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Abu Dhabi, Running, and Social Media: From Loading Up to Lacing Up

Over the past almost-year of exploring Abu Dhabi, one of the communities I’ve been pleased to discover

that is unexpectedly robust is the running community. A desert city that rivals Los Angeles in its claim to the term concrete jungle, Abu Dhabi has nevertheless managed to build a strong penchant of people dedicated to pounding pavement, however it looks.

Social media has been integral to my discovery of the running community here. Gray area that it can be, Instagram’s advertising algorithm quickly and correctly figured out that yes, I do want to know that there’s not just one, but two weekly schedules for Abu Dhabi running teams that I can join.

Yes, I do want to know about the race that’s happening at a local mangrove forest in a couple of weeks; and absolutely, yes, I am thrilled to learn that there’s even an ultra-running scene here with a yearly trail marathon up in the mountains.

I’ve also been delighted to see that Abu Dhabi puts just as much effort and pride into advertising and celebrating its local neighborhood runs and park 5Ks. Abu Dhabi’s dedication to fostering its running community even goes so far as to have the various malls around town host indoor runs in the summer, when the temperatures outside soar. Electronic posters go up in the mall foyers, emails out from the government’s sport sector, and social media quickly starts looping sponsored and non sponsored posts about the events out my way.

Technology, as much as it can be a crutch that keeps us in one spot, has been a surprising source of getting my shoes laced up and out exploring new roads.

By Dr. Miceala Shocklