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Running in... Dubai

A Runners Guide to Dubai, by a Local Runner

It's time for a virtual run around Dubai with our guide, Yasmine.

Tell us a little about yourself and your relationship with running?

I am Lebanese-Swiss-American and have lived in Dubai for most of my life. I started running only 8 years ago and I'm finally beginning to believe that I am a runner because of all the experience I have accumulated this decade.

I started with a marathon off the bat and soon collected a series of them plus all the training that goes with it. I mixed in trail running while I was in Switzerland and then came upon a life changing project: Running every single street of the Emirate of Dubai!

female runner poses for selfie with camel in Dubai UAE

Describe the running culture in Dubai?

The running community in Dubai is huge and supportive. There are run clubs, endurance groups, a coaching culture, races. There are plentiful running paths and tracks. There are so many runner-friendly venues too!

Where are the best places to run in Dubai?

The most popular place to run is the beach track and there are also tracks in and around parks. People also love to run within their communities. The more adventurous runners run by the Canal and the Creek and some venture out to the desert and mountains to do some trail running.

So... my favorite places. I used to run these routes frequently when I would run exclusively in certain parts of town. I now run on every single street in the city so have done a large amount of residential, commercial, desert, industrial zones and have more to discover. I know Dubai inside out!

Dubai Creek

I absolutely love to run on both sides of the Dubai Creek on the old part of town because it always has a great sunrise and the boats give it a fabulous atmosphere. There are three main bridges and it is the only real opportunity at hill training in an otherwise flat city.

Mishrif Park

A stunning and fairly challenging route because it swerves and rises through a beautiful desert landscape. I love this track because it is unknown and private. I almost believe it’s all mine!

Mamzar Park

The sunrise here is superb, especially if you get to Sharjah Corniche to see the skyline over the water. A large amount of this track is red and reserved for runners and the palmed road takes you to neighbouring Sharjah.

JBR Marina

To run with the early risers around the Marina and the high rise buildings gives you a motivation unparalleled. You can also connect this run to the beach to get some much needed breeze!

Downtown Dubai

Running near the Burj Khalifa, the highest building in the world, is as motivating as running near the Eiffel Tower! Here, the boulevards and sidewalks are large and luxurious. I always wonder why there aren’t more runners in this area.

Silicon Oasis

I thoroughly enjoyed running in Silicon Oasis because I discovered such avant garde architecture and the area provides many run tracks and palmed streets.

The Canal

I love the Canal at sunrise because the sun rises behind the skyline. The foot bridges can be reached by a series of stairs that gets your heart rate pumping.

The Palm

The Palm has a lovely run track that is 11 km long at the end of its trunk near the Atlantis. I used to go there to run 21km by the sea. On either end you see amazing views of Dubai too!

Zabeel track

The best kept secret in Dubai, this is the track where I did most of my interval sessions. I know every centimeter of the red track and love the views from here.

female runner poses in front of burj khalifa dubai UAE

Are you a member of a running club in Dubai?

I have been a (founding) member of NFC Endurance since I started running in 2012. I have had the same coach, Neil Flanagan, for 8 years now. NFC Endurance is a Dubai based endurance coaching team, helping athletes of all ages and abilities achieve their swim, bike, run or triathlon goals.

Where is the best place to buy running gear in Dubai?

I admit to buying my running gear in Europe and the USA because I run in Newtons, ON, and NoBull - these shoes are not available in Dubai (even with it's plentiful malls). If you like Adidas or Nike however, their stores here are gigantic!

Tell us about the best local races in Dubai?

Dubai Creek Striders Half Marathon

The Dubai Creek Striders Half Marathon is usually held in December and takes participants through the Creek route, over two bridges and a tunnel, at a beautiful time of the year. It’s a lovely get-together for the Dubai run community.

Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon

The RAK Half Marathon is in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah and is usually a good excuse for us to take a staycation. It's a very exciting and inspiring race and reputed to be the fastest half marathon in the world, with many elite athletes in attendance.

The organisers have changed the route multiple times so I have seen a lot of the centre of RAK on foot because of my constant participation.

Meydan 5k, 10k and 10 miles

An excellent opportunity to run these shorter and quicker distances for speed improvement. Also another great chance to mingle with the run community.

female runner crossing the finish line at ras al khaimah half marathon

Can you recommend a local dish/venue to eat after a long run in Dubai?

If there was a single venue and meal not to miss in Dubai it would be the kabab at Ustadi Restaurant. This restaurant is an institution, well priced and offers delicious kabab which is our staple meal in the Middle East. It has rice on the side for those who need a carb fix.

A big thankyou to Yasmine for taking us for a virtual run around Dubai!

If you are interested in discussing the running culture in your city or country, I'm always looking to share new places. Just drop me a message.

One last thing...

If you've enjoyed the content on this site and would like to support me by buying me a coffee, it would be greatly appreciated.​

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