Abu Dhabi Striders at a half-marathon race Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The scorching heat is no detterent for Abu Dhabi Striders, a 300-strong running group based in the UAE capital. It has devised special schedules for members to stay fit so there is not letup in the training of those competing in races and marathons later in the year.

They are regular participants of races organised by Gulf Multi Sport LLC throughout the race season, including the Zayed Sports City 5 and 10K runs (October, January and March), the Kilomarathon in October and the Striders Half Marathon in November on Yas Island.

“The aim is to keep fit through summer so that they are well trained for races and marathons in the weeks and months ahead. We make our schedule flexible enough to accommodate all levels of ability,” said Kevin Rosbotham, schedule coordinator of the group which has been around since 1992.

Summer fitness

Rosbotham is a Senior Space-craft Analyst with Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), but most of his time outside work is dedicated to the Abu Dhabi Striders.

He joined the group in 2013 through its Facebook page, while trying to find other people who have tackled humidity and heat to continue running. As coordinator, his role includes making the weekly schedule and daily run detail updates.

“Running can be dangerous in summer if you don’t take the right precautions. We run much slower and carry a lot more fluid. While covering longer distances, we try to stay on loops or routes which don’t stray too far from a cool box full of water.

“Running together is a very good technique as peer pressure is a good motivator. We start weekend runs early in the morning, trying to get the bulk of the run completed before the temperature starts to rise,” said Rosbotham.

Fast and fit

“Our iTrainSaturdays programme is perfect for beginners as you can run/walk at your own pace. Wednesday Predictor is another schedule where you have a choice of distance,” said Rosbotham.

Kellyann Davey-Coulson has been running with the group since she moved to Abu Dhabi in 2008. “I started off mainly doing the interval sessions to help with my speed for rugby. Then I shifted to half marathons and full marathons. The Striders gang helped me cover the distance I needed in my training.” she said.

Khawar Siddique is another runner who has benefited from being part of the group. He learned tips such as running form, negative splits, speed and pacing, all of which have increased his running performance. In just three years of training he shaved 25 minutes off his half marathon time. “It has inspired me to try out new distances and workouts, break mental barriers and become a faster, stronger and better runner,” he said.

For more information please visit www.facebook.com/groups/abudhabistriders/

The writer is an Abu Dhabi-based freelancer