Positive energy, early morning run: Residents overwhelmed by magic of Dubai Marathon

Getting there in the morning and standing amid thousands of people, it was an out-of-the-world feeling, said Indian expat Utpal Baruah

by

Rituraj Borkakoty

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Dubai resident Utpal Baruah (left) and British expat Chris May with his daughters Jodie and Gracie. — Supplied photos
Dubai resident Utpal Baruah (left) and British expat Chris May with his daughters Jodie and Gracie. — Supplied photos

Published: Sun 7 Jan 2024, 11:43 PM

As the 23rd edition of the Dubai Marathon ended in rousing fashion on Sunday with Ethiopian debutants Addisu Gobena and Tigist Ketema claiming the top honours in elite categories, scores of UAE residents also hit the streets, embracing the spirit of road racing.

Among them was Ion Gonzaga, a 40-year-old Filipino expat who feels blessed to be a Dubai resident.

“Dubai has always led by example when it comes to inspiring people to lead a healthy lifestyle,” Gonzaga, who took part in the 10 km race, told the Khaleej Times.

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“One of the best examples is the Dubai Fitness Challenge. You can see the impact. Compared to other countries, Dubai has taken it to a high level. This city is the front-runner in terms of modelling this.”

Gonzaga then revealed what drew him to road racing.

“I run quite a lot to keep myself fit. I had a back problem and it got better after I started running,” said Gonzaga who completed his third 10 km run at the Dubai Marathon.

“Not just psychically, it also helps you mentally. It’s good for your mental discipline which helps you a lot in all areas of life.”

Meanwhile, Indian expat Utpal Baruah was overwhelmed by the magic of the occasion.

“This was my first time in this race. Getting there in the morning and standing amid thousands of people, it was an out-of-the-world feeling,” said Baruah who took part in the 10 km run.

“It’s so full of energy and so refreshing to see thousands of people brimming with positivity.”

Baruah took to running only three months ago, but now he can’t stop it for anything.

“It’s very challenging at the initial stage, but once you get the heck of it, it becomes very addictive and very inspiring,” he says.

“And every day you are challenging yourself. It impacts your regular lifestyle also. You become motivated in everything you do.”

Unlike Baruah, British expat Chris May is a Dubai Marathon veteran who participated in it for the 18th time on Sunday.

But this time it was a family affair for May, the CEO of Golf Dubai.

“I did the 10 km with my two daughters (Jodie and Gracie) for the first time. It was quite funny looking at the pictures, we did the four km together in 2014. And then 10 years later we did the 10 km together,” he said.

“It was good, the girls did well. Jodie beat me by four minutes. She finished it in 48 minutes, I took 52 minutes and Gracie was one hour and one minute.”

May then doffed his hat to the organisers for delivering another wonderful event.

“It was one of the best-organised events. It was really well done,” he said. (with inputs from Nick Tarratt)

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