The Dubai Marathon -or- Mom and Dad visit the Middle East

However you want to title it, this is a really cool post to be making. One of the things I vowed, resolved (whatever), to do this year was to run more. I’m not a huge fan of running, I hate it really – but the benefits to your health are black and white. So, last year I signed up to run the Dubai Marathon, well…ok just a portion of it. But none-the-less it was time again to lace up my sneakers (pun intended) and head out.

This trip was different from my past trips though, as I was meeting my parents on the other side. They’d flown into Dubai a couple days ahead of me (armed with my Dubai in a day guide) to see the city. Then they were going to come cheer me on for the race, and together we were headed back to my new home so I could show them around where I was living. I couldn’t have been more excited!

Emirates has fast become my favorite airline since moving over here. They really are the best for comfort, quality, food and fare. I’m getting great deals on their website when it comes to booking. As per usual…if anyone from Emirates is reading this and they want to sponsor me – I’m open to sponsorship. Let’s do this!

I landed really early in the morning, went and got my visitor sim card and then hailed an UBER and made it to our hotel in time to join my parents for breakfast in the lobby. My dad handled the hotel for this one, which had us in the middle of downtown Dubai at the swanky Shangri La Dubai. After feasting on coffee and hummus (did I mention I’m an addict) we set about our day. We had to get to the Burj Khalifa because we had reservations to go to “AT THE TOP”. Word to the wise, or as I like to call them Pro-Travel tip: Book your tickets for the top of the Burj in advance, it’s cheaper than buying them there in the Burj itself.

Then enjoy the view!

Really this isn’t for the faint of heart. That is the Dubai mall and the famous dancing fountains below.

For a little extra you get access to the very very top lounge. And they serve you delicious drinks and sweets up there. You’re limited to 30 minutes at the top lounge. Totally worth it. I’m glad we did this, I didn’t have time when I was in Dubai last.

The next stop was to go pick up my race packet and get signed in for the run tomorrow. One of the reasons I have been running so much instead of weight training at the gym was preparing for this run.

Then something totally awesome and unexpected happened!!!! My mom and dad, who were checking out some of the vendors booths on a whim decided to sign up for the 5k that was also being offered! The run was the next day, they hadn’t been training, just decided to do it! I love my parents, and that spirit is definitely a family trait!

So we gathered up our packets, went back to the hotel to drop them off and then went out for a pre-race celebratory dinner. That’s totally a thing.

If you’ve read my blog in the past you’ll be familiar with my rave review of Joe’s. I still think it is one of the best places to watch the dancing fountains at the Burj – and the food is exceptional. It made sense to take my folks there for dinner to celebrate.

Race day was upon us! An early wake up and breakfast followed by an Uber across town to just near the Burj Al Arab for the start of the race. Runners were all getting dropped off along the highway and then making the mile long trek into the race area. Traffic was crazy! Even crazier trying to get out of there after the finish.

There was something to the sum of >30,000 participants this year.

Including no less than 3 of the Henderson clan!

My race started a bit earlier than mom and dad’s did. They nabbed on quick shot of me headed toward the start gates before they went up into the grand stands to watch the start.

They also caught the finishing stretch! I made sure to keep my eyes out for them, because I know my parents. They were both armed with cameras at the ready. (That’s mom’s pink phone in the bottom of the frame).

After finishing my race I decided to join my parents for their 5K as well. Just to round out my day. I loved that they got out on the course too and we had a great 5K. I love my family so much! So excited they came over!

After the race, we went back to the hotel, showered, cleaned up and then went and jumped onto the hop on hop off bus tour. They hadn’t seen the old part of Dubai yet, and that was the part I blogged about during my last trip to Dubai – so I was kind of an expert. Afterwards we went to dinner at one of the BEST steak places I’ve ever eaten at. Gauchos. If you’re looking for a great steak in Dubai, this place is worth it. Post race beer and steak is a thing right?

The next day we had one last big adventure on our agenda, a desert safari and dune adventure.

My awesome roaming parents!

Sunset on the dunes meant it was time to head to the camp for dinner and entertainment. This tour was exceptional, it was a great experience and I highly recommend it to anyone – no, everyone – that is going to visit Dubai. As with most of my posts, I suggest paying the little extra for VIP, worth it! Tour company and phone and website in the next picture.

The entrance to our “camp” where we had stores, a full bar, nice toilettes, live shows, all the shisha you could smoke, and a huge feast that was way too much food.

The stage and dining area

The shisha circle, also had a babbling water feature in the middle of it that changed colors with LED’s. Was a very cool set up.

Hadn’t seen Red Horse since I left the Philippines! Yum!

Seriously cool falcon!

Mom and dad at the VIP table – with our spread of food in front of us. It was way too much for us to eat, we were sharing it with a newlywed couple sitting behind us.


And there you have it! A very quick, but totally awesome couple of days in Dubai. We had an awesome time, ran a good race, toured around a lot and at the end of the day the best part was having my parents here. They’re some of the coolest people I know (I’m not just saying this because they’re the only ones that read this blog – hi mom).

Published by wanderingnick208

Nick Henderson is an FAA rated commercial pilot, world traveler, blogger, podcaster, photographer, and all-around good guy. His love of travel, adventure, food, and fun has taken him around the world and back again.

2 thoughts on “The Dubai Marathon -or- Mom and Dad visit the Middle East

  1. Other people read your blog! :-P Also….I have to ask – what was your distance and finish time? Still training for a full marathon? So proud of all the hard work you put in to be your healthiest and strongest version of you! xoxo

    1. Hey Courtney – I did 15K and finished in just a hair over 1:10:00

      No – I’m not training for a full marathon anymore. I’ve decided to focus back in on weight training and bodybuilding.

      I did however love the feeling of crossing the finish line, and did also…just buy a new pair of running shoes. So we will see.

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