The UAE Camel Trek Marathon for Expats was a tight race from start to finish among the competitors who came from diverse backgrounds, representing 18 countries. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The three women toppers of the second preliminary race of the UAE Camel Trek Marathon for Expats, organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC), at Dubai Camel Racing Club’s Al Marmoom Race Track last weekend are a thrilled lot.

It was a tight race from start to finish among the competitors who came from diverse backgrounds, representing 18 countries. Organisers said the camel race was aimed at promoting the UAE’s cultural heritage. “It also embodied the spirit of tolerance, camaraderie, and was part of the country’s 50th National Day celebrations,” they added.

Estonian expat Laura Ezzat, who is a staff at the Consulate of Estonia, reigned supreme and took first place in the 1.2km camel race with a time of 2.27 minutes. She was closely followed by Chinese businesswoman Xiaozhe Huo with a time of 2.30 minutes. Huo won the first preliminary race held last month. Coming in third place in the very tightly-contested race was German national Emilia Piesker with a time of 2.35 minutes

Estonian expat Laura Ezzat, who is a staff at the Consulate of Estonia with Chinese businesswoman Xiaozhe Huo and German national Emilia Piesker Image Credit: Supplied

Ezzat expressed her happiness in winning the race and said: “It was such an honour and privilege to take part in the race, which saw participants from various countries. We are also happy that we are part of the celebrations of the UAE’s 50th National Day.”

Zayed’s legacy

HHC CEO Abdullah Hamdan Bin Dalmook expressed his happiness with the high number of participants and the diversity of nationalities in the annual camel race for expats. He said: “The UAE’s Founding Father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God have mercy on him, had established a similar race in the early 1990s, which opened the door of participation from a group of foreigners outside the country. After 30 years, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, revived a similar competition to further promote the UAE’s rich cultural heritage not only among the Emiratis but among the expatriate community as well.”

Family affair

Family and friends of the participants were also present to give cheer for them during the race. Among those present were Jürgen and Marta, who came from all the way from Germany to watch their daughter, Paulin Piesker, take part in the race.

The German couple said they came from Munich and they saw Dubai for the first time. “We are very happy to see this beautiful city and we were really surprised to see our daughter competing in the camel race,” added Jürgen and Marta.

“We are having a very wonderful experience. We are here for a week to follow this wonderful heritage, and we are happy that our daughter has lived comfortably, safely and lovingly here in the UAE for years. This is a beautiful country, and we also thank HHC for organising this camel race,” they said.

Pauline, who works as a German language teacher in the UAE, expressed her happiness with her parents coming to Dubai. She said: “I always wanted to join in the camel race. I sent videos and photos of me riding a camel to my parents to encourage them to come over here. I’m very happy that I’m sharing this heritage experience with them.”

Camel Trek

Meanwhile, all the camel race participants will take part in the eight Camel Trek that will kick-off on Thursday. The annual desert voyage for Emiratis and expats will run for 13 days, beginning from Liwa Empty Quarter in the western region of Abu Dhabi. The camel trekkers will navigate 500km of UAE desert to enjoy a unique desert experience and live the old ways of the Bedouins until they reach their final destination at Expo 2020 Dubai site.

The caravan will follow a prepared route and the camel trekkers will rest at camping stations in the middle of the desert. Participants are provided by the HHC with all necessary requirements for the trip, including food, drink, individual tents, and the camels that they use for the desert journey.