As Dubai gears up for the Dubai Fitness Challenge that kicks off in just 10 days, Dubai Holding today announced its contribution to this highly anticipated month of fitness, with the return of Dubai’s official vertical race: Dubai Holding SkyRun 2019.
Held in partnership with Dubai Sports Council (DSC), International SkyRunning Federation, Vertical World Circuit, Talise Fitness and Jumeirah Group, the 16th edition of the charitable race will be held on October 25th, 2019 at Jumeirah Emirates Towers (JET).
Professional athletes, sports enthusiasts and amateurs from the UAE and around the world will tackle a challenging course stretching 1,334 steps over 52 floors of Dubai’s iconic Jumeirah Emirates Towers Offices. This year, participants will be joined by more than 15 international sky running athletes, including Gretta Beckett, Omar Bekkali and Piotr Lobodzinski - the top winner of the past two editions of the race.
Commenting on this year’s run, Amit Kaushal, Group Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Holding, said: “We are thrilled to launch the City’s official vertical run to mark our contribution to this year’s Dubai Fitness Challenge in support of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai to help transform the Emirate into one of the most active cities in the world. The 2019 edition is recognised as the 5th highest iconic skyscraper and the only official vertical race in the Middle East – joining a circuit of prestigious towers in world-class cities such as New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Seoul.”
Kaushal added: “Designed for wellness enthusiasts from all fitness levels and backgrounds, the charitable race has played a key role in supporting Dubai Holding’s ongoing efforts to promote corporate wellness and fitness amongst its employees and the wider community. It has also allowed us to help Dubai residents move one step closer toward achieving their fitness goals.”
The Dubai Holding SkyRun is part of the elite “Vertical World Circuit”, organised by the International Skyrunning Federation. The race includes 3 categories – ‘Individual-Female’, ‘Individual-Male’, and ‘Team’ – and the top three from each category will receive prizes.
Khalid Al Awar, Director of Sports Events Department, Dubai Sports Council, said: “Dubai is gaining a reputation of being a city of Challenges – we have challenges on ice, mud, in the desert and the hills. And then we have the Dubai Holding SkyRun. It’s a unique challenge and the ultimate test of endurance and human spirit.
“Dubai Holding SkyRun is the only official vertical run in the Middle East and it is being organized as a part of the Dubai Fitness Challenge, which is the biggest celebration of sports and physical activity anywhere in the world given the sheer number of participants it attracts across 30 days.
“We will see 15 elite international sky-runners in action this year, but I am sure many members of our community will be interested in challenging themselves in this vertical run because that is what the Dubai Fitness Challenge is all about: about challenging and yourself.”
On his part, Jose Silva, Chief Executive Officer of Jumeirah Group said: “Wellness has become increasingly important to our guests and as part of our strategy, we are focused on developing innovative health and fitness collaborations that enhance the Jumeirah experience. This year, we are once again proudly supporting the Dubai Holding SkyRun, which will see participants race up 52 floors of one of our most iconic hotels, Jumeirah Emirates Towers. We hope that some of our guests will join the elite athletes and residents of Dubai to take part in this challenge, support an excellent cause and take home a truly memorable experience.”
As the exclusive partner and official beneficiary of Dubai Holding’s wellness events since 2014, Al Jalila Foundation will receive proceeds from the race to advance its obesity research studies. Since the two entities have inked their partnership, Dubai Holding has contributed over AED 5 million to Al Jalila Foundation’s Obesity Research Fund.
Dr Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama, Chief Executive Officer of Al Jalila Foundation, said: "We are proud of our long association with Dubai Holding, a pioneer in launching wellness and fitness initiatives, who has contributed extensively to Al Jalila Foundation obesity research fund through contribution of funds as well as hosting regular community sports events under the group’s Wellness Programme. The increase in lifestyle related diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes underscores the need for long-term funding for scientific research, and it is encouraging to see organisations like Dubai Holding leading the national conversation. Al Jalila Foundation is delighted to be the official beneficiary of the Dubai Holding SkyRun, and we are grateful for the opportunity to spread our message in the community.”
This year’s edition will also be joined by the famous TeamAngelWolf – a Dubai-based socially active family, ‘The Watson’s’, with their 13-year-old ‘Person of Determination’, Rio. The family previously competed in a number of Dubai Holding wellness initiatives and successfully completed the Dubai Holding SkyRun 2017 despite Rio’s disabilities.
In the race’s previous edition, a new course record was set by Piotr Lobodzinski who completed the race in 7 minutes and 9 seconds, an improvement of 9 seconds from his time (7 minutes and 18 seconds) in 2016. Suzy Walsham also cut off 22 seconds from her time in 2016 year, recording 8 minutes and 16 seconds to complete the Dubai Holding SkyRun 2017.