quotes Riyadh Marathon 2023 sees impressive turnout in its second edition

11 February 2023
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Updated 11 February 2023
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Riyadh Marathon 2023 sees impressive turnout in its second edition

RIYADH: Whenever I attend a marathon, I can feel its unique energy. This was especially true of the long-distance races in Bahrain and Hurghada, Egypt. Everywhere I looked, the people around me were brimming with positivity.

At the recent Riyadh Marathon, I could see the same joy on the faces of the participants, and it was contagious.

During my last sporting events, I met a number of Saudi athletic teams, from Alkhobar to Riyadh and Jeddah, who were passionate about the sport and eager to promote it.

When I went to retrieve my badge for the competition on Friday morning, there was a long line of people — and a notable number of female participants — queuing up to also get their badges for the race.

As Riyadh encourages its residents to take part in more outdoor sports and exercise, lately, there has been a clear increase in the number of people participating in activities in areas like Wadi Hanifa and Wadi Webair — and this latest marathon is sure to achieve the same effect.

The Saudi Sports for all Federation, which organized the marathon, aims to motivate 40 percent of the population to engage in sports activities by the year 2030. 

With the starting point at King Saud University, runners can take in all the sights that Riyadh has to offer as they make their way through its bustling streets.

This year, a total of 15,000 athletes of every fitness level signed up for the marathon, with 6,000 of them choosing the 4 km race.

For the second time, Riyadh is hosting a marathon open to people of all ages and backgrounds who have the choice of participating in the full marathon (42 km), the half marathon (21 km) or the 10 km race. For kids, families or simply those who are new to running, there is a special 4 km race.

This year’s turnout for the event has proved to be a bit higher than the previous one, in which 10,000 people participated. 

After receiving my badge, I made my way through the many stands that the marathon’s partners set up to promote a healthy and eco-friendly lifestyle and enhance the quality of life in the city. 

My attention was drawn to the Sports Boulevard, a route that stretches 135 km, running through the city from east to west, with cycling lanes, equestrian trails, running paths and sports and entertainment facilities. 

This great endeavor will certainly inspire the people of Riyadh to live a healthy life and take part in more outdoor activities, including walking, biking and horseback riding — all of which could potentially raise the number of participants in the Riyadh Marathon in the years ahead. 

  • Roba Al-Johani is a former news reporter with Bloomberg and is a senior content developer at Red Sea Global.