Teams of 20 were divided into four groups of five - each group of five walkers were then flagged off at set times.
Dubai - The first group started at 7.30am on November 23, the second at 13.30, the third at 19.30 and the fourth and final at 1.30am today morning.
Dubai is serious about being the world's fittest city - this message was in action at the Dubai 24HR Walkathon that was organised by the Dubai Sports Council on Thursday morning.
Around 2,000 people from all walks of life participated in the 100km walk around the landmarks of Dubai. The first group of walkers that started at 7.30am was led by Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Around a dozen chiefs of different government entities were part of the inaugural walk entry for the event, along with Emirati CEOs and celebrities like Khalaf Al Habtoor, Sultan bin Mejren, singers Fayez Al Saeed and Faisal Al Jassim. Major-General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, commander-in-chief of Dubai Police; Major-General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, director-general of the Department of Naturalisation and Residency Dubai (DNRD); and Major-General Obaid Muhair bin Suroor, deputy director-general of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) Dubai and chairman of the Standing Committee for Labour Affairs, Dr Abdulla Al Karam, chairman of the board of directors and director-general of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), were also part of the first batch of walkers led by Sheikh Mansour.
Starting from behind Sunset Mall, the participants walked down the Beach Road, in the direction of Burj Al Arab, before making a U-turn from the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. The route then took them down to the edge of the Dubai Canal, into Al Safa Park and then to Marasi Business Bay, from where they returned to the Sunset Mall.
Teams of 20 were divided into four groups of five - each group of five walkers were then flagged off at set times. The first group started at 7.30am on November 23, the second at 13.30, the third at 19.30 and the fourth and final at 1.30am today morning.
Singers Faisal and Fayez, known for their sports patriotic songs, said: "We love sports and whenever our country wins some tournament, we celebrate by composing and singing motivational songs. But today we actually took part in the walkathon physically and supported the cause of fitness in the city. We are here to support such activities and we will continue to compose and sing songs to encourage people to take part in sports activities."
Saeed Hareb, secretary-general of the Dubai Sports Council, said the walkathon not only focuses on fitness but also gives another reason for the people of Dubai to be happy and be together. "Such sports events serve as a source of enjoyment for people as they walk along the landmarks of the city, stop and take pictures, laugh, take water breaks from our water stations, and simply walk and talk.
"More than 400 such activities are organised in Dubai to promote sports and this was one of them. To call the heads of government entities to lead the walk we aimed to send out a positive message to the community to emulate the leaders. Sports play a vital part in helping maintaining our health. So don't ignore it."
Sending out a message to the youngsters who are mostly busy on their gadgets or on social media, Hareb said: "It's time youngsters take some time out for sports or any physical activity or else they will be paying through their nose for the medical bills of the hospitals due to ill health. Make sports a part of your life.
Six hydration stations were located along the route, while food and entertainment kiosks were available at rest stations every five kilometre. Ambulances with registered nurses, police escorts and marshals were present onsite to ensure the safety of everyone, while ample parking spots were also available for both participants and spectators.