World Half Marathon Champ Cherono to make full marathon debut in Dubai

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Reigning World Half Marathon Champion: Gladys Cherono.

The athletics world will finally get the chance to see Gladys Cherono make her marathon debut when the reigning World Half Marathon Champion takes on the challenge of the 2015 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on January 23.

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Her debut at the classic 42.195km classic distance has been eagerly anticipated not only because of her World Championship win over the half marathon distance in March 2014 in Copenhagen but also because her performances on both track and road over the past years have been world-class.

Now, at 31, the Kenyan star – who holds a 10,000m personal best of 30m:29.23s – will at last make her marathon debut after an injury in the build-up forced her to withdraw from last year’s Berlin event. And as the first woman to take gold medals at both 5,000m and 10,000 in the African Championships in 2012, the eyes of the athletics world will be on her as she takes on a field of experienced marathon campaigners over one of the world’s quickest courses.

Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, the 2015 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will see one of the strongest fields ever seen at the world’s richest marathon.

For Cherono it is the perfect opportunity to stamp her name on the marathon after many years of success at the shorter distances.

In 2013, she became the tenth fastest half marathon runner of all time when she set a personal best of 1h:06m:48s at the Prague Half Marathon, while in the same year she also claimed silver in Moscow at the 10,000m World Championships.

“The women’s line-up is incredibly strong this year,” said Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon Event Director Peter Connerton. “Everywhere you look there are quality runners and in Gladys Cherono we have an athlete who continues to make great progress in distance running. It is a great bonus for the event to have her make the set up to the marathon distance here in Dubai and in such a powerful field.”

With less than two weeks to go, marathon staff are already at work on the start and finish area outside the Dubai Police Academy as grandstands go into place ready to welcome the more than 25,000 runners who are expected to gather for the marathon, the 10km Road Race and the 4k Fun Run.

Runners who would still like to take part can still register online only at www.dubaimarathon.org.

Among the stars set to line-up on January 23 are three time Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele, 2013 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon men’s winner Lelisa Desisa, 2011 and 2012 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon women’s winner Aselefech Mergia and defending women’s champion Mulu Seboka.

In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, Adidas, Dubai Eye 103.8FM, Sport 360, Masafi, Dubai Holding, Dubai Police and the RTA. 

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Take a swing in Abu Dhabi Softball League

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High demand: Quick registration is recommended as both the recreational and competitive leagues will fill up fast.

It’s time to get the bats and gloves out as the Abu Dhabi Softball League is set to start its new season, bringing the competitive and fun sport back to the field.

The slow-pitch action will run from mid-February to mid-May at the softball field in Zayed Sports City, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE’s Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development.

Both a recreational and competitive league are on offer so whether you’re a skilled softball player or just getting acclimated to the game, there’s a level of play for you. 

Anyone above the age of 18 is welcomed to play in the inclusive, co-ed leagues. 

The recreational league is open to all and depending on skills levels, players are equally divided among teams to balance rosters and create a good mix of new and experienced players. 

The league will have up to eight teams and starts on February 11 with 55-minute games every Wednesday night from 19:00 to 23:00.

The competitive division is only for the highest level of players with a minimum of 10 years of baseball or softball experience suggested. 

The league will have up to six teams and starts on February 9 with two 55-minute games every Monday night from 19:00 to 23:00.

If you’re without the necessary equipment, Abu Dhabi Softball will have gloves, balls, bats, batting nets and more available free of charge for all league members.

Registration will open tomorrow at 19:00 and is based on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s recommended players sign-up as soon as possible because both divisions fill up fast and a waiting list is common. A maximum of 190 people will be fit across the 14 teams in both leagues.

The approximate fee is Dh35 per person, per game, and has to be paid in full and in advance before the league begins.

To receive news and notice when registration opens, fill out a contact list form on the league’s Facebook page. For more information, contact [email protected]

Try a new sport in the new year or just hone your skills in the upcoming season of Abu Dhabi Softball.

What: Abu Dhabi Softball League
Where: Softball field at Zayed Sports City
When: Registration opens on Sunday, January 11 at 19:00. Recreational league begins on February 11 and competitive division starts February 9.
Contact: Visit the league’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/abudhabisoftball or contact [email protected].

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