Sure they make it look easy, but professional athletes like Mark Cavendish and Flora Duffy put pedal to the metal to make dreams come true.
They also inspire millions of people around the world, pushing us to tackle new challenges or even take the first step to fitness.
While you may not be ready to take on an Ironman, that doesn’t mean you can’t still test your limits.
Here are some events where you can fight your way to fitness and who knows, you may even find yourself on the podium.
24th Feb Spartan Abu Dhabi
The inaugural race looks to challenge your endurance and grit. Tackle the Spartan Super 13+km challenge with over 25 obstacles. There’s a 5+km sprint option for first-timers and a 1.5km junior option too. From AED 286, AED 110 for juniors. Al Ghazal Golf Club, near Abu Dhabi International Airport. Visit: spartan.com
10th March ADCB Zayed Sports City 5k & 10k Run
In the third race of the season, runners of all levels can take part in a 5k or 10k race on closed roads around Zayed Sports City. With an organised warm-up and music stations to help spur you on, it’s a good starting point for beginner runners, kids and those looking to make the move to 10k. AED 120-AED 180. Visit: zsc.ae
11th March Abu Dhabi Swimming Festival
Following its success last October, Abu Dhabi Swimming Festival is back to encourage amateur swimmers to dive in and get fit. There are options for both children and adults, from 100m individual categories to family relays, as well as the 1,600m Abu Dhabi Mile race and a half-mile version. Free for children, from AED 150 for adults, AED 200 for teams, AED 100 for families. Emirates Palace, Corniche West. Visit: swimabudhabi.com
Why not make a trip out of your race? Enjoy a weekend away, gather friends for a road trip or just enjoy a new challenge in different surroundings. Here are some upcoming events across the UAE and Oman.
4th March Ajman City Swim
Following events across the UAE, the City Swim series comes to a close in Ajman. Suitable for all abilities, swimmers can choose from 250m to 2,500m routes. Team and individual entry is available, and children as young as five years old can join in too. AED 185. Ajman Saray. Visit: city-swim.com
17th March Urban-Ultra Kalba Hills Cycle Challenge 2017
For a cycling race that’s both picturesque and challenging, this hill ride is just the ticket. The ride requires a reasonable fitness level, testing your hill strength and bike handling on descents, so is a great option for experienced riders looking for a new challenge. The 37km and 70km routes take riders from Sharjah’s Kalba Lagoon, through the Kalba tunnel and along the Corniche. AED 185-AED 250. Near University of Sharjah Community College. Visit: urbanultra.com
7th April Dubai Desert Road Run
One of Dubai’s most popular races is held several times a year for all runners from first-timers to experienced athletes. Choose from a 3km – open to both adults and juniors – or 10km route on private, traffic-free roads for a safe and smooth race. From AED 85-AED 125. The Sevens, Dubai-Al Ain Road. Visit: dubairunning.com
Save the dates
It’s been said that when you put a date in your diary, you’re more likely to work towards a goal. So save the date for these upcoming events, register online and start training!
18th March Wadi Adventure Race
Ever wondered what army training is like? Well, this isn’t quite the same but with an acronym like WAR you know it’s going to be a challenge. Run through the desert, swim across lakes and pools and clamber over, under and through obstacles in a race to the finish line. There are plenty of categories to choose from whether you’re just taking part for fun or have got your game face on. AED 275 to AED 325. Wadi Adventure, Al Ain. Visit: facebook.com/wadiadventurerace
18th March Zayed Marathon
If you’re not ready for a marathon, don’t worry: the name of this annual event is misleading. There are 1km and 3km routes for children and 5km and 10km for adults. It’s a fun family day out and best of all, proceeds go towards kidney disease research. AED 50 for children, AED 100 for adults. Yas Marina Circuit. Visit: yasmarinacircuit.com
24th March 5 Star Aquathlon
Combining two sports, this annual race takes place in the picturesque grounds of Emirates Palace. Adults and children can swim in the open-water lagoon before coming ashore for a run. From 1.5km to 5km course. AED 90 to AED 180, AED 300 for teams. Emirates Palace. Visit: facebook.com/gulfmultisport
25th March Abu Dhabi Cycle Race Festival
Whether you want to get more comfortable in the saddle or put your endurance to the test, this festival offers something for everyone. Take part in various events from 8km junior loops to 60km short courses and 120km elite races. There’s even a dedicated route for mountain bikers. AED 50. Al Wathba. Contact: premieronline.com