The Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC) returns for its sixth edition on Saturday October 29 2022, encouraging residents to exercise for 30 minutes a day for 30 successive days. The event, which runs until November 27, has become a mainstay on the Dubai calendar.
Over the years it has proved a vital entry point to exercise and an active lifestyle for many, while helping others achieve new fitness goals and milestones. With a huge range of related events taking place across the emirate, Livehealthy rounds up what to look out for in the 2022 Dubai Fitness Challenge.
Run and Ride Sheikh Zayed Road
Arguably the annual highlight of DFC, the Dubai Run presented by Mai Dubai is the world’s largest free fun run and this year takes place on Sunday November 20. A section of Sheikh Zayed Road, from the iconic Museum of the Future to Dubai Canal, is off-limits to cars as competitors of all levels take to the tarmac. More experienced runners may prefer the 10km route, which follows SZR to the Dubai Canal, before ending on Al Mustaqbal Street near DIFC. Beginners would be better suited to the 5km option, passing Dubai Opera, Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa.
Before that, those on two wheels can take to the SZR as part of Dubai Ride presented by DP World, which returns on November 5. Tens of thousands of cyclists are expected to once again take up the rare opportunity to pedal down Sheikh Zayed Road and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard. The 12km SZR route stretches from Dubai World Trade Centre to Safa Park and back, including a climb over the Dubai Canal Bridge, while the 4km Downtown family route offers a more accessible, flat ride for all ages and abilities.
On the weekend of November 12 and 13, exercise enthusiasts can flock to the first ever EXPO City Dubai Sports and Fitness Weekend, which is set to host an array of classes and activities including Crank cycling, yoga, gymnastics, Barry’s Bootcamp and LES MILLS Body Balance and Body Grit sessions. The EXPO City Dubai Run, powered by Gatorade takes place on November 12, offering distances of 3k, 5k, 10k or 15km, while those preferring to pedal can participate in the EXPO City Dubai Ride and pass by existing pavilions, parks and surrounding attractions with race distances of 12km, 18km, 40km and 74km.
Race to the Finish
There are a huge number of other partner events and races for those looking to add a slightly more competitive element to their DFC experience. The Dubai Holding SkyRun challenges participants to race up the 52 floors, 1334 steps, 265 meters of Jumeirah Emirates Towers on November 12, while on November 2 the inaugural Dubai Harbour Night Race offers spectacular views of Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, JBR and Al Ain Dubai along 3k, 5k and 10k routes. Neon clothing essential. Further races include the Emirates NBD Unity Run, which welcomes many people of determination and promoted inclusivity, as well as the La Mer 3.2km Long Distance swim and Mai Dubai Half City Marathon.
Spectators can also take in some of the world’s best elite sporting events as golf’s DP World Tour Championship returns to Dubai, along with the Emirates International Beach Soccer Cup, Beach Pro Tour volleyball, the World Padel Championship and the Under Armour UAE Turf Games.
There will be two DFC Fitness Villages open for business for the next month, with the facilities at Kite Beach and Last Exit Al Khawaneej providing a pair of key hubs across the city for events and activities. At the RTA Last Exit Al Khawaneej Fitness Village there will be five different fitness zones and the opportunity for an immediate reward for 30×30 exercise courtesy of one of Last Exit’s numerous food trucks. Among the range of workouts on offer at the RTA Main Stage are endurance spin classes, while at the Aster ladies-only studio there will be opportunities to partake in Pilates, core conditioning, deep stretching and Tabata.
The DP World Fitness Village Kite Beach returns to Kite Beach with 15 sports and fitness zones, open 7am to 11pm on weekends and 3pm to 11pm on weekdays. A multi-purpose court will enable people to play football, basketball and volleyball, while there is a bespoke Emirates Padel court for Padel tennis too. Live classes from the region’s top fitness ambassadors and instructors will take place on the village’s Etisalat by E& Main Stage, while the Aviv Tower will host a series of rowing classes (Aviv Row) and spinning classes (Aviv Ride). The Emirates NBD Cricket Arena is open for 8-a-side bookings and football fans can take on a series of challenges like penalty shootouts and volley drills at The Box by Nissan Zone.
World Cup Preview
In celebration of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is set to begin in Qatar on November 20, up to 128 teams will take part in four youth 5-a-side football tournaments — Under-11s and Under-14s for boys and girls — at the multipurpose pitch at DP World Fitness Village Kite Beach. More than 1,000 young players will compete in the mini-World Cup, with teams reflecting the national teams who have made it to the finals in Qatar.
Nineteen new fitness hubs are due to open up during DFC, including Bluewaters, Champs Sports & Fitness Club, Dubai Design District (D3), DIFC, DMCC in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dragon Mall, Dubai Police Officers Club, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Inspiratus Sport District (ISD) at Dubai Sports City, Hatta, Mohammed bin Rashid Library (MBRL), The Palm Jumeirah, The Space-Dubai Investment Park, Zabeel Ladies Club, Zabeel Sports District, The Beach, Sport Society, Dubai Hills Mall and Dubai Festival City Mall. It means almost all Dubai residents will be close to a location where free fitness access is available, with hundreds of community events set to be hosted for families around the emirate.
• The Dubai Fitness Challenge 2022 runs from October 29 to November 27 – register at www.dubaifitnesschallenge.com
Mark is a Dubai-based writer who has couch-surfed through Ukraine, broken bread with football fans in Basra, and appeared on a boxing reality TV show in the UAE – all in pursuit of a good story. Or at least an average anecdote.