People participate on the main stage as part of Dubai Fitness Challenge opening weekend Carnival. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Dubai: Thousands of people on an adrenaline high turned out on Friday for the start of the second annual, 30-day Dubai Fitness Challenge.

The brainchild of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, the event saw the promenade of Festival City Mall come alive with an electric buzz.

The grass promenade of the mall buzzed to foot tapping music along with a plethora of fitness challenges one could choose to participate in, both indoors and on the waterfront.

From boot camps for kids and squat and sit-up challenges for the new fitness converts to high intensity training as well as high intensity workouts, yogathons, biking, sit-ups and tug-of-wars, there were plenty of action on day one of the 30-day challenge.

Young mothers with babies in prams and toddlers, women in abayas, teenagers and youth personified the spirit of the challenge and were found doing whatever they could.

Those who couldn’t take up the challenge just walked around soaking up the fun and thrill of physical fitness displays on the lawns.

Emma Jones and Nick Stephens, UK nationals, who flew in from Thailand had a taste of the action. Stephens was declared the runner up in the Squat Challenge. “I am visiting Dubai with my fiancé Nick and when we heard of the fitness event. We just had to be here. We are great fitness enthusiasts and love the fun of this event,” said Jones, who plans to stay here for the entire month and participate in as many events as possible with Stephens .

Anna Loren, Rihab Abdullah and Fatima Bagsanawale, all colleagues from Prime Hospital, decided to make the most of their weekend by taking part in the challenge. “Our hospital supports the challenge and we wanted to be part of it. We are really enjoying the challenge,” said the girls who had participles in three back to back sessions on high intensity training within two hours of opening of the challenge.

Armeen Omran, a Libyan expatriate who brought his toddler son Inran Ameen in a pram, said, “My wife and I are not able to take part because of our little boy but wherever possible we get him on his feet and teach him to move to the music. He will surely start keeping fit earlier than us.”

The fitness challenge throws a gauntlet to all and sundry in Dubai giving them an opportunity to sign up for free events the entire month and say goodbye to sedentary lifestyles and make the most of their lives following a healthy robust routine.