Dubai Fitness Challenge 2018 (DFC), launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai last year, concluded its second edition with staggering success as 1,053,102 official participants enthusiastically embraced the 30-day citywide fitness movement, surpassing the ambitious one million target set by His Highness at the start of the Challenge.
DFC 2018 showcased a larger, more inclusive and more interactive programme this year, encouraging hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors of all ages and fitness levels to commit to a minimum of 30 minutes of daily activity for 30 days and embrace a positive change that will last a lifetime. Over the month-long challenge, the city hosted a huge range of fitness and sporting activities, with over 8,000 workout sessions spread across 250 locations. New for 2018, five free themed Fitness Villages across major communities in Dubai were geared towards effectively transforming the city into a free gym for all, taking Dubai a step closer to its goal of becoming the most active city in the world.
The fitness movement saw highly successful partner events being brought into the DFC fold, including the Dubai Color Run, XDubai Spartan Race, Daman City Swim, XDubai Junior Triathlon, Emirates NBD Unity Run, Spinneys Dubai 92 Buildup Ride 4, Dubai Women’s Run, the Hatta Super Sports Triathlon and many more. DFC was also supported by international celebrities and sports personalities including Marcus Smith – who completed 30 marathons in 30 days; Sir Mo Farah – arguably the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games; Team Angel Wolf – with #TogetherWeCan community programme created for People of Determination; and renowned fitness personalities Chris and Heidi Powell – who flew to Dubai to encourage and inspire participants to boost their physical activity and commit to a healthier and happier lifestyle beyond the period of the challenge.
Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO, Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) said: “As a platform to propel the ambition of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to make Dubai the most active city in the world, we are delighted with the results of Dubai Fitness Challenge 2018. With more than one million participants, we are humbled by the unanimous engagement and support of the entire community and are truly proud of being part of this effort towards building a sustainable culture of fitness and health for our society. I would like to thank everyone who took part – as individuals, in government and in business. Together, we have each played our part in creating a collective legacy that will result in a healthier and happier tomorrow for all.”
Data gathered by DFC showed that more than half of all participants in 2018 were young people, with 100% of Dubai schools taking part in DFC this year. The level of youth participation is testament to the challenge’s aim to build life-long health and fitness habits that can be sustained from childhood through to old age. One of the key campaign highlights to get the children of Dubai active were daily sessions of the incredibly fun ‘30×30 with Disney’ video at four of the five Fitness Villages. In a first-of-its-kind collaboration with The Walt Disney Company, the 30-minute workout was created featuring routines performed by kids for kids with some of the most iconic characters and popular tracks from Disney, Marvel Studios and Disney•Pixar films.
This edition of DFC received invaluable support from public and private sectors, who rose to the challenge by delivering innovative and engaging activities for their employees and customers and helped to motivate the wider community. From government agencies to educational institutions, from healthcare providers to utility companies, from banks to developers, everyone pledged their commitment to the initiative and played a vital role in making the 2018 edition a resounding success.
The Dubai Fitness App featured the full 30-day action-packed calendar of fitness events, classes and activities for all participants. The App will continue to help DFC participants maintain their 30 minutes of daily exercise far beyond the duration of the Challenge. Compatible across all devices, the 2018 edition of the Dubai Fitness App is available free on iOS Apple Store and Google Play. Fitness enthusiasts can sync the App with other top fitness apps such as Fitbit, Strava and Apple Health, while those seeking to broaden their outreach to the city’s fitness community can join and create networks via dedicated social fitness groups, follow their friends and share their own progress.
Dubai Sports Council (DSC), a government endorsee of DFC, had once again expressed their support for the campaign. Sharing his thoughts on the initiative, His Excellency Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council shared: “I would like to thank His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, for launching this noble initiative, which has created a huge fitness buzz not just locally, but internationally. Like the first, the second edition of the Dubai Fitness Challenge has been a huge success as well and we have seen some amazing stories of inspiration emerge over the past 30 days. So, while the Challenge itself has come to a close, its legacy will live on through all those people who have embraced a physically active lifestyle over the past month.
