The Wrap

Ever wondered what it's like to do the Dubai Marathon, but too lazy to get involved? Here's the scoop

The wrap, The Knowledge
Dubai Marathon Diary

We followed British runner Justin Doherty, 38, on his third marathon (not literally, mind)

5am: We’re making our way to the start in Media City. It’s still dark, cold and raining – but that doesn’t stop the excitement among the runners.I tuck into a banana and Mars Bar and try to psyche myself up.

6.30am: Here we go. The marathon runners begin. I’m surprised by the number of people – even little kids – out to support us all so early, handing out dates. We run at a pace slow enough to conserve energy – and can chat.

7am: The sun rises. I make a call on my mobile to my wife, Emily, and to my sponsors.

8am: We spot the elite runners coming back towards us – they’ve already reached the flagpole and are into the second leg back towards Media City! We cheer on Haile Gebrselassie, who’s out in front [and later won].

8.30am: This is the really tough part – I’ve hit my wall and my legs are really heavy. Luckily, I spot my wife cheering me on five times, she’s holding two big orange balloons so I can see from far away.

8.50am: The last mile feels like the longest, but the crowd’s cheering has a magical effect on me and I manage to find some extra energy from somewhere.

9:00am: I’ve made it. The first thing I do? Drink a bottle of orange juice, eat a tuna sandwich and receive a pat on the back from Sonja, my friend from START, a Dubai-based kid’s charity, which will benefit from the money I’ve raised. Finally, I have my photo taken for Time Out!

Total time: 4hrs 30secs

To donate to Justin’s START campaign, visit
At time of going to press he had already raised an impressive Dhs8,117

Chinese State Circus

We rolled up, rolled up to see the Chinese State Circus’s Dubai debut last weekend, the first of a month’s performances at Festival City. There were ‘ooohs’ as plate spinners whirled crockery without a smash. There were ‘aaahs’ as acrobats flipped from poles and formed a 10-person pyramid on a bicycle. And there were ‘ooows’ as superhuman Shaolin warriors were lifted on spears and spun on their stomachs. Ending with an all-jumping, all-flipping dance off, it was a big top show to top the lot. Charlotte Cox

Slob Fest 2

We weren’t quite sure that Alpha was the right venue for dress-down charity night Slob Fest, especially compared with the pen-scrawled walls of Malecón, its previous location. But the night really came together and hundreds rocked out to Juliana Down, The Meerkats, Jonas Desai, Holly Major and the fleet-fingered guitarist Cassiano. The best part of all? The night raised around Dhs15,000 for charity.

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