In my last post I mentioned at the end I was excited for the next time I go to Dubai. Well, when I wrote that, I forgot I'd be going again very soon. I was there twice within the past few days. On Thursday I had to go again to pick up my number and computer chip for my marathon then again on Friday for the actual marathon.
The Dubai Marathon actually was international. Hailie Gebrselassie, the current marathon record holder, won for the third year in a row. I only mention that because having him there made it a pretty big thing and that the prize for first place was a measly $250,000 as opposed to the $300,000 first prize for the Abu Dhabi Half-marathon two weeks ago.
While the prize money for first place wasn't as good, The Dubai event did have several advantages to the Abu Dhabi one. The website was available in English. They actually told people about it. They didn't start letting cars down the course route while the amateurs were still running. They had first aid stations. They had sports drinks available at the stations in a limited fashion. There's a good chance that they'll give such trivial information such as finishing times and place (this remains to be seen, but I'm pretty sure they will). They assisted runners at the end of it instead of just letting people lay all over. The finish wasn't 3 kilometers from the start. Everyone got a nice medal instead of a key chain. The Abu Dhabi race had the advantages of being free and being half as long, but I don't know if that's an actual advantage. It seemed like it at the time.
Overall, I was pretty happy with the whole thing. While Dubai almost bankrupted themselves paying for all the shiny buildings, they did a good job of putting themselves on the map as far as a destination for tourism and international events. With Dubai having to put a halt on construction projects and Abu Dhabi starting to spend mad amounts of money, they seem to be trying to play catch-up. I still stand by the statement that Abu Dhabi is a more livable city, though I don't know how much longer that will last.