One of the UAE’s most challenging races saw 781 runners, of all levels, cross the finish line over the weekend.
The 72km Reebok Wadi Bih Run, one of the highlights in the Middle East’s running calendar, saw participants tackle the mountainous terrain in Dibba, Oman. Jeremy Curran and Lisa Van Gisbergen claimed first place in the men’s and women’s 72km solo races with times of 5.30.43 and 8.44.25 respectively.
Taking part alongside the solo runners were 132 teams of five runners, who took it in turns to take on legs across the 50km and 72km routes. One of those was ‘Team Coach Mike’, appropriately named after the well-known French fitness coach living in the UAE.
Speaking after the race he said: “That was an epic run, a true and very real challenge for all of us. The road is a long one, filled with brutal hills, twists and turns and the only way we got through was to work together and push other limits. It was the camaraderie between us that made this day so memorable.”
Wadi Bih Run Race Director, Neil Young, was delighted on the success of the 26th edition. He said: “The Reebok Wadi Bih Run is truly special as it’s a run of perseverance and pleasure, welcoming all runners to test themselves in one of nature’s most beautiful settings. We are excited to build on this for the next edition and look forward to welcoming everyone back again for the 27th year.”
The Reebok Wadi Bih Run saw five race categories set off from the Dibba coastline, through Wadi Khabb Shamsi to the high point of the Hajjar Mountains with its spectacular view into Wadi Bih.
The original race, first run 26 years ago by a large group of families and friends, was a 72km relay race of five team members. Throughout its long history, and due to popular demand, the event now has five categories: Team 72km & 50km, Solo 72km, 50km & 30km.
The full list of finishers can be seen HERE
The Live Awake Sound Healing and Motivational Yoga Retreat, organised by the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), under the Dubai Government’s Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve initiative, proved a great success with participants from far and wide taking part.
Inspired by Sarah Blondin’s Live Awake Project, the retreat helped participants reconnect with themselves through the use of sound and meditation in the sprawling desert.
HE Saeed Hareb, the Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, was in attendance, along with Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of DSC, and Ghazi Al Madani, Director of Sports Tourism at DSC.
Speaking at the event Hareb said, “Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve is one of the best places to practise yoga, given its tranquillity and idyllic setting. It is one of the largest natural reserves in the region with an area of 40,000 hectares, which is about 10 per cent of Dubai’s total area.
He continued, “The Dubai Sports Council is working to organise a number of sports activities in Al Marmoom. This Yoga Retreat is the start and will be followed by the Dubai Tour, which passes through this area. We will continue to organise events in Al Marmoom throughout the year to promote sports tourism in the area and put the Reserve on the sporting map of the region.”
“Our plan is to organise more than 20 different sports events in Al Marmoom, ranging from cycling to running and yoga,” added Al Rahma. “There will also be a weekly training course for cyclists, which is open to all segments of the society, the young, old, men and women.”
Training sessions will be held on Fridays and Saturdays, from 7am to 9am, with 200 people expected to take part, along with classes on Monday and Wednesday evenings, from 6pm to 9pm, which are likely to attract 150 people.
The Yoga Retreat opened with a sound meditation activity, based on Blondin’s “Loving and Listening to Yourself”. An energising yoga session, focused on heart-opening, before the participants got lost in the beats of Tibetan sound healing meditation. Renown yoga instructor Neha Duseja led the session.
“Personally, Sarah Blondin’s Live Awake Project has had a significant positive impact on me,” said Elisa Fausto, the woman behind the initiative and founder of Inspire Yoga, Pilates and Fitness. “It’s about living awake – not just going through the motions and realising that there is no emptiness in your life.
“I think the reason an individual feels empty is because they haven’t been listening their inner voice. Our aim, through this retreat, is to help each and every one to tune in with themselves and find contentment.”
Are you competing in the Wadi Bih Run on February 2?
If you are, then make sure you read this!
Here’s our top five tips for riding a successful race!
What’s your goal for the race? Is it just about getting over that finish line or do you want to achieve a formidable race time? Once you have an answer then set out how you are going to succeed. It’s not too late now to be training 3-4 times a week but back yourself to know the preparation you have done thus far is going to help you get your best possible placing.
You’ve been following a training programme for the last number of weeks and now you’re at the closing stages of it. This coming 7-10 days is critical so listen to your body. If you’re sore then don’t train that day. The last thing you want to do is pick up an injury in the week leading up to the race. If you feel lethargic one evening then do some light circuits or a stretch to keep the body supple.
It is important to warm up before any cycle in order to prevent injury. If you’re going out for a spin this week, do some quick stretches (10 seconds each side), including hamstrings, quads, groins and calves. Post-cycle, you should do some static stretching and hold the stretches for at least 30 seconds to one minute, working all your lower body.
Your body is like a car so it needs the right fuel. Have some porridge (with a chopped banana) and a coffee/tea for breakfast, rice and chicken for lunch, and a piece of meat and sweet potato for dinner. You don’t have to eat these foods but they are ideas to help you feel mentally sharp in the week leading up to the race. Don’t feel that you have to be too strict but eliminate as much sugar as possible as this will only make you feel sluggish. On race day you will need some sugar and electrolytes during the race as the baking sun will make your body sweat easily.
RECOVERY IS KEY
Recovery is essential to athletic performance in order to help muscles rebuild. During your training for the 72km, it is important to take your recovery seriously as this will effectively impact how your body feels the following day(s). The three main tips for recovery are to hydrate, stretch and take in some protein after exercise (30-50g).
Enjoy it. You may never do one of these races again, especially in the UAE, so make the most of it and ensure you are as best prepared as you can be!