The stage is all set for the Ooredoo Doha Marathon as a stellar field of international athletes is ready to take part in the event tomorrow.
As many as 20 elite men and women will be joining a record number of more than 2,000 amateur athletes who have already signed up for the mega event. These top athletes will represent Qatar’s key tourism markets including the USA, UK, Germany, Italy, Turkey as well as Spain and Portugal.
Commenting on their participation Chief Marketing and Promotion Officer at Qatar Tourism Authority Rashed al-Qurese said, “Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030 identifies sports tourism as one of four key pillars for the development of the tourism sector. As Qatar continues to witness developments in its infrastructure and facilities, it is steadily becoming a preferred destination for some of the world’s leading sports clubs and federations to host training camps, all of which resonates with Qatar’s message of welcoming the world.”
He added: “As sports tourism partner, we would like to extend a warm welcome to Sir Mo Farah and all our elite athletes participating in the Ooredoo Doha Marathon 2018. The Marathon takes place at the beginning of the year, allowing us to capitalise on country’s pleasant winter weather as we work to position the Marathon in the calendar of international sports events.”
Apart from Mo Farah, the six-time world champion and four-time Olympic gold medallist, British long-distance runners Chris Thompson and Gemma Steele will also begin 2018 by competing in the half marathon event at the Ooredoo Doha Marathon.
The British trio and 17 fellow elite men and women will compete over 13.1 miles, with a record number of 2,000 amateur runners lining up in mass participation for Doha Marathon.
Farah, the 10-time global track gold medallist, will begin his full tenure as a road competitor in the Qatari capital as he prepares for The Big Half in March and the London Marathon in April.
Among those joining Farah and Thompson, winner of the Great Scottish Run in 2017, are Germany’s marathon record holder Arne Gabius, Turkey’s two-time Olympian Bekir Karayel, American duo Ryan Vail and Abdi Abdirahman, who finished third in the New York City Marathon in 2016, and Michael Shelley.
“I’m excited to compete at the Ooderoo Doha Marathon; this is my first time in Qatar. The half marathon race is a great fit into my overall plans for 2018, since I’m preparing for a spring marathon. It will be great to get a break from training and test my fitness against some of the best athletes in the world. My family is here with me, so I’m even more excited. No doubt we will enjoy the weather and we hope to visit some of the cultural institutes, like the Museum of Islamic Art,” Gabius, German marathon record holder and 18-time national champion, said.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games marathon champion Shelley is one of the favourites for the event. He is using the event, as part of his preparation to defend his Commonwealth title later this year at the Gold Coast event.
In the women’s elite race, the 32-year-old Steele, who most recently won team gold at the European Cross Country Championships, will be joined by USA’s Allison Kieffer, Sara Dossena of Italy and Turkey’s Esma Aydemir.
“I am delighted to be competing in the 2018 Ooredoo Doha Marathon. The half marathon event offers a great course, some quality competition and a fantastic location in which to train and race. The facilities are top class and the people of Qatar are very welcoming. The organisation has been great too. I shall run my heart out for you,” said Steele, who has been training in Doha since December 30, 2017, for the event, said.
The elite half marathon has USD50,000 in prize money up for grabs, with equal prize funds for both the men’s and women’s events.
The invitational elite half is part of the Ooredoo Doha Marathon, which includes a full marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K events for adults and youth as well as 3K and 1K events for children. Over the past five years, the Ooredoo Doha Marathon has steadily grown to become the largest mass participation event in Qatar attracting runners from over 50 nationalities.
Mo Farah (GBR)
Chris Thompson (GBR)
Abdi Abdirahman (USA)
Arne Gabius (GER)
Hendrik Pfeiffer (GER)
Bekir Karayel (TUR)
Ryan Vail (USA)
Scotty Bauhs (USA)
Ayad Lamdassem (ESP)
Daniele Meucci (ITA)
Michael Shelley (AUS)
Ivan Fernandez (ESP)
Gemma Steele (GBR)
Sara Dossena (ITA)
Esma Aydemir (TUR)
Allie Kieffer (USA)
Emma Bates (USA)
Melina Wolf (GER)
Azucena Diaz (ESP)
Monica Silva (POR)