from a regular run and what are its benefits? Betis said, “Unlike a regular run, the vertical run is an ascent to the top of a tall skyscraper tower. Training uphill consumes 10 times more calories than the same exercise on the flat. In the same given time as other forms of exercise, vertical fitness gets you fit faster and is a very effective tool in the prevention of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.” Betis said starting from when the participants sign up for the challenge of running up Jumeirah Emirates Towers, they are guided by the Dubai Holding Corporate Wellness team to eat healthy and train to boost their fitness level for at least two months up until race day. “At the end of this period, they notice an improvement in their health. Participants usually continue to look after themselves better and try to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

Betis said in addition to making a positive difference to the health of participants, funds raised in the last two races have contributed to research on obesity in the UAE by the Al Jalila Foundation.

“Through this initiative, Dubai Holding SkyRun is making an impact on the wider community as well. Al Jalila Foundation is funding a number of obesity research studies and to date has invested more than Dh780,000 to address the prevalence of obesity in the region. Through their research, they aim to identify genetic, behavioural and environmental causes of obesity to understand how obesity leads to Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other serious health problems; and to build on basic and clinical research findings to develop innovative prevention and treatment strategies,” Betis noted.

The Dubai Holding SkyRun has raised Dh615,000 for obesity research so far, he added.

Last year, over 300 people took part in the run. Registration details for this year’s event are available on www.skyrun.ae. There will be no registration on race day.


The Vertical World Circuit

2016 Vertical World Circuit kicked off in London on March 8. After its stint in Dubai on April 8, it will go to Paris, Manila, Sydney, Beijing, Shanghai finally Hong Kong on December 4, 2016. Recognised as the Vertical World Circuit’s third highest run, the Dubai Holding SkyRun is a climb of 52 floors; 1,334 steps or 265 metres to the top of Jumeirah Emirates Towers’ office building.