Along with races in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ajman, the Dubai City Swim is part of the new UAE City Swim Series (part of the wider Global Swim Series), with new locations to be added over the coming year.
The swim was organised by the Dubai Holding Corporate Wellness Programme in partnership with the Dubai Sports Council. Nearly 700 entrants had the rare opportunity to swim around one of the world’s most famous luxury hotels, the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah in an 800 or 1600 metre swim around the island - normally impossible due to the high levels of boat traffic, and strong currents.
Alastair Park (pictured in blue, right, with Peter Stubbs, Compliance Director for the Astutis client, Jumeirah Group, far left), Head of the Astutis Middle East Office based in Dubai, undertook the event this year in memory of a dear colleague and friend who lost his battle to cancer last year. He said:
‘I always spoke about doing the Burj swim with a good friend and we had planned it for this year, but unfortunately he passed away from an aggressive cancer 18 months ago aged just 38. It was my way of keeping a promise to him. Thinking of Mike and his family helped me get around the course. It was hard going but I was pleased with my time of 50 minutes and was none the worse for wear for a few jellyfish stings!’
The event forms part of the UAE’s 2017 Year of Giving, and all proceeds will be donated to the Al Jalila Foundation’s Obesity Research and has proved one of the most popular fundraising events in the Emirates since the first swim in 2002.
Stefan Leser, CEO of Jumeirah Group, said: “The Dubai Holding Burj Al Arab swim is a unique occasion and a truly distinctive experience offering a fantastic opportunity to swim the around the world’s most luxurious hotel.”
Lifeguards and expert kayakers were on hand for the entire race which took place in the UAE’s winter season meaning the air temperature is around the mid-20C mark and the water temperature is approximately 20C – a positively bath-like temperature to us here in the UK!