It's the end of the semester at Abu Dhabi Men's College, the tests have been given and corrected. The grades have been submitted. Everyone is pretty much waiting out the last few days until we go on break. I've been busy getting ready for next semester. I have a lot of time, but for the most part, I've been working on getting the tablet PC up and running. I was having issues with one of the main features, writing in word documents with the stylus. While, I think that the IT people at are school are highly qualified, I did enjoy watching four people scratching their heads and trying to figure out why I had the one tablet with problems and what was different about my particular tablet than the ones that worked. They finally gave up and gave me a new one. That was after over 24 hours of attempted troubleshooting.
Thursday is our last day that we have to be at work before we get our two weeks of vacation. Personally, I don't mind hanging out at work and not being busy. It gives me the chance to make sure that I'm ready for the new semester now rather than doing it an hour before I go to bed the last day of vacation. From watching people sneak off early these past few days due to having little to do, I'm guessing that Thursday after lunch will be fairly empty. That's why I decided to do a half-marathon late Thursday afternoon.
I've been wanting to run a half-marathon but couldn't find one scheduled anywhere near me so signed up for the Dubai Marathon later this month. I haven't been following much of a training program but make sure that I run, cycle or swim 5 or 6 days a week. I've been nervous about the full marathon and know I'm not ready for it. That's why when I first heard about the half-marathon this past Sunday, I signed up.
I was running with a group of people that I usually run with on Sundays and they were all talking about it. They told me where to go to sign up. When I got home I looked for it online but could barely find anything apart from a few casual mentions about it in some local publications. I eventually found the link to the website but it was only in Arabic. Yes, I understand that I live in a country in which the first language is Arabic. However, when you consider that 80% of the population is foreign and of the 20% that are citizens, very few are physically active, there should be some English on the site, especially when it's called the Zayed International Half-Marathon (second annual nonetheless).
Here's where it starts to get weird. I went and signed up for the event three days before the event no problem, am handed a t-shit and cap and told that there's no charge for the entry. Then on the application I read that there are prizes for the first ten finishers including a $300,000 first prize and $100,000 second prize. Just to put this into perspective, the Boston Marathon which has been going for over 100 years, is one of the most well-known marathons in the world and that you have to qualify for has an entry fee of $130 and a prize of $150,000 for the top finisher.
I talked this over with a few people, (some of which have also been looking for a half marathon in the area to run and were annoyed that they couldn't swing this on such short notice) and the conclusion that I've come to is: very limited publicity plus excessive prize money for a half marathon equals an excuse to give money to someone who's fairly sure that they're going to win and doesn't want too much competition. That's not even taking into account the sudden venue change within the past week or two that puts the half-marathon running right past my apartment.
At any rate, it's nice to know that I'll be able to participate in an event with such international prestige.