For the second year in a row, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has been awarded IAAF Gold Label status.


Last year was the first time a Middle East running event of any kind had earned gold status from the International Amateur Athletic Federation. Race director Peter Connerton said the second consecutive award was a tribute to all involved in making the event such a success.


To qualify for IAAF Gold Label status, an event has to satisfy a number of criteria including global media and TV coverage, the variety of international competitors and the quality of their previous race times.


Entries are pouring in for the 2013 race and organisers anticipate a record 20,000 runners will compete in the marathon, 10km and 3km events.

The marathon gets under way on Emaar Boulevard by the Pavilion in downtown Dubai and passes by the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall and World Trade Centre as the course takes runners towards the sea. 


Most of the route is an out-and-back along the Jumeirah Beach waterfront, with the turning point at 22km, in view of the luxury hotel Burj Al Arab.  At 321m high, it is the fourth tallest hotel in the world.  The sail-shaped structure was built on an island of reclaimed land 280m offshore.



Entries are closed and training well under way for participants in the 2013 Challenge Wanaka Triathlon Festival.  By now athletes will be finding long swims, long bike rides and long runs quite comfortable as they build up their endurance for the full or half Challenge events.


Challenge Wanaka is well known in the international triathlon community as one of the most scenic courses in the world, said race director Victoria Murray-Orr.  


It is also New Zealand’s largest triathlon festival, involving more than 2000 participants.

“Lake Wanaka Half competitors can test themselves on the same spectacular course as well as enjoy the thrill of racing side by side with some of the biggest names in the sport while soaking up the unique atmosphere that accompanies an international full distance Challenge race,” said Ms Murray-Orr.


She noted the high proportion of women who had entered the Lake Wanaka Half distance either as individuals or relay teams.


 “It’s awesome to see more and more women stepping up to long distance racing,” she said. “To see such strong numbers at the Lake Wanaka Half is really encouraging and we hope these numbers will continue to grow as women use the relay teams to catch the triathlon ‘bug’!”



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