Hundreds of Dubai runners will be joining more than 100,000 people worldwide by taking part in the Wings for Life World Run on Sunday – an incredible global movement with 100 per cent of funds going directly to the non-profit Wings for Life foundation to fund life-changing spinal cord research.
With the race starting at 3pm in Dubai – conditions will obviously be very hot and humid as runners make their way around the 5km Dubai Autodrome track and then out onto Al Qudra Road.
The reason the run begins in peak UAE sunlight is that the event, which takes place in 58 countries, kicks off simultaneously worldwide and is aligned to the UTC timezone.
Fascinatingly, for those that don’t know, this race boasts a unique concept. Simply – runners don’t run to the finish line – the finish line comes to the runner.
All over the world, 30 minutes after competitors cross the start line, a Catcher Car sets off on the same course, pursuing the runners and gradually gathers speed.
For runners, as soon as the Catcher Car passes you, you have to bow out of the race.
The car doesn’t stop until it tracks down the last man or woman running.
EVENT DAY INFORMATION – You can collect your race pack from the activation zone in Dubai Autodrome on the day of the race.
WHERE: Dubai Autodrome
WHEN: Sunday, 7th of May
START TIME: 3:00pm
– Be onsite at the Dubai Autodrone by 2pm to collect your starting bib from the activation zone.
– Parking is available on site.
– Hydration stations will be available throughout the course.
– Warm-up & cool-down sessions will be held at the activation zone.
TRACK YOUR RUN
– Download the MORECAST App [available on the App Store and Google Play] for a hyper-local forecast of your weather conditions.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and Emir of Dubai’s dream of winning the Kentucky Derby could be realised on Saturday night, when his Godolphin colt Thunder Snow lines up at Churchill Downs.
In 142 years ‘The ‘Run for the Roses’ has never been won by an overseas-based horse, although few have tried, racing on dirt being rarely attempted by trainers in Europe or Australasia.
Thunder Snow will be trainer Saeed bin Suroor’s eighth runner in it, however, but first since a two-pronged attack in 2009. Godolphin’s best result in the race was fourth, with Frosted, trained in the States, two years ago.
“He has a better chance than the horses we have brought in the past,” says the Emirati trainer, whose best Kentucky Derby result to date is a sixth place with China Visit in 2000. “He has class and he’s a Group I winner, plus he won the UAE 2000 Guineas and Derby on the dirt. A mile and a quarter won’t be a problem for him.”
It’s probably true that Thunder Snow is the best horse Bin Suroor has taken to the race, in that he already has a Group I win on his CV, that coming in the Criterium International in France last October.
On that occasion he was ridden by Christophe Soumillon, who retains the ride, having yet to be beaten in three rides on the colt.
The Belgian had to be at his best to coax the son of Helmet to success in the Group 2 UAE Derby from a tricky outside post, wearing down the hitherto unbeaten Epicharis in the dash to the line. It was a win which showed the colt had guts, but today’s task will be so much harder.
Despite the experience of two starts on dirt at Meydan, he will be unaccustomed to the frenetic early pace of the race and Soumillon will need to be alive to the possibility of getting penned in from his low draw, possibly with a lot of dirt kicked in his face.
Factor in a tiring travelling schedule – from Dubai to the UK to America inside a week – and Thunder Snow has a mountain to climb. Rain is also forecast in the build-up to the race, meaning a possibly wet track and another unfamiliar surface to contend with.
He has the talent, but will need a lot of luck. It might well have influenced Godolphin’s decision to send Thunder Snow to America – eschewing closer targets in the UK and France – that this is a wide open race.
It lacks a real stand-out performer, and there are doubts about the favourite Classic Empire, who has had a far from perfect preparation. Always Dreaming, runaway winner of the Santa Anita Derby, looks another of the main dangers as one of a three-strong team trained by Todd Pletcher.
Assuming Thunder Snow exits Churchill Downs safe and sound, there is little to be lost in running in what is America’s most prestigious race.
If he’s beaten, there’s a plethora of excuses, but if he wins he will have made history. It’s a gamble, but that is what racing is all about.
Sport360 brings you the ultimate guide to this week’s sporting events in the UAE.
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ARABIAN GULF LEAGUE
Tuesday, May 2
Champions Al Jazira host Al Nasr is the stand-out fixture of the round as the home side look to finish their campaign off on a high. Henk ten Cate’s side have only been beaten twice in 24 league games this season.
Elsewhere, Al Ain are away to Sharjah and Kalba entertain Al Ahli.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEMI-FINAL: REAL MADRID VS ATLETICO MADRID
Tuesday, May 2
The home of the Real Madrid Supporters club in Dubai and definitely the best place to watch the game if you’re a fan of Los Blancos.
Located down by Jumeirah Beach Residence, the café looks out on to The Walk and makes for a picturesque setting while watching Zidane’s men battle it out against their city rivals.
VENUE: Real Madrid Café
UAE VS PORTUGAL
Wednesday, May 5
The UAE recorded a dramatic 3-2 penalty shoot-out success over Panama on Sunday night to progress to the quarter-finals of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in the Bahamas.
The UAE will now face in-form Portugal for a place in the last four.
TV: BeIN Sport
22ft DUBAI TRADITIONAL DHOW SAILING RACE
Wednesday, May 3
The fourth and final heat of the 22ft Dubai Traditional Dhow Sailing Race will take place on Wednesday.
It’s the last race on the marine calendar before the eagerly anticipated Al Gaffal Long Distance Race on May 13.
Thursday, May 4
Dubai welcomes an exceptional boxing event on Thursday, which will include seven boxing matches during which three kickboxing and Thai boxing belts will be in play.
Under the theme of “Fight for Health”, this event also sets itself within Dubai’s Year of Giving, as part of the proceeds will go to the Saudi German Hospital in Dubai.
WHERE: One and Only Royal Mirage
URBAN ULTRA WADI RACER
Saturday, May 6
Taking place at the Wadi Showka, the trail run begins at 05:00 with a five hour cut-off time for competitors to complete the race.
Three distances are on offer with a 30-kilometre, 20km and 10km run, for everyone aged 16 and older.
Runners must have a head torch, which is mandatory and required to start the race.
Along with a head torch, other mandatory gear needed for the event includes a 1.5 litre hydration pack or bottle, a cell phone, a collapsible cup, a whistle, an empty ziplock bag (to keep the environment clean), a printout of the course map and a first-aid kit.
WHERE: Wadi Showka