Watch: Sheikh Hamdan surprises residents as he leads them in Dubai Run

'He shook our hands and waved at us': Fitness enthusiasts talk of delight of running next to Dubai Crown Prince on Sheikh Zayed Road

Photo: Dubai Media Office
Photo: Dubai Media Office

SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Sun 20 Nov 2022, 8:24 AM

Last updated: Sun 20 Nov 2022, 5:44 PM

Dubai's beloved Crown Prince, joined the sea of people at the most anticipated event of the fitness challenge – the Dubai Run.

Incredible excitement and determination were on display on Sheikh Zayed Road this morning as residents spotted Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, stretching and exercising before the run.

There were squeals of delight as he joined more than 193,000 fitness enthusiasts of all ages, skills, and abilities in the fourth edition of Dubai Run, the world’s largest free fun run. He shook hands with some of the runners and smiled at others. Some runners said they came to the fitness event to catch a glimpse of Sheikh Hamdan.

“Oh my God! I am so so so happy. I saw Fazza," said a UAE resident, Sajna Abdulla.

"It was a dream come true moment for me," Abdulla added.

"I had just finished physiotherapy for my knee and my doctor advised me not to run. But I have never missed a Dubai Run because when Sheikh Hamdan calls you to run, you run. So I had taken special permission from my doctor who asked me to only walk. Now, it feels worth it because I saw Fazza for the very first time in my life. He is really friendly, shook hands with the people next to me. He smiled and waved at me. He is my true inspiration.”

Dubai’s lifeline, Sheikh Zayed Road turned into a running track for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Hundreds of residents from the age of two to the ripe old age of 80 reached the starting point, decked in track pants and a fluorescent green t-shirt.

The major expressway was closed to traffic at 4am to pave the way for the runners, which included people of different abilities and people of determination for fitness.

The fourth edition of Dubai Run, offers runners two routes: a 10km route and a 5km route. Both routes give a once-a-year chance to run along Dubai's iconic Sheikh Zayed Road. The 5km route, suitable for runners of all ages and abilities, begins on Sheikh Zayed Road near the Museum of the Future, passes the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Opera, and ends near Dubai Mall. While the 10km route follows Sheikh Zayed Road to the Dubai Canal, then returns towards the Trade Centre before ending on Al Mustaqbal Street near DIFC. A longer route, it’s better suited to more experienced runners.


The fun run started near the newest, adding to the splendid architecture of Dubai, the Museum of Future, and had different endpoints depending on the distance. The 5-kilometre run ended near Downtown Dubai, and the finish line of the 10-kilometre track was behind the Museum of the Future. Runners passed through the spectacular skyline of Dubai and its landmarks, including the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, and Downtown Dubai.

Families came in huge numbers, along with their young ones, early in the morning. One among them was a man who came along with his grandchildren. “I wanted to make the most of the fitness challenge, and what better than this fun run?” said the grandfather, who wants to remain anonymous.

The 73-year-old grandfather came along with six grandchildren, also added: “Life is very short. I have lived for 73 years, and I did not realize how these years passed. I request everyone to spend quality time with their family in such activities, so the memories remain with the young ones.”

Many companies also encouraged their employees to undertake the Dubai Fitness Challenge. “Maintaining our employees’ health is our priority, and all our employees have been following the fitness routine religiously,” said Vani Mendon, co-founder at ServHub.

“We all are reaching our fitness goals this edition of the fitness challenge, and how can we miss this mega run?” added Vani.

Fitness enthusiasts with prosthetic knees were also present at the mega event. Mohammed Hammadi from Syria came along with his friend Bashar. Hammadi lost his leg in an accident, but that did not prevent him from reaching his fitness goals. "I have been regularly recording my fitness routine, and I make sure I reach my fitness goals daily," said Hammadi.

"Many participants at the challenge asked me how I do it. I tell them that if they are determined to accomplish something, nothing should stop them. With this prosthetic leg, I have undertaken to cover 5-kilometre distance," added Mohammed.

A few were the first-timers at the fun run, which included Jaza Azam, a grade 10 student. “This is the first time I am participating. I had heard a lot about the run, and it has now crossed all my expectations,” said Jaza.

“I have been to marathons earlier, but running among hundreds and thousands of people in between the skyscrapers of the city is an experience in itself,” added Jaza.

Many families even got the new members of their family to the massive track. “It is not a run, but a walk for us as we are participating along with our two-year-old son in the stroller,” said Justin Ramos, a Filipino residing in Jaddaf.

“We could not leave our son behind at home. My older son and daughter are having the best time of their life with the youngest, and he is giggling and smiling throughout the walk,” added Ramoz.

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