Dubai puts a different slant on the Olympic motto of citius, altius, fortius. Development was dynamic, the bust was bigger, as was the bail-out, and the towers are taller. Now, in the wake of Monday’s opening of the Burj Khalifa, rising more than 800 metres over the desert floor, the emirate awaits the arrival of Haile Gebrselassie, fastest man in the world at the longest race.
Inside a decade, the upcoming Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon (January 22) has gone from a backwater event to one of the world’s fastest races. That says race director Peter Connerton is thanks to several factors. “Standard Chartered coming in as title sponsor half a dozen years ago put us on a firm basis, and Dubai Holding putting up a million dollars prize money (with a $1m bonus for a world record) two years ago helped us to get Haile on board.