The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, the world’s richest long distance running event, has joined the athletics elite following the announcement that it has received Gold Label status from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
It is not only the first time a Middle East-based running event of any kind has gained IAAF Road Race Gold Label status – making it the highest accredited in the region - it also firmly establishes the event’s credentials as the number one marathon in Asia and places Dubai in the sport’s top division alongside cities such as London, Berlin and New York.
“It is a big honour for the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon to be up alongside the major marathon venues,” said event director Peter Connerton.
“To qualify for Gold Label status, the Dubai Marathon had to satisfy a number of criteria including the scope of global media and TV coverage, the number and variety of international competitors and the quality of the race winning times. I am delighted that we have satisfied the demands of the IAAF and can now prepare for the 2012 event in Dubai on January 27.”
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai and held under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has consistently attracted the best young talent in distance running as well as the undisputed king of the sport Haile Gebrselassie.
Such has been the quality of the elite fields competing in the marathon itself and the results achieved, the event is currently ranked sixth in the world of all marathons after London, Berlin, Chicago, Boston and Amsterdam.
“There is no doubt that our route is one of the fastest on the calendar,’ added Connerton. “The winning times are always among the best of the year, which is a trend we hope will continue over the coming years."
Ahmed Al Kamali, President of the UAE Athletic Federation and Member of the IAAF Council, also said it was a great honour for Dubai to have been awarded this recognition from the sport’s governing body.
“It comes in the same week that Dubai was voted the world’s third best sporting city for events after London and Melbourne,” he said. “On behalf of the Dubai Marathon, I would like to thank HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and HE Matar Al Tayer for their ongoing vision and support in helping the Dubai Marathon be a part of these two great achievements.”
Over the years the organisers of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon have worked with various Dubai government departments to take the event to even greater heights.
“We should all be very proud of our development and the fact that we now belong to a small group of the best quality road races in the world,” added Connerton. “Thanks to the support of our title sponsor Standard Chartered and bodies such as the Dubai Sports Council, the RTA and the Dubai Police and Emergency Services, Dubai now has a marathon reflecting the city’s standing as a key international sporting destination.