Meet the woman who has run through every street in Dubai

Yasmine Salaam, known as the 'Pink Taxi Runner', said she now has an intimate knowledge about the country she has called home for the last 48 years

by

Nasreen Abdulla

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Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

Published: Fri 24 Nov 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 26 Nov 2023, 2:50 PM

A Dubai-based marathon runner has run through every single street in Dubai. Yasmine Salaam, who is fondly called the Pink Taxi Runner, has run the entire emirate of Dubai from the border of Abudhabi to the border of Sharjah, including Hatta.

“I am so proud of this achievement,” she said, speaking to Khaleej Times. “I have traversed the entire emirate of Dubai, street by street, and with such glee. This means I have run all the streets that are built by RTA, including alleys but not highways.”

Yasmine, who started this project on the first day of the Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC) in 2018 said she now has an intimate knowledge about the country she has called home for the last 48 years. “During this project, I have learned everything about Dubai, how people work and live, how the city operates and services its people, how urban planning is done and civil engineering translates into an organised lifestyle for communities,” she said. “During the five years 2018-2023 including the year of the pandemic, I have observed the growth of an extraordinary city of the future.”

Keeping up with Dubai

Yasmine said she had a tough time keeping up with the ever developing city of Dubai. “While I was running, streets were multiplying and my percentage was decreasing even if I was running more and more,” she said. “I had to keep up with Dubai and this is an extraordinary feature. I also learned about the diversity of the city and how people of all nationalities live in different neighbourhoods and quarters or how they sometimes mix.”

Yasmine has run roughly 1000km every year and has been documenting her progress on social media for the last five years. On Wednesday, she posted her joy at completing her epic project.

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According to her, each street was a discovery. “My favourite streets are the most iconic ones in Downtown Dubai, old Deira, the Palm, Marina,” she said. “But I also love Jumeirah because I grew up there as a child and I know it well. However the neighbourhoods I discovered were Silicon Oasis with amazing architecture, the desert of Awir and Khawaneej and old neighbourhoods like Wuheida, BuHail, Muraqqabat.”

For Yasmine, her biggest motivator was the DFC. “It has created an environment that builds a sportive community,” she said. “Dubai is a city that moves and the running community is very large. Therefore, I feel the emirate of Dubai is behind my project, encouraging me. This is the emirate where anything is possible and where goals can be reached.”

Yasmin is hoping that her project is noticed by the most important athlete in the city — Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. “I would love him to know that I have done this for 5 years for one reason alone: the sports emirate of Dubai that I love.”

The challenges

Yasmine’s passion project came with its own set of difficulties.

“It has been challenging to run in the heat of the summer, or during fasting month of Ramadan,” she said. “But the project in itself motivates me to run regularly and kept me going because I had goals to finish. It was also challenging to run in areas that are inhabited by males only as Al Qusais, Jebel Ali Industrial and Al Qouz have many working accommodations with men only.”

However, she felt safe at all times because of police patrols. “It was also challenging to run in industrial areas that are dusty and where the roads are not well paved,” she said. “I have also run in all the gated communities where security is very strict and I had to park very far from the entrance because they don’t let you run free through the gates, let alone drive into those areas to reach the most far out streets.”

First started in San Francisco by Ricky Gates in 2017, running every single street soon became a worldwide trend. Yasmine was of the early adopters of the movement that has runners all over the world running through their towns and cities.

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