A Guide to Running in Dubai
Beachside tracks, desert sprints and more - follow our guide to running in Dubai

Seaside jogging tracks, atmospheric desert running roads and community clubs aplenty, Dubai loves a good run. There are plenty of locations to choose from, including the futuristic cityscapes of Dubai Marina, lush greens of Safa Park and cushioned trail alongside Jumeirah Beach Road.

The running season in Dubai is traditionally October to April, though residents run year round in the early mornings. Whatever the time of year, carry some water and download one of the many helpful running apps, such as MapMyRun or Nike+ Running, to track your progress.

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The Beach

The Beach

The iconic green spongy track on Jumeirah Beach Road is one of the fitness marvels of Dubai. Easy on the legs, the track stretches over 14km, starting at the Burj Al Arab, down past Kite Beach and over the new Dubai Water Canal. There is helpful signage every 100 metres so you know how far you’ve travelled and how far to go. Popular with families and runners of all descriptions – serious to part-timers – it also takes in some of Dubai’s most picturesque spots. Bring a towel for a refreshing post-run swim.

The Palm Jumeirah

The Palm Jumeirah

One of the more unusual running spots in Dubai is out along the Palm Jumeirah, the manmade residential, hotel and entertainment complex in the shape of a palm that stretches over 5km out into the Arabian Gulf. There are two routes to choose from. The 4km shoreline, up and down the ‘trunk’ is more leisurely, while the 11km ‘crescent’ run along the tip of the Palm is a little more challenging, but has more spectacular scenery.

The Yard

The Marina

The 4.5km track at the Dubai Marina is scenery central, especially in the winter months. On one side are modern, gleaming skyscrapers, and on the other are views of the waters dotted with luxury cruisers and traditional craft. There is no spongy track here, so wear good rubber-soled runners. If you want to enjoy the wide boardwalk and avoid the crowds, steer clear of running around dinner time when the masses are out scouting out restaurants. Aim for before 9am, or after 8pm for optimum space to stretch your legs.

The city’s parks

The city’s parks

There are many leafy spots in Dubai, perfect for a morning, daytime or evening run. The pick of these is Safa Park, conveniently located downtown, halfway between the Burj Khalifa and Jumeirah Beach. It’s a short 3.5km but the earth-red track is nice and spongy, and there are numerous workout stations along the way. Safa Park is alongside the Dubai Water Canal, which is now part of the track, and the route is accessible 24-hours a day – appropriate for a city that never sleeps.

At the other end of town, you can find the delightfully greenDubai Creek Park which has a stunning view of the Dubai skyline and takes you through more of the older parts of the city, offering a contrast to the more well-known modern structures. You can also check outMushrif Park, which has a few challenging hills, the rolling greens ofZabeel Park or the well-equipped Al Barsha Pond Park, close to the Mall of the Emirates.

The best clubs

The best clubs

If you don’t want to run alone, join one of the fun and friendly running groups in Dubai. The Desert Road Runners, Dubai’s oldest running club (founded in 1989), meets six nights a week (not Wednesday) in various locations as they prepare for various events throughout the region. The Dubai Creek Striders are the largest running group in Dubai and meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights at Al Barsha Pond Park or the World Trade Centre. Benefits are the specially chosen scenic routes and groups to suit every pace.

If your focus is endurance running, try Super Sports ABRaS Athletics, meeting Monday and Wednesday nights, but expect to be tested! This club has many of the UAE’s top distance runners.

Some of the fastest-growing run clubs in the region are the ones initiated by sportswear brands such as the Nike Run Club or Adidas Runners. The Nike Run Club is a well-established group, with a large UAE following, and has even seen the likes Olympic star Mo Farah join in for a casual run. The Adidas Runners community is a tight-knit group, led by five-time Guinness World Record holder Lee Ryan. Launched in October 2016, the group has grown quickly to offer weekly social runs, sprints and yoga sessions, and the occasional destination run followed by a meal. Both groups are free to join and open to residents and tourists alike.

The Events

The Events

There are many running events on Dubai’s calendar, from 10km fun runs to marathons. For example, the Johnson Arabia Dubai Creek Striders Half Marathon takes in the beautiful locale of the Dubai Creek, complete with the traditional Arabian architecture of Al Shindagha and Al Ghubaiba.

Want something more challenging? Then get ready for the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on 25 January, 2019. Considered one of the fastest marathon courses in the world, it attracts the best of the best. Next year also marks the milestone 20th anniversary of the event.

If you’re more of a casual runner, then the perfect event is the Nike+ Run Club Dubai 10K, which sees thousands of enthusiasts take over the downtown area, plus a fun after-run party. For something out of the ordinary, take part in the Colour Run on 10 November, otherwise known as the ‘happiest 5km on the planet’.