New race route and host of changes announced for Abu Dhabi Marathon

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Dignitaries pose for a picture after unveiling the Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon.

Gulf today, Staff Reporter

The fourth edition of the increasingly popular Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon is expected to feature a record 20,000 participants tackling a stunning new city course that tours some of the UAE capital’s most prominent landmarks, organisers confirmed ahead of the December 17 race.

The new 42.2km route will start in front of Adnoc Headquarters, before weaving past a host of the city’s most recognisable landmarks, including the Crown Prince Court, Al Bateen Palace, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Qasr Al Hosn, and World Trade Centre Abu Dhabi. The full marathon distance finish line is set for ADNOC Campus, where a race village will be set up.

The shorter distance events will start in front of Nation Towers on the Corniche Road and conclude on Al Marsa Street, while the 10km course ends at ADNOC Campus.

Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said the alterations to the event will ensure participants enjoy race day more than ever. “The Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon was already a very successful and much-loved event on the UAE sports calendar,” said Awani during the launch event at Adnoc Business Centre.

“After gauging our community through an extensive participant outreach survey, we have listened, acted, and can now look forward to an even bigger and better event for all the family. Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon remains an event for the community, by the community.”

With last year’s ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon attracting more than 12,000 participants of various ages and abilities, in addition to a sizeable group of elite international athletes, turnout this year – at what will be the UAE’s only full-distance marathon in 2022 – is expected to top 20,000, a year-on-year increase of more than 65 per cent.

During the launch event, Colonel Mohamed Al Khateri from Abu Dhabi Police and Hamad Al Afeefi, Director of the Traffic Management Division at the Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) stressed the benefits of the new route, while Luca Onofrio, Head of Mass Event at RCS Sports and Events, the race organisers, outlined further improvements to the event, which include a new Race Series Edition. Already in motion, the Race Series Edition provides perfect training opportunities and emphasises the value of incorporating sports into daily life to promote a sense of community.

Open to all ages and nationalities, the first of three Race Series Edition events took place on September 3 indoor in Yas Mall and included 5km, 3km, and 1km races. A second event is set for October 8 and will include 3km, 5km, and 10km outdoor runs at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain.

The final run, to be held on November 5 – little more than a month before the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon 2022 – provides participants the chance to run 3km, 5km, 10km, or a 21.09km half-marathon at the world-famous Yas Marina Circuit.

“The changes to this year’s Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon move us one more step forward in our quest to create the best possible marathon experience for our Abu Dhabi and UAE communities,” added Dr Saif Sultan Al Nasseri, Director, Human Capital Directorate at ADNOC, moments before organisers unveiled the official marathon T-shirt – a specially designed, Abu Dhabi-branded shirt manufactured by the event’s primary sponsor, Nike.

“Through close consultation with those communities, we are confident that an anticipated 20,000 participants in the new-look Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon this December will experience an improved event that continues to have the local community at its heart.” 

The annual community-driven event – which includes a marathon and marathon relay, a 10km course, plus 5km and 2.5km fun runs – will also feature a raft of new enhancements following a “You Spoke, We Listened” survey commissioned by race organisers. A total of $303,000 in prize money has been set aside by the organisers for the winners.

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