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The Dubai Run 2023 alone saw the participation of 226,000 people. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: After an epic month of health and fitness, the seventh edition of Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC) has concluded, recording a staggering 2,406,181 participants across its action-packed 30-day calendar of sporting events and activities.

Breaking records once again, the city-wide initiative by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, brought friends, families, visitors, colleagues, and neighbourhoods together to kick start healthier habits and embrace an active lifestyle. Smashing 2022 numbers (2,212,246 participants), this year’s DFC drew people from all ages and sporting abilities, creating an inclusive atmosphere of health and wellness across Dubai and leaving a lasting impact on everyone who committed to the challenge - 30 minutes of daily exercise for 30 days.

Running from October 28 to November 26, DFC featured three fitness villages – the returning and much-loved DP World Kite Beach Fitness Village, and brand-new RTA Mushrif Park Cycle Centre and Run and Ride Central. Serving as central hubs for fitness enthusiasts to gather and explore a multitude of activities, these villages welcomed close to 400,000 visitors throughout the Challenge, who experienced a diverse range of fitness offerings and enjoyed a sense of camaraderie with fellow participants. In addition, 26 community fitness hubs played a pivotal role in engaging and inspiring individuals at a grassroots level. These hubs provided accessible platforms for fitness and wellness, ensuring visitors embraced the spirit of DFC within their own neighbourhoods.

DFC also featured two mega events which closed the iconic Sheikh Zayed Road to traffic so that people could cycle and run through the heart of Dubai. The fourth edition of Dubai Ride, presented by DP World, welcomed an impressive 35,000 plus cyclists, collectively covering a staggering distance of over 546,000km. Cementing its position as the region’s largest community cycling event, it brought together cyclists of all ages and abilities, promoting a greener and healthier mode of transportation while showcasing some of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

Making history once again, the fifth Dubai Run, presented by Mai Dubai, set new records and consolidated its position as the world’s largest community fun run. In an extraordinary display of community spirit, Sheikh Hamdan led 226,000 participants in a wave of orange Sun and Sand Sports t-shirts. The collective energy and determination added to the remarkable success of the event, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose, and drawing DFC 2023 to a thrilling close.

Together with UAE astronauts Dr. Sultan Alneyadi and Hazzaa Almansoori, Sheikh Hamdan joined the wider community on the 10km route. Joining the run were also Dr. Al Neyadi’s fellow Expedition 69 crew members from his historic mission aboard the International Space Station, including American astronauts Stephen Bowen, Warren Hoburg, and Francisco Rubio, as well as Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopev, Dimitrii Petelin, and Andrei Fediaev. Their presence and participation served as a powerful testament to the transformative power of embracing a healthy lifestyle, acting as true inspirations to all.

At the start of Dubai Run, astronaut Dr. Al Neyadi presented the Dubai Fitness Challenge flag to Sheikh Hamdan. 

Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), said, “Dubai Fitness Challenge has once again proven to be a transformational event, uniting our community in a shared commitment to health and wellness. The remarkable turnout and engagement reflect the growing enthusiasm for an active lifestyle among Dubai’s residents and visitors. We are proud of the positive impact this challenge has had on the physical and mental well-being of our participants. Its success would not have been possible without the invaluable support of our partners, sponsors, and volunteers.

Their dedication and commitment to promoting a healthy lifestyle played a crucial role in making this event an outstanding success. As Dubai Fitness Challenge wraps up its seventh year, its legacy will continue to inspire individuals to prioritise their health and well-being. The challenge has ignited a passion for fitness within the community, encouraging people to make long-term lifestyle changes that will benefit them for years to come.”

Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, commented: “With more than 2.4 million participants joining Dubai Fitness Challenge this year, we have once again showcased our unwavering commitment to nurturing our collective physical and mental well-being. As a united community, we strive for a fitter and healthier future. DFC was conceived with the aim of providing everyone with the opportunity to explore the remarkable array of fitness facilities available in our city, while pushing boundaries and embracing an active lifestyle.The positive changes and healthy habits initiated during DFC need not conclude with the challenge itself. I urge everyone to use it as a springboard for lifelong health and wellbeing. The seventh edition of Dubai Fitness Challenge has achieved tremendous success, and I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all those involved in this remarkable accomplishment.”