1422The Abu Dhabi Striders Half Marathon and 10k Fun Run

The Abu Dhabi Striders Half Marathon and 10k Fun Run

Rob Smith takes on the heat in the Abu Dhabi 10k

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Name: Rob Smith Age: 41 Occupation: Finance Event: The Abu Dhabi Striders Half Marathon and 10k Fun Run Distance: 10k  Race time: 49:14  How long have you been running?  11 Months

What made you decide to sign up for this race?    

I was told of the race just 3 days before it by a work colleague in the Dubai office. I was there on a business trip for the week. Registrations were closed, but the idea of running on Yas Island by the F1 track was too alluring to give up. I contacted Steve at Abu Dhabi Striders and he was very friendly and helpful and let me in. By the way, Steve is the heart and soul of this event, a very funny guy (even if he is an Aussie) and you can see him starting the race in the photo.  

What were your expectations for race day?

I had no expectation of a PB. I hadn’t trained for the race, and had been suffering with flu till a week before so I hadn’t trained since the Birmingham Great Run 3 weeks prior. At that point I was running 47min in  training for 10k, but knew I would be struggling to do that. I stated to my work colleagues the night before sub-50 as a minimum, and that’s what I did. Due to the heat in this part of the world, it was a 6.30 am start to the  half marathon, and 7am for the 10k, so logistically I had a challenge to get from Dubai to the track on the Island, and  pick up my bib and pin. I asked if I needed to take a boat - which when you know this part of the world - you realize how stupid a question that is. But the organisation was top class, and luckily taxi’s are available at 4.30 am in Dubai right outside your hotel - amidst some interesting other scenery at that time of night.    

What were your high and low points during the race, if any?

High point, all of it. The shadow of the F1 track, the friendliness of the marshalls and organization. A lot of free grub and a top class medal.  

What was the most challenging part of the course for you?

It wasn’t so challenging apart from the heat, which when you aren’t used to it is a bit of a shock. Water which was regularly available during the run  was used for cooling the head rather than thirst quenching. All that said, there was a slightly unusual start that took you across a few yards of sand. I managed to hurt my ankle slightly as I turned to go back on the loop on the sand, but no big deal. It slowed me a bit, but I had 9.5k to run it off.  

How would you describe the crowd support?

Sparse but v. good and encouraging. Thanks to the lady who said “well done, nearly there”, as I got to about 9.5k, I was starting to feel like I wanted to finish at that point – and even looked behind me to see if anyone fancied a sprint race. But no, I was pretty much 50 yards behind and ahead of the next runners. This is not a BUPA run here!  

What was the male/female ratio roughly in the race?

I would guess 50/50. A lady won the VETS 41-44 category that I was in. I was 2min off my training pace of a month ago, but she would still have beaten me by 10 mins!  

Did you see many people running in costume, and if so what was the best costume?

No, its not that kind of place – however, the low but funny point of the meeting for me was being overtaken by a guy pushing his baby – fast asleep – in his pushchair! Good on him. Was a reminder that I have along way to go before I feel like a good runner.  

What’s your overall verdict of the race? Please give marks out of ten for the following categories:

Organisation: 9/10 – just needs a slightly better demarked bag drop, even if crime is zero or near to, you need a space to put your bag Scenery: 10/10 Atmosphere: 10/10 It was small, about 1300 runners in total between the two races, but a great atmosphere and much fun with people from all over the world coming together as a community.  

Would you do it again next year?

If by the remotest chance I can be there, I would do it (and have trained properly), and I recommend it to anyone.  

What one tip or piece of information would you like to pass on to anyone thinking of doing this race for the first time?

Book into a hotel locally the night before. And hydrate properly. Given I didn’t even know I was doing  a race when I flew to Dubai, I didn’t have my usual Powerade and Mars Bar, nor did I have my watch to check my splits.
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