“His Highness Sheikh Hamdan wishes to see Dubai become the most physically active place in the world, and we at Dubai Sports Council are engaged throughout the 365 days of the year to achieve those lofty goals to transform Dubai into a land of health, happiness and verve. So, while this 2018 edition of the 30×30 Challenge has come to an end, the challenge for us and every member of our society continues.”
Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Director General, Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) said: “The Dubai Fitness Challenge exemplifies the best of our city and the best of our people. Under the “Fit Together” umbrella, the Dubai Fitness Challenge enabled us at KHDA to join students, teachers, principals and parents to enjoy different activities every day, including polo, fencing and bike ball. The Fitness Villages located across Dubai provided spaces where residents of all ages, nationalities and fitness levels came together to exercise and have fun. Many children’s entertainment venues opened their doors to new people for the love of fitness and the love of community. As an initiative with the wellbeing of its people and its city at heart, it’s no surprise that DFC is fast becoming the highlight of the year for schools and universities across the city.”
Commenting on its support for the Dubai Fitness Challenge 2018 and forward-thinking approach to employee welfare, His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA shared, “I thank His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, and Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, for his continuous support to sports in Dubai, and for bringing this innovative challenge back in its second edition after the great success it achieved last year. This innovative challenge encouraged positive competition and motivated members of society to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle. Our goal this year was to encourage all DEWA employees and their families to be part of this pioneering initiative and support the directives of the wise leadership, making sport an essential part of the culture of the UAE society, and make Dubai one of the most active cities in the world. DEWA provides a positive and motivating work environment that contributes to achieving a healthy balance between employees’ professional and social lives, and encourages them to make physical activities an essential part of their daily lives as exercise promotes a healthy and vibrant lifestyle and boosts positive energy.”
“The 2018 edition of Dubai Fitness Challenge was a resounding success on all counts as we witnessed even greater participation from our employees and partners alike; and received positive feedback on our newly relaunched Fitness Account app,” said Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Emirates NBD. “We were delighted to partner with this wonderful community initiative that has made an immense contribution toward improving the well-being and happiness of our citizens and residents and look forward to supporting further initiatives as Dubai leads the world by example.”
With a commitment to support programmes that are geared towards social wellness, His Excellency Saif Humaid Al Falasi, Group CEO of ENOC said, “We at ENOC are proud to sponsor an initiative that encourages individuals from all walks of life to embrace a healthier and more active lifestyle. We hope that members of the community make the effort to adapt a healthier lifestyle and continue to engage in activities to improve their health and well-being.”
Abdulrahman Al Janahi, Chairman of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) Sports Committee also added: “The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has been very actively involved with the Dubai Fitness Challenge since its very first day. This year we beefed up our activities to ensure that not only our employees across all cadres, including our drivers, call centre agents and the little kids from our nursery school are all actively involved, but we also reached out to the communities as we believe that fitness has no limits, and is a way of life. Activities for the employees included football, cricket and swimming tournaments to Boot Camps, Olympic Circuits, Balling, Fitness Relays, Yoga and Zumba. Community activities included visits to the Home for the Elderly at Al Barsha and Rashid Centre for Determined Ones. Such activities support one of our main strategic goals which is ‘People’s Happiness’. We are definitely proud and grateful to our employees who took the time out of their busy schedules to commit to the Challenge, and we look forward to an even higher level of participation next year.”
Also sharing his thoughts on the initiative, Abdulwahed Juma, Executive Vice President, Brand and Corporate Communications, du, said: “Today heralds another successful completion of one of the most formative activities on the Emirate’s calendar – the Dubai Fitness Challenge. As a strategic sponsor of the 30×30 Fitness Challenge, we are thrilled to help encourage health and wellbeing across Dubai. Hosting free public daily activities at our fitness-orientated platform at Kite Beach is testament to our commitment towards stimulating people from all segments of society to get active for the duration of DFC. This year 2,000 of du’s employees also rose to the occasion to participate in the Challenge and embrace the company’s health and fitness ‘Walk the Talk’ mantra. In line with du’s sustainable institutional strategy, this is proving that a positive and productive workplace can be achieved by promoting the advantages of healthy lifestyles to employees.”