Dubai Fitness Challenge – aka the Dubai 30 x 30, which aims to get everyone in the city exercising for 30 minutes a day all month long – keeps growing. The 2018 event recorded an impressive 34 percent increase on 2017, with more than one million people registering to participate.
This year is no different in terms of scale. Running from October 18 to November 16 across the city, organizers have planned more than 40 events and 5,000 fitness classes. There are two large-scale fitness villages at Kite Beach and Festival City Mall and 10 community hubs, not to mention some seriously big names in fitness coming to town to help you sweat.
Joe Wicks and other big names
So far only a few names have been revealed but as always with the Dubai Fitness Challenge, there are more surprises in store.
Joe Wicks (aka The Body Coach) is teaching a HIIT class on October 26. This famous fitness influencer, known for bodyweight high intensity interval training workouts, will lead a group class on the 26th. This is part of an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for the largest HIIT class.
The Mountain from Game of Thrones is coming back on October 25. The World’s Ultimate Strongman is happening again this year and current reigning champion Thor Bjornsson, aka The Mountain from GoT, will be back. Head over to Meydan Racecourse to see big names in heavy lifting do incredible things, like drag a truck or carry really heavy balls. You can also stroll through some muscle cars and enjoy glitter face painting and archery (from Dh195).
MoveU, Ricky Warren and Brian Keane are on their way. This is part of the MeFit Summit from November 14 to 16. MoveU shot to fame by focusing on healing your body. Ricky Warren is a sports therapist who shares mobility methods with some 58,000 followers on Instagram, while Brian Keane is an author focused on the fitness mindset. These are just some of the 20 international speakers scheduled for the MeFit summit. If that’s not enough, there are five fitness sessions per hour and plenty of time for folks to network (from Dh345).
What’s new with the Dubai 30×30
There’s going to be a new personalize-your-workout aspect to the website. Called ‘Find your 30’, this online hub lets you access fitness inspiration, plus find up-to-date info on what’s happening around town.
There’s also going to be a virtual workout map. The new City is a Gym feature is a virtual map spanning 30 locations around Dubai. You basically go to a place, scan a QR code and then get a workout that you can do at the location without any equipment.
Kite Beach Fitness Village is pretty fun. From 7am to 11pm, Thursday to Saturday, you can play basketball, box, do martial arts and yoga, paddle board, canoe and more. There’s a special kids area. For extreme athletes, a ‘Get Tougher’ Tough Mudder course lets you practice getting muddy and clambering over obstacles.
The Festival City Mall Fitness Village has lots of AC-cooled fitness games. Running from midday to 10pm, Sunday to Wednesday, and midday to midnight from Thursday to Saturday, this indoor-outdoor fitness hub lets you play all sorts of quirky exercise games. There’s Robo-Keeper for football fans, a Jump Station, and an ‘Imagine’ fitness-themed show with choreography from Fitness First instructors.
Other DFC events
The Pointe at The Palm. King and Queen titles for The Palm are up for grabs on October 25. In this quirky open-water event, you can swim around and if you’re really good, be crowned King or Queen of The Pointe. Distances vary from 200m to 1.4km and the cost is from Dh47.62.
Mercedes-Benz Rushaway Challenge. If you need another Mercedes in your life, there’s an event for that. The Mercedes-Benz Rushaway Challenge is back on November 1. Very much like The Amazing Race, this contest will have you driving between seven stations. Expect clues, games, high-pressure moments, archery, go-karting, and plenty more camera-worthy-situations. If you win, you get a brand new Mercedes. Plus the five-star hotel lunch is pretty epic. Tickets start at Dh299 but shoot up to Dh329 for last minute participants.
Les Mills is relaunching Body Combat. If you’ve never tried Body Combat, an intense cardio workout somewhere between a dance and a Nintendo game warrior battle, you’re missing out. This latest version of this Les Mills class is relaunching this month with free sessions at Kite Beach. Dates: October 22 at 6pm, October 25 at 6pm, November 2 at 8pm, November 9 at 6pm, and November 15 at 6pm.
Mai City Half Marathon on October 25. For all those folks working towards getting their steps in, this one might still be a bit too toasty but Bikram running is going to take off at some stage. This is the first half-marathon to happen in DIFC, and the course will take you around the financial centre (from Dh80) on October 25.
Do some good for others. On October 26, join the MBC Run the Creek with distances from 2.5km to 10km. All proceeds go to Al Jalila Foundation (from Dh50 entry fee). If you fancy joining 3,000 participants on bikes and rollerblades, book into the Dubai Pink Ride on November 1. This one is focused on awareness, but you can donate to charity. Two weeks later on November 15, you can join the Beat Diabetes Walk at a cost of just Dh20 per adult, Dhs10 for kids. All entry fees go to the Al Jalila Foundation.
Get dirty in a Tough Mudder on November 15. If you feel like crawling through mud, jumping over obstacles and paying someone for the pleasure, this is the event for you. Tough Mudder has 25 challenges (including leaping across water and walking along tight ropes) all set between 5km to 12km worth of running. Prices start at Dh350.
Emirates Towers is letting people run up its 1,334 steps. This is a paid-for event but the Dh262.50 fee goes to the Al Jalila Foundation. This sky-high race allows you to sprint up Jumeirah Emirates Towers. You will be joined by vertical runners from around the world, all striving to climb 52 flights of stairs. There’s brekkie afterwards.
Danae Mercer is a freelance health and travel journalist. In addition to working as editor-in-chief of Women's Health Middle East and Men's Health Middle East, Danae has written for The Sunday Times, CNN Travel, Dubai Tourism, The Guardian, Afar, Bloomberg and many more. She's based in Dubai and is a trainer at Crank. instagram.com/danaemercer