Best for… middle-distance runners
This local athletics club (the name is an acronym for Anna Berrill Racing Stables Athletics Club; Anna is the founder and chairperson) primarily focuses on endurance running, both on- and off-road. Like all running clubs in Dubai, ABRaS AC welcomes runners of all abilities, but makes no secret that its members like training hard. Just so that you’re sure ABRaS is the club for you, the first three training sessions are free. After that, annual membership fees start at Dhs400 for adults and Dhs150 for under 18s, and the club now organises Mini ABRaS AC, a running club for kids under 13, with training sessions from October to May.
The first race of the season is the ABRaS AC Mina 10k on October 1 (the second and third races take place on February 4 and April 1 respectively). Race director Debbie Powell says that while everyone is welcome to come along and train, they should ideally be able to run 10km within 75 minutes. Think you’re up to the challenge? Training takes place on Mondays at 6.30pm (members only) or Wednesdays at 6.20pm (open to non-members) at various locations around town, including The Meadows and Safa Park. Email or see the website for detailed info.
Best for… social runners
Desert Hash House Harriers
It’s all about the two Rs with the Hash House Harriers: running and rabble-rousing. This ubiquitous social running club has a presence in more or less every city in the world (there’s even one in Kabul), and the Dubai group negotiates different routes every Sunday, as well as organising various runs around the city during the week, plus trips out of town and abroad. That said, those looking to boost their fitness before the Dubai Marathon in January can still get some serious training in, while those wanting to meet people can use the exercise as an excuse to sink a few pints. The Desert Hash House Harriers also organise a ladies-only run.
See the website for an up-to-date schedule and details of the next meeting. Each run costs Dhs50, including drinks and food.
(050 656 8769), www.deserthash.org
Best for… pushing yourself
Dubai Road Runners
The Dubai Road Runners’ motto – ‘You don’t stop when you get old. You get old when you stop’ – sums up the club perfectly. Runners meet in the car park of Safa Park (Gate 4) every Saturday at 6.30am, and you can choose to run one or two laps of the park (one lap is 3.4km). There’s a nominal fee of Dhs5 per an adult; no charge for juniors or students. Each runner predicts their own time and those who get closest to their prediction win a prize.
(04 340 3777), www.dubai-road-runners.com
Best for… getting back into it
Stride for Life
This isn’t so much a club as a programme to help people return to exercise and adopt a fitter, healthier lifestyle. The group offers specific training plans for various distances, varying from the 5km programme, which costs Dhs900, rising to Dhs3,200 for a full marathon. Stride for Life also offers Nordic walking (pole walking), which apparently is an ‘efficient, aerobic and easy way to improve your physical condition’. The 2020/11 season doesn’t start until November. But when it does, runners will meet at Safa Park every Friday and Saturday at 6.30am, or Monday at 7pm.
(050 657 7057), www.strideforlife.com
Best for… serious runners
Dubai Creek Striders
This no-nonsense, long-distance club was formed in 1995 by a man of near-mythical stature, Malcolm Murphy. The Dubai Creek Striders welcome anyone who can run 10km without a break. Routes are measured to the last minute and metre, and take place at 6.30am on Fridays (though it’s not uncommon for some DCS members to be out earlier than that). Anyone wanting to join in should check the website for details (the routes for weekly runs are posted online every Wednesday or Thursday) and bring Dhs10 for drinks (a club vest costs Dhs50). Runners meet at the World Trade Centre car park, across the road from Novotel Hotel.
(050 645 6878), www.dubaicreekstriders.com