5,000+ Runners at Start Line and Huge Crowds Spectating Despite Rainy Conditions
Heavy rain failed to dampen enthusiasm for the 2020 Ooredoo Doha Marathon, which Qatar’s leading telecommunications company declared a huge success with a record-breaking 5,000+ runners making the event the biggest since its inauguration in 2013.
The marathon, a much-anticipated fixture on Doha’s sporting calendar, was held at Museum of Islamic Art Park starting at 6.30am on Friday. The cream of the world’s greatest elite athletes signed up to race 42.2km through the streets of Doha, with professional runners taking their places alongside citizens and residents running in both the full marathon and the shorter distances. A half-marathon, a 10k race and courses for children and families ensured the event was open to everyone, and running through puddles only added to the fun for many of the participants.
Runners from more than 80 countries took part, with the youngest runner aged just 5 years and the oldest an impressive 77 years old.
In the Men’s Full Marathon Open category, Morocco’s Anouar El Ghouz scooped top spot with a time of ((2:17:10 hours, while Sheila Chesang, from Kenya, won the Women’s Full Marathon Open category with a time of (2:40:33) hours. The Full Marathon Master category was won by Erik Svoboda of Czech Republic and Marie Helene Duvoid of France, while the Half Marathon Open winners were Kenya’s Kibet Alex with a time of (1:06:35( hours, and Andrea Stadler of Ecuador with a time of (1:35:53( hours, and Half Marathon Master winners were Croatian Janez Maroevic and Briton Rachel Knight. 10k Open winners were Said Omar from Somalia and Zineb Karam of Morocco, and 10k Master winners were Qatari Mohamed Al Mulla and Joanne Trowbridge of the United Kingdom.
Muktar Husen and Nada Al Banna won the 5k Adult races, with Abdelaziz Abdelrahman Suliman and Anna Sanchez Ristol winning the 5k Juniors. The 3k Fun Run was won by Millar Bathgate and Gabriella Franklin, and the 1k Fun Run by Taha Yassine Bhara and Sophia Warren.
Scores of Doha residents lined the streets to witness some incredible performances from the world’s top marathon professionals and to cheer on all runners. Aside from watching the running, the event included several activities for all the family to enjoy in MIA Park, and there was an electric atmosphere both around the race course and in the park.
A post-race celebration, attended by senior Ooredoo representatives, was held at Ooredoo Tower in West Bay to present winners with their prizes and thank the many valuable sponsors. In line with Ooredoo’s corporate social responsibility strategy and its commitment to supporting the communities in which it operates, all funds generated from the Ooredoo Doha Marathon each year go directly to a chosen charitable organisation. Qatar Cancer Society will be the recipient of this year’s cheque.
Speaking about the event, Ooredoo CEO Waleed Al Sayed, said: “We’re immensely proud to note this year’s marathon was the biggest ever, with participant numbers breaking the already impressive record set in 2018. Judging by the crowds and the incredible atmosphere, we’re confident both runners and spectators enjoyed an amazing event despite the weather! We extend our congratulations to the marathon winners, but also to each and every participant who signed up and raced. We welcomed runners from all sectors of the community, including the differently abled, underlining our commitment to making Doha, Qatar and our many events accessible to all.”
Waleed Al Sayed highlighted the importance of the event as part of Ooredoo’s corporate social responsibility strategy, which aligns with the United Nations sustainability goals and Qatar National Vision 2030, and expressed his gratitude to those involved in organising the event. “Supporting sporting events that promote a healthy, active lifestyle is a key commitment for Ooredoo, and – especially with our slogan being ‘Empowering you to win’ – it was encouraging to see so many people embracing sport and fitness and joining in. I’d like to offer our sincere gratitude to the stellar line-up of sponsors on board this year, and to the many volunteers, without whose support the event could not happen,” he said.
The annual Ooredoo Doha Marathon, first held in 2013, was designed to encourage Qatari citizens and residents to embrace an active lifestyle and has grown into a much-anticipated event for experienced marathon runners, fitness enthusiasts and novices alike. It is now one of the most popular events on Qatar’s sporting calendar, attracting the cream of the international marathon crop, and is an exciting opportunity for Qatar-based runners to compete against international marathon professionals. The marathon marks the start of a packed schedule of sporting events throughout the year, as Ooredoo continues to support Qatar’s drive to promote health and fitness amongst its citizens and residents.