Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date: April 20,2007
Event: 800m open water swim, 5k run
1/6 in Master Mens
Time 35:50 (no splits)
Most people think of the Mideast / Persian Gulf area as one of chaos and calamity, which for the most part it is. However there is one area, the United Arab Emirates, and particular Dubai which has not only escaped this but has succeeded in transitioning to the commercial hub of the Gulf region. Rich in oil revenues it has invested heavily in the future developing infrastructure, commerce and tourism. In doing this it has attracted a number of expatriate workers from the west. Many have brought their desire for sports; running , cycling and triathlon.
When I found out I was coming here several weeks ago I did a quick web
search and found I could run on Friday mornings with the Dubai Striders,
take in a competion with the Dubai Triathlon Club (not to be confused with
Tri-Dubai) or go cycling 3 times a week out of “Wolfies” cycle shop that can have up to 90 riders along for the ride.
As things would have it I ended up here this weekend when the Tri Club was hosting a Aquathon, 800m swim/5km run. As a mater of fact, if you check their website, between them and the Dubai Striders there is an event every Friday. Being a Muslim country Friday is the day off and hence race day.
The race was held at one of the local resort hotels. A simply layout. Transition was a grassed area in front of an outside bar area, a roped of pathway down to the sea with an outdoor shower half way along, very convinient. The run took you out on a pier and back on a side street by a local marina.
There was close to 150 people, mostly expats, Brits, Americans,Canadians, Germans, South Africains, Austrlians, one Syrian and several other countries being represented.
Now swimming is my weakest discipline and a wetsuit helps me alot. Obviosly with the outside temps in the low 30s (7:15 m start) and water in the high 20s there are no wetsuits. However the water was exceptionally salty which helped allot. A swim parallel to shore, being low tide it was shallow and the first turn outwards to the sea was walked. No sea creatures in the sheltered bay. Had gone for a swim earlier in the week of the back of the boat and we had to have someone directing s around the stinging jelley fish, non today though. The 800m was quite pleasent, one last turn to shore in te rectangualr course and it was onto the shore, kinda nice not worry about the wet suit, through the shower and into transition.
Now not having any tri-gear with me other I through my shoes on took one look at my top and left it were it lay. Being hot and a friendly tri there was none of those rules that said you had to wear one. The one run was two loops, an out and back on a pier followed by a loop around the local marina. There was three water stations on each needed as the temperatures was climbing into the low 30s by that time. Anyways I had a good run, crossed the finish line and was met by volunteers handing out bottles of water, given a Dubai Triathlon cap and got a great medal for winning my age group. All said a great way to start the day in Dubai.