Dubai kicks off AAWA Sportive 2020

Date: 11th September 2020
Venue: District One Cycling & Running Track – Meydan
Time: 5pm
Participants: 45
Age Range: 8 – 71 years
Distance: 1,680 kms
Stanmore Jafferys Cycling Team reached out to Jaffery Sports Dubai to partake in their annual Ali Asghar Water Appeal Sportive 2020 in partnership with WF-AID. Jaffery Sports soon after got in touch with the small but avid group of cyclists who did not hesitate to take up organising this event.
It started off with registrations to gauge interest. Due to weather conditions in the Middle East, the most popular time for a sportive like this is at the break of dawn but being an event to raise awareness, we agreed that 5pm on a Friday would work best for all and bring out maximum participation.
Remarkably towards the end of the week leading to the event we got 45 registrations with most participants opting to ride and some to walk/jog with distances ranging from 10kms to 100kms. This was a positive sign and soon we got on to the drawing board to discuss the few challenges at hand. The most obvious being the current COVID-19 restrictions. We quickly realised we will not be able to keep all 45 participants together during the event. As per the government guidelines only groups of 5 maximum are allowed on the track. This brought us on to our next agenda which was event location. Luckily in Dubai we are blessed with designated cycling tracks located all around the city, the most convenient & popular being the District One Cycling & Running Track which is at the heart of the city overlooking the world tallest building, The Burj Khalifa. This is a one way track, with two lanes in a form of a circuit of just over 9kms which was ideal for such an event.
Once we got the venue confirmed next we discussed start time of the event, considering current temperatures averaging 36 degrees Celsius with humidity levels of 60-70%. With the number of participants we thought it would be best to start off around 5pm on the Friday of the same weekend Stanmore had planned for all communities world wide.
On the day of the event, amazingly, our planning and clear guidelines paid off and everything fell into place perfectly. Irfaan Karim was in charge of the group who required rentals and organised for all to arrive on time to hand over the bike rentals and lead them on to the track.
Participants who rode with their own bikes were set off in groups of 5 by myself.
Although there were 2 start locations and groups were split into 5 we still managed to meet all along the track and regroup at Maghrib to do our Salat. As for the riders who opted for distances of 40+ kms, we organised 2 groups, one of which was for advanced riders to complete 85-100kms and the other was an intermediate group to complete 50-70kms.
Alhamdulillah all participants achieved their target distance and enjoyed the event with plenty to catch up with amongst themselves and once again felt the community spirit. It was truly refreshing to promote a healthy lifestyle after months of being indoors and not meeting as often as we are used to.
A big thank you to Imran Mamdani & Mohamed Ladha from Stanmore Jafferys Cycling for reaching out to Jaffery Sports Dubai and giving us the opportunity to be a part of this campaign.
InshAllah look forward to more events in the future.
Written by Ali Akbar Khimjee
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