Dubai, UAE: Two hundred people gathered at Emirates Towers on Friday to climb 1,334 stairs - 52 floors and 265 metres - in a vertical marathon organised to raise money to aid diabetes research.
The annual Dubai Holding Vertical Marathon, which is organised by the Jumeirah Emirates Towers, raised Dh280,000 - the highest sum collected since its launch 12 years ago.
The marathon has established itself as one of Dubai’s main fundraising events with more than Dh1.3 million raised so far for life-improving charities.
The event raised Dh151,332.50 last year, and Dh170,000 in 2012 for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders).
"The marathon is a good way to keep the community busy and active, and this year we are raising money with a focus on Type 2 diabetes," said Cedric Betis, chairman of Dubai Holding Wellness Committee and group director of Wellness.
All the proceeds this year will be given to the Al Jalila Foundation, an organisation established by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to uplift the health of the UAE population by supporting medical treatment, education and research.
The foundation focuses on five health issues - diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, obesity and mental health.
Sulaiman Baharoun, fundraising manager at Al Jalila Foundation told Gulf News that with a high number of people suffering from diabetes in the UAE, the need for funds to aid in the research and treatment of the condition is necessary.
"This event encourages people to take part in sports and spreads awareness on diabetes - and this year, the marathon has collected the largest amount of funds in its history," he said.
A personal goal
Ascending 265 metres in 9.52 minutes, Paul Drury from the UK came first in the men’s category, while British expat Vicki Matheson came first in the women’s category with 12.36 minutes.
"I decided to take part in the step climb as a personal challenge and goal - I think it’s very important to stay active and include exercise in your daily lifestyle," said Matheson.
Along with the men’s and women’s categories, the marathon also included an under-18 category, a category for a team under 38 and another for a team over those over 38.
Dubai Holding saw participation of teams from its companies including Jumeirah Group, Dubai Properties Group and TECOM Investments, as part of its Corporate Wellness Programme. The programme aims to improve the health and wellbeing of employees and impact the wider community through balanced nutrition, physical activity, stress management and general health.
Among the winners, two teams from Dubai Holding landed both third place with 16.59 minutes, and first place with 11.08 minutes in the over-38 category.
Adults were charged Dh500 to take part while children were charged Dh350, which was inclusive of a breakfast buffet.
© Gulf NewsApr 2014