I ran a race and got two doughnuts. And a camel shaped medal. It was 100% rad and I wish I could do it every weekend.
The Donut 10 is an annual race hosted by a local running club called the Mirdif Milers. The race takes place in Mushrif Park, about half an hour of from Downtown Burj Khalifa, and takes in two gently undulating loops of the cycle path through the desert park.
The night before the race there had been a magnificent storm. I, unfortunately, had slept all the way through it (love a storm!) but apparently the Burj Khalifa had been struck by lightning and there had been biblical amounts of rain. My sister flew out of Dubai airport at 2am and the engine of her plane was struck by lightning! When I walked through Burj Park to meet my friends to get a taxi to the start I saw workers in wellies sweeping huge lakes of water from the marble to the one drain in the park – I don’t think Dubai is that well equipped for rain!
Given this, all the roads were completely waterlogged and so the start of the race was delayed to give participants time to reach the start. Despite the last minute changes, the start was well organised and the Mirdif Milers seemed a very friendly bunch indeed. No official bag drop but a club member opened up her car for people to use as storage, which was very kind, and lots of club members were about helping with race numbers and pack collection.
The start was a little odd. We walked to what felt like a random part on the cycle path, took a photo and before we knew it everyone had started running. We bobbed along in the crowd and didn’t reach a timing mat until just before the 2 mile mark, yet still managed to get accurate time recordings…maybe the Mirdif Milers are also magical wizards?
I was, as usual, running with my Dubai running pal Chloe. She had said that she would like to get round the 10 miles in under 1:40 and I had said I was happy to set the pace. Unfortunately I had been a total plonker and left my watch behind, so our only measure of pace was my own guesstimation with Chloe’s non-GPS enabled Runkeeper piping up every five minutes. We needed to run a 10 minute mile and off I went at a pace I thought was as such. Chloe’s Runkeeper piped up after 5 minutes – current pace 9:01 minute mile. Oops. Nonetheless, Chloe said she felt good and was happy to keep going at pace.
The route was stunning. A winding path through a sandy park, littered with low bushes and palm trees (I was too busy running to take a photo though, sorry). It was a paradigm of ‘gently undulating’ with frequent ups and downs of varying steepness and very few flat bits, which made for a really fun run. Chloe’s approach to hills is the same as mine – head down and speed up – and we overtook runners on every single hill! I am proud of that.
As we embarked on our second lap the pace started to get to Chloe, who was already struggling with a cold and had started to get an oxygen deficit (THE WORST). We slowed up to about a 9:30 minute mile around mile 6, and then down again to nearer a 10 minute mile as we approached the final miles.
I know I am always writing on here about how much of a badass Chloe is but this isn’t going to stop me now! The biggest hill of the course is about a mile out from the end of the loop. As we started the inclie Chloe turned to me, struggling to get enough air, and said she didn’t think she could do it. I told her she definitely could. We slowed down and just focussed on the climb and, of course, made it over the top. We made our way through the final mile slowly and then, about 1/4 mile out, Chloe started to kick. We sped through the final straight and overtook so many people – even the microphone guy at the finish line started to commentate!
“Here come numbers 136 and 105, they’ve overtaken number 213…coming up behind number 84, who’s going to win?! (number 84 looks behind, terrified, and starts speeding up) ooooh, number 136 just has it, followed by 105!”
As soon as we crossed the finish line Chloe admitted she hadn’t realised we were so far from the finish line when she started speeding up but, nonetheless, we definitely crossed the finish line in style. I am always impressed with her mental strength and am proud to run with her.
Not sure why my camera has inflicted this weird dream like effect on us.
At the finish line there were dozens and dozens of Dunkin’ Donuts (race sponsor!) as well as gold, silver and bronze camel shaped medals. A gold is always going to be out of my league (one hour – 6 minute miles!) but I’d love to go back and have a go at a silver (1:20 – 8 minute miles). Chloe and I came in under target at 1:37 and so bagged ourself a bronze. It’s a beauty ey?
There was a lovely prize giving ceremony at the end covering lots of age groups – it was lovely to see so many people get prizes and it felt like a really happy community event. I really enjoyed it and would thoroughly recommend it!