Over 150 Dubai runners gathered at Nad El Sheba Cycle Park on Sunday to take part in the Cisco Tiani Dubai Run, in support of the Wings for Life foundation.
The charity aims to find a cure for spinal cord injuries and the Wings for Life World Run was organised to raise funds in aid of this.
With no official Dubai leg organised, Cisco employee Chris Khouri decided to take the initiative and organised the Cisco Tiani Dubai Run himself.
Despite his spinal cord being severely damaged in 2009, Khouri continues to be an inspiration by demonstrating nothing is impossible.
All of the entry fees collected in Dubai and around the world have been allocated to support the Wings for Life foundation.
Runs took place on 34 courses, in 32 countries and 13 time zones, with runners from 164 nations raising money in the first-ever Wings for Life World Run.
The goal for those taking part was to run as far as possible before the “Catcher Cars”, that started 30 minutes behind, caught them.
A total of 29,847 runners were still in the race after an hour – an impressive achievement by any standard.
The number was reduced even more dramatically in the third hour as only 327 runners were still in the race, and by the four-hour mark there were just 26 left.
A 78-kilometre long race came down to a thrilling sprint finish between two runners, battling it out on two courses which were 11,000 kilometres apart.
In the end, Lemawork Ketema of Ethiopia out-sprinted Remigio Huaman Quispe of Peru to win a dramatic intercontinental duel by just 90 metres.
Speaking after the race, Colin Jackson, international race director, admitted it had been an amazing finale to a brilliant event.
"It was an incredibly close finish. It was an outstanding day and an outstanding occasion,” he said.
The entire amount of the entry fees from the 50,398 registered runners and additional donations made on top all went exclusively to the Wings for Life charity, which raised a total of 3 million euros.
Wings for Life CEO Anita Gerhardter has announced that the world run will become an annual fixture with the date for the next race set for May 3, 2015.
Global Results Men
1. Lemawork Ketema (ETH)/ run in Austria 78.57 kilometers
2. Remigio Huaman Quispe (PER)/ Peru 78.48
3. Evgeny Glyva (UKR)/ Austria 78.40
4. Giorgio Calcaterra (ITA)/ Italy 72.96
5. Paul Michelletti (NZL)/ UK 69.37
Global Results Female
1. Elise Molvik (NOR)/ Norway 54.79 kilometers
2. Nathalie Vasseur (FRA)/ France 51.26
3. Svetlana Shepalova (MDA)/ Turkey 48.29
4. Mfanzi Ntombesintu (RSA)/ South Africa 47.57
5. Lea Bäumler (GER)/ Germany 46.23