D. Thompson's Run the World Challenge - 10. Dubai (UAE)

The Burj Khalifa - Dubai

 Here’s the blog entry for GSN founding partner Dan Thompson’s 10th Run The World Challenge run, in Dubai (United Arab Emirates).

Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is something of a milestone as it’s my tenth run. Not much of a milestone admittedly as I still have another 194 runs to go. More of a yard stone than a milestone perhaps. However, I guess any mark of progress has to be welcome at this early stage.

It’s also the first run I've done with a local running club. The Dubai Running Club in this case which is run (in every sense of the word) by Graham Rafferty. Graham picked me up from the Metro station and, unforgivably, I was late.
I'd got on the tube and mistakenly entered the women and children only carriage (having instinctively headed, as any London tube veteran would, for the emptiest carriage). The guard on the tube told me I had to get off the train - and that I couldn't walk the 5 metres through the tube to the men's section (where they were all tightly packed into each other’s' armpits). I therefore got off at the next station but then couldn't get back on - because the men's sections were just too full. Cue inexcusable tardiness.
Graham gave me a lift to Al Barshaa Park for their Sunday night training session. There were 30-40 people there - almost all of them doing the Dubai marathon the following Friday. In short, it was a serious training session.
We started with one lap (1.5km) of the Park to warm-up. And a very nice lap it was too as the Park has a rubberised loop with distance markers. London please note - I’d love to see something similar in the Olympic Park!
We then split into groups for a proper 12 km training run. Our group's aim was to run 6km at 5 min/km and then 6km at what Graham cheerily called “marathon pace” - 4'30" or less per km. I just about hung in there until my shoe lace came undone for the second time. It only takes about ten seconds to tie up a shoelace but its remarkable how hard it is to catch up afterwards.
Anyway, they dragged me round the 12km somewhat faster than I normally run giving me a 10km time of 48'44" - my fastest 10km so far. (And my Garmin tells me that I did one 10km section of the run in 47'38"). If I can just knock another ten minutes off then I'll be a vaguely decent runner (for my age group anyway...)
The following day was my run in Oman – please see my next blog – but I then had a rare half day of tourism as my run in Yemen had to be cancelled due to security concerns. Managed to get to the Burj Khalifa – tallest building in the world and mightily impressive at night (pic above) - and then to the palm-shaped artificial archipelago that is the Palm Jumeirah.
The much needed break ended with an interview with Al Arabiya  http://english.alarabiya.net/en/variety/2014/01/26/Run-the-world-one-amateur-runner-s-ambition-to-break-world-record-.html  and then yet another transfer and flight – this time to Qatar. More in 2 blogs time!
Many thanks to Graham and the Dubai Road Runners and to Graham's lovely wife, Katrina, for dinner after our run – greatly appreciated.
Date : 19th January, 2014
Time :  48’44” (my fastest yet)
Total Distance Run to date : 100 km
You can read about D. Thompson’s  other Run the World Challenge runs at http://www.greatestsportingnation.com/blog