Dubai (UAE) 14 December, 2014: Dubai Holding, the investment holding company, has announced that three-time Olympic Champion Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia will take part in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on January 23, 2015 in his capacity as Ambassador of the Dubai Holding Wellness Programme.
The Dubai debut appearance of one of the greatest long distance athletes of all time will once again turn the spotlight on the world’s richest marathon as the 32 year-old competes in just the third marathon of what is an illustrious career.
Kenenisa is looking forward to progressing at the classic 42.195km distance after winning in Paris in April (course record 2:05:04) and finishing fourth in Chicago in October (2:05:51).
He holds three current world records for 5,000m outdoor, 5,000m indoor and 10,000m outdoor; has been 18 times World Champion and three times Olympic champion and is the first and only athlete to be world indoor and outdoor, world cross country and Olympic champion.
Ahmad Bin Byat, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Holding, said: “Inspiration is essential in all aspects of life, both professional and personal. As part of our Wellness Programme initiatives, we aim to inspire Dubai Holding employees and members of the wider community to adopt an active lifestyle, push themselves and take on a challenge. Kenenisa Bekele is an ideal Ambassador for our Programme as he is constantly pushing his limits further and challenging himself to do better.
“As a Dubai Holding Wellness Programme Ambassador, Kenenisa is helping to promote health and fitness at Dubai Holding, in Dubai and in the wider UAE. The programme, established in 2007 as the first-of–its-kind in the region, raises awareness among nearly 22,000 employees across the Group and the wider community about healthy living and assists them to change and sustain improvements in their lifestyle to reduce health risks and enhance the quality of their life.”
Kenenisa, who made a flying visit to Dubai to accept his ambassadorial role, said he was delighted to be able to compete in the world’s richest marathon.
“I have been following the race for some time now and I know Dubai has a very flat course that produces fast times,” he said. “Of course, it is not east to step up to the marathon distance and set records but I am looking forward to the challenge of lining up in Dubai next month. Hopefully, I can produce a very quick time and my appearance encourages people of all ages in the UAE to join me in my role as an ambassador for the Dubai Holding Wellness Programme.”
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, the 2015 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will see runners compete in the full Marathon, the 10km Road Race and the 4km Fun Run.
Around 25,000 runners are expected across the three events with athletes of all ages, abilities and nationalities lining up alongside one of the biggest names in world sport.
Event Director Peter Connerton believes the appearance of Kenenisa Bekele will fire the crowds in the same manner as fellow Ethiopian great Haile Gebrselassie who competed for three years in Dubai from 2008-2010.
“Like Haile, Kenenisa has made the step up to the marathon distance after winning everything there is to win at both 5,000 and 10,000, indoor, outdoor and cross country,” he said.
“So far he has had a better start to his marathon career than both Haile and Paul Tergat. He has followed our race with interest for a few years now and has been keen to come and take his marathon experience to another level. We are proud he believes Dubai is the right venue for the next stage in what has been an outstanding running career.”
The 2015 race will mark the ninth consecutive year that Dubai Holding supports the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon as part of its Corporate Wellness Programme. The 2014 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon saw around 2,000 employees from the Corporate Office, Jumeirah Group, TECOM Investments, Dubai Properties Group and Emirates International Telecommunications take part in the event and the company has ambitions to once again grow that figure by twenty per cent in 2015.
In line with the Dubai Government’s efforts of supporting healthier living habits, Dubai Holding also sponsors the UAE National prize category, which it introduced in 2010, offering a total of AED86,000 (Euro 18,800) to the three fastest UAE nationals in the men and women’s marathon, 10km and push chair races.
Runners who would like to take part in the 2015 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon or the associated 10km and 4km events should register online only at www.dubaimarathon.org.
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