One of Abu Dhabi’s largest running events is sprinting into view, anyone can join in and cross that finish line – and raise some money for charity too.
Don’t be worried if you hear the unusual sound of thunder in Abu Dhabi on November 22, that’ll just be the annual Yas Run, where hundreds of enthusiastic runners will take part in a big community event around Yas Marina Circuit – and you could be one of them.
Now in its third year, the Yas Run has evolved slightly. It’s added a 5k category to the existing 10k and children’s 3k and 1k races, allowing those who don’t want to quite hit Olympic levels of athleticism to compete. You’ll start off at one of the circuit’s F1 pits, before circumventing the course that may still be a bit warm from the screech of F1 tyres. At the race you’ll receive a timed chip (to let you know how well you’re doing), a T-shirt (for a souvenir) and your individual race number. There will also be an entertainment village at the circuit, where there’ll be free children’s activities, and food and beverage stalls to help you recharge. Above all, it’s a social sports event where anyone can join in.
One of the many people taking part is Saj, who hasn’t run for a significant period time. She’ll be coming down from Dubai to Abu Dhabi for the race. ‘I could’ve done one of the many runs in Dubai, but I chose this one because it’s quite special that you’re running on the track,’ she says. To prepare for the race, in which she’s chosen the 10k (‘I decided to push myself a little bit’), she’s jogging and implementing strength training into her everyday life. Though when asked if she’s taking part to be competitive, she affirms that it’s just for fun and that it’d be nice to just finish the race. ‘I’m just hoping to get around, basically’.
At the other end of the spectrum is Russ, an Abu Dhabi resident also taking part in the November 22 race, who is an experienced triathlete. ‘I’m doing it with my wife,’ he says. ‘It’s good to be able to do something for charity, it’s a fantastic location, and the chance to run around it is an awesome opportunity’.
In preparation, he’s been keeping his running up to about five to six hours a week, and wants to improve his time over last year’s event – but, as Russ explains, the best thing about the ADNIC Yas Run is ‘the fact that there are so many ages, shapes and sizes, nationalities of all people in one place looking forward to doing this sporting event. It’s a fab day out for everybody’.
The main reason you should get involved in Yas Run is the great cause behind it, Operaton Smile. Committed to helping children with cleft lips and palates, not just in the UAE but around the world, it has so far provided over 20,000 free surgeries for kids – and executive director of the UAE branch Morag Cromey-Hawke is determined that the Yas Run is a great opportunity to not just exercise, but to help others. ‘Runners of all ages and abilities can participate together for the same cause,’ she says. ‘It is not essential to be a super-fit athlete; everyone can challenge themselves to the best of their abilities and everyone can feel that they helped change people’s lives.’
To take part in the ADNIC Yas Run, which begins at 2pm on November 22, you must log in and register through the Yas Marina Circuit website and pay a Dhs100 fee for the 5k run or a Dhs200 fee for the 10k. If you’re entering the 1k or 3k, it’s free – but don’t forget to donate! So, do your bit for your health and your community, and enter yourself in the Yas Run. Morag agrees. ‘Just a big request to everyone in the UAE; join in the fun and challenge yourself. Remember, the more miles the more smiles!’ The ADNIC Yas Run takes place on November 22, 2pm. Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island. Register at www.yasmarinacircuit.com (02 659 9800).