Dubai Fitness Championship returns

The second annual test of endurance comes to the emirate


As the Dubai Fitness Championship returns for its second year, last year’s winner, Grant Goes, reveals his game plan in the endurance test.

For some it’s personal, for others it’s business and for the rest, well, they just want to see how hard, fast and far they can push themselves – first against the clock and then against each other. After some of the emirate’s fittest men and women tested their physical limits at last year’s inaugural Dubai Fitness Championship, the contest, launched by His Highness Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, returns for its second year.

And this time there are more slots for finalists – 36 each in the men’s and women’s categories – Dhs200,000, Dhs50,000 and Dhs40,000 in prize money going to the gold, silver and bronze medalists and disciplines that will test the strength and endurance of the contestants. Open to men and women of all nationalities – with two all-Emiratis Championship categories too – this year’s event sees the four winners from last year return to defend their titles.

‘Personally I’m going to go as hard as I can and do the best I can, that’s my mentality,’ says 32-year-old New Zealander, Grant Goes, last year’s gold medalist in the men’s main event challenge. ‘Fitness in general has always been part of my lifestyle and I’ve played football, rugby and tennis, as well as running and triathlons. The Championship definitely requires overall fitness and is suited to people who do endurance, agility and mobility training.’

Qualifying rounds run from August 18 to September 8, with the women’s finals on September 12 and the men’s on the 13th on a special circuit at the ice rink in The Dubai Mall. And this year participants are allowed multiple attempts at achieving their best time in the qualification round as opposed to last year’s two.

‘What’s great about this championship is that you get to compete against top athletes in the region,’ says 24-year-old Emirati, Abdul Rahman Ghbash, first runner-up in the Emirati male category last year. ‘I don’t listen to rumours about what this guy has done or what that athlete does,’ he says of his mental preparation. ‘And it helps me to prepare by doing things in a workout that I don’t usually like to do.’

‘The UAE is home to a lot of very fit people, so in competitions like this you get to go up against them,’ says 33-year-old Leigh Borg, a real estate broker who is returning this year after just missing out on a finalist slot in 2012. ‘During the qualifiers when the times are displayed, you see your new times and that pushes you.’

And what’s the last year’s winner’s advice to DFC newbies? ‘Go out there and enjoy it,’ says Goes. ‘Give it 100 percent, live in the moment and let the enjoyment be the thing you get out of it.’

Are you ready for the challenge?
Qualifying sessions are held until Sunday September 8 at Fitness First locations in Knowledge Village, Mirdif City Centre and Oasis Centre. Visit for more information.

Other fitness challenges

On Your Bike
The first challenge in the Spinney’s Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge 2013 will be held on September 6 and kicks off with a 30km ride around the Nad Al Sheba Cycle Track. Participation costs Dhs50 and the next challenges are on October 4, November 1 and November 22, with the final on December 13.

This… Is… Spartan!
Like food portions and gas tanks, this event is big in America and the Spartan Race is coming to Dubai. Although organisers are still finalising the time and date, the first 1,000 participants to register for the obstacle race challenge get a discount on their entry fee. Warning: Things will get dirty.

Dubai Marathon
As any long-distance runner will tell you, five months is nothing when it comes training for a marathon. Next year’s Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon takes place on January 24 (so might we suggest
a quiet New Year’s Eve). Registration is open now.

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