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Kamali confident of Marathon growth
24 January 2013
Ahmed Al Kamali is confident the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will continue its rapid growth in the future as event organisers prepare to register record figures at this year’s event.
The number of athletes participating across the marathon, 10km race and 3km Fun Run is expected to reach around 23,000 on Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard this Friday morning.
That impressive tally represents a considerable upward curve in popularity over a 15-year period and the president of the UAE Athletics Federation predicts progress from here to be equally as brisk, if not even more so.
“When we look through the history of the marathon – from 27th November 1998 until now – we started with 50 runners, we had 120 in 2000 and now we’re talking about almost 23,000,” said Al Kamali, who is also the general co-ordinator of the event and an International Association Of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council member.
“That’s fantastically good growth. No race has grown like this from 50 runners to 23,000 in 15 years.
“The event is growing, which is fantastic. I am the founder of the marathon and, on the first day of planning for it, even I wasn’t expecting that we’d have 23,000 someday.
“But, still, we have a big space left (for expansion) and – hopefully, some time in the future – we’ll have 42,000, with one athlete for every single metre. My target is 42,000 and that’s possible.”
Al Kamali already expects the 2014 event will surpass this year’s take-up, with the runners in attendance perhaps prospectively pushing towards 30,000 in total.
“We put safety first,” Al Kamali added. “Both lines are definitely going together, so we’re looking into the safety and also looking to grow the event. We’re very careful to run the event in a very good way.
“The event is moving along a very good path. Personally, for me as an organiser, I’m happy because there’s a big support from the people of Dubai. I’m sure that next year will be a new record, with new numbers.”
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