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UAE ATHLETE DESCRIBES LIFE-CHANGING IMPACT OF RUNNING AS ZAYED MARATHON HEADS TOWARDS RECORD ATTENDANCE

Zayed Run Club training programme hits full stride in the run up to ‘The Day the UAE Runs’ at Yas Marina Circuit on 19 March. 

Runners eyeing the start line at next weekend’s Zayed Marathon have spoken of the life-changing impact of committing to the annual charity run.

Runners like UAE National Khalid Alfoulathi say that signing up to the race on 19 March and getting in shape for the big day can spur people into a lifetime of health and fitness.

Khalid and his wife are among the thousands of people who have already registered for the run at Yas Marina Circuit, giving this year’s event every chance of being the best-attended on record.

The Zayed Marathon is held in honour of the Father of the Nation, H.H. Sheikh Zayed. All proceeds from the AED 100 registration fee will go to support those diagnosed with health diseases, of which Sheikh Zayed was a strong supporter.

Khalid, a 29-year-old Abu Dhabi resident, said the 5km and 10km runs are the perfect chance for people to achieve a major fitness challenge that can kick-start or support a healthy lifestyle, as well as donating to a cause so important to Sheikh Zayed.

He said: “I used to smoke two packets of cigarettes a day. When I quit two years ago, I knew I had to replace one habit with another. That habit was running. It was tough at first, but now it’s part of who I am – it’s my identity and my lifestyle. It has changed my life.

“The Zayed Marathon is important in giving people a target to aim for and a great sense of personal satisfaction. Anyone taking part for the first time will feel the benefits of exercise and will get hooked on running just like I did.”

The Zayed Run Club is the perfect way for people of all ages and abilities to get in good shape, with dedicated running coaches moving them towards race day.

The club meets at four locations in Abu Dhabi every week in the run up to the race – Yas Island, Mushrif Park, Zayed Sports City and Al Bateen. Full details of the locations and timings can be found at www.yasmarinacircuit.com.

Ahmed Al Kaabi, Head of Government Affairs at Yas Marina Circuit, said: “When Yas Marina Circuit hosts a major community sporting event, it always provides a training programme that allows people to prepare in a safe and fun environment and to meet other members of the community. The Zayed Run Club gives people the confidence to achieve their personal goals.”

The Zayed Marathon provides the ideal chance to gather as a community in a fun environment and to run together on a day of UAE national celebration.

There are two distances around Yas Marina Circuit, a 10K and 5K run, as well as a 5K “Hand Cycle” race for wheelchair competitors. Young runners will be invited to compete in the Kids 1k & 3k, while a strong line-up of experienced athletes will feature in the ProFIELD event.

The race is organised by the Armed Forces Officers Club & Hotel in collaboration with Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, and Abu Dhabi Education Council. They are supporting the run in order to foster healthier and fitter communities, a sense of inclusiveness among the UAE’s residents and to celebrate the country’s national identity.

H.E. Lt General Mohammad Al Kaabi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Armed Forces Officers Club, said: “We are proud to be bringing the Zayed Marathon to the people of the UAE. It is an opportunity for the entire community to unite in celebrating our national pride and respect for the Father of the Nation, Sheikh Zayed.”

H.E. Aref Hamad Alawani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, added: “The Abu Dhabi Sports Council is committed to fostering a sport-proactive environment in Abu Dhabi. We are delighted that the Zayed Marathon gathers so many people to celebrate Sheikh Zayed and the UAE. It also enhances the culture of health and fitness that is so important to the future of our nation.”

More than 3,500 people are expected to attend the Zayed Marathon. People can register online at www.yasmarinacircuit.com.

Anyone who is unable to participate, but would like to donate to support those diagnosed with health diseases, can do by texting 7040 for AED20, 7400 for AED50, and 3636 for AED100.

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