Review of the Dubai Desert Road Run 4-Jun-16


Dubai is full of races. I was beyond excited to find out that immediately after attending the Fluffy Breaks Even show, there would be a second event from the bouquet that is my passion in life the very next morning – a run.

I went, I saw, I was beyond disappointed.

Before we dispense with the review, let’s look at some numbers:

  1. 10K finishers – 350. Fees 120AED, Total: 42,000AED
  2. 3K finishers – 152. Fees 80AED, Total: 12,160AED
  3. Grand Total: 54,160AED

Now lets start with the Cons:

  1. No storage facility for runners from abroad. You can easily gauge their numbers from registration, provide them a way to keep their bags safe, especially that some have come for a few hours to just run the race and leave. This is provided by other UAE based races such as RAK.
  2. No way to get back to civilization. Again, runners coming from abroad, especially first timers to Dubai, are not aware of how far the Sevens Village is, nor how difficult it is to find a ride back to Dubai. If not for #899 (Waqas the Humanitarian), my friend and I would have ended up walking back to Dubai! At the very least arrange with a few taxis to wait there.
  3. Messed up race markers. As  I was runing the 10K I found it strange that some of the distance markers were showing strange readings, 3.8KM, 4.9KM. And they weren’t even accurate!
  4. No food for runners. As someone who runs most of their races in Kuwait, and partook in organizing a race in Kuwait, I can honestly say I am most disappointed with the organizers and their greed in this regard. Let’s look at numbers.
    1. I organized a race for 120 participants – spent KD 30 roughly (360 AED) on oranges and bananas for the runners.
    2. DDR had almost 500 participants. Doing the mathematics, they would require KD 125 for the same food as above, which is 1,500 AED, which translates to a mere 2.7% of the total amount they took as fees.
    3. PS my race was free. (look it up).
  5. No takeaways for the runners. Again, I run most of my races in Kuwait, the average for a 10K race is 120AED, however in Kuwait you get a t-shirt and a goodie bag. Not sure why DDR are so stingy with their money, but a race that doesn’t give a runner takeaways but charges fees is a race not worth running in the first place. We were given something though, and I wish we weren’t – hangers to put up items on walls. How this ties in to running is a mystery to me.
  6. Looped race. The Sevens Village grounds are enormous. Are you honestly saying you cannot find a 10K route that is not a double loop? Nobody minds running 5K one way then back, but to run 2.5KM 4 times is boring and annoying. In this regard, the 3K race was probably better, as it lacked the hamster-in-a-wheel effect.

However, there were some Pros:

  1. Tracking technology. The tying of trackers to shoelaces that can later be recycled beats the bibs with embedded trackers.
  2. Cups of water. Although a way for the organizers to save money, I see it as a way of reducing wastage. So I’ll give you a point there.

Prognosis: Negative.

Run the race once for the experience, never again.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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