Back for another year, we meet two runners who’ll be braving the Dubai Marathon in aid of START on January 22
Justin Doherty Management consultant
This will be the second time you’ve run the Dubai Marathon for START. How much did you raise last time? I managed to raise about £3,000 (almost Dhs18,000).
What drew you to START? I’m an art collector, while my wife works for New York University running some of their art programmes, so we’re into art. I came across the START charity and [director] Sonia Brewin a few years ago at one of the art fairs and I was really impressed with the work they were doing. It’s pretty unique: they’re using art and art education to get underprivileged kids across the Arab world doing worthwhile activities and interesting things.
What sort of training have you been doing for this year’s race? I’ve been doing a little bit of running, a bit of ergonomics [core muscle exercises] and some hiking in the hills above Hatta. But it’s not as much as I should have been doing. So I’ve got a bit of a mission over the next few weeks as a final burst before the race.
Say somebody wanted to run the 42km next year. They’ve never run a marathon before: how would you advise them to go about it? The great thing about the marathon is that it’s achievable by anybody. All you need to do is stay injury-free and do some training, but at the end of the day it’s about grit and determination and your mental will to get round. Training really is as much as you can fit in – people bang on about very detailed programmes, but it’s about what fits in around your personal schedule. If it’s about getting out at lunchtimes for an hour and doing a run, or if you’ve got time at weekends to do a longer run – either way it’s really about what people can do, and what they can achieve.
We’ve heard you’re going to be running in a cheetah suit… I don’t know who told you about the cheetah suit! I wasn’t planning on running Dubai in a cheetah suit. I ran the New York marathon dressed as a cheetah once, and as a cigarette. They were both for advertising clients. I’m not planning to run the Dubai marathon in costume at the moment, but if any of your readers would like me to run in costume and are prepared to stump up the money, I’d be more than happy to do so!
What keeps you running marathons? It’s incredibly challenging as a physical activity, but there’s also the most incredible buzz you get on the starting line with 5,000 other runners. It’s a great sense of camaraderie and joint endeavour. Donate at justgiving.com/startworld.
Emilie Faure Gallery curator
We’d heard you were running the 42km… I’m only running the 10km – I only said I’d think about the 42km! I run regularly, but I’m in no shape to whip up a 42 in the month since I signed up for this. I’ve run a half-marathon before, but never a full one.
Why are you running this race? It’s a good opportunity to do outdoor sports here in Dubai, which I don’t get much chance to do, but I’m primarily doing it for START. If it wasn’t with START, I probably wouldn’t have signed up. I find their programmes really inspiring, and their association with Art Dubai is a bonus. Also, I like the fact that it’s mostly women my age taking part – I find there’s a real team spirit among those women. We’re running together.
What sort of training regime have you been following? I’m running on the track outside Safa Park and on a treadmill. That’s why I’m doing the 10km – it’s not hardcore. I do run regularly, but I’m upping my usual exercise dosage in the run-up to the race. I’m running 10km each week, and a half-hour to 45-minute run every other day. I’m also doing some group classes at Fitness First in DIFC.
What type of music do you usually listen to when you run? I don’t. And I don’t talk. There was a good book I read when I first started seriously considering running: it’s called What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. He says most of his creative thoughts take place while he’s running. He runs along the Charles River in Massachusetts in the US. I like to be in silence while I’m running – I can’t talk because I don’t talk very well when I run. Emilie is collections and exhibitions manager at the Farjam Collection of Islamic art in DIFC. Support her at justgiving.com/startworld
Is running really that good for you?
‘From a physiotherapist’s perspective, long-distance and marathon running are relatively safe sports,’ says Kim Robinson of Dubai Physiotherapy and Family Medicine Clinic. ‘As with any form of physical activity, there is always a risk of over-use injuries in the ankle, knee and hip: the joints that runners use the most.’ She says physical factors can predispose runners to injury (age, gender, body weight, fat mass, previous injuries to the joint, physical fitness and running style).
Wearing the correct footwear is vital. Robinson explains that every person has an individual structure to their foot anatomy, right down to the way they plant their foot on the floor. Footwear should be tailored to this and, for the best results, she suggests runners should be assessed by a physiotherapist or an orthotist. That means no ratty trainers culled from the back of your cupboard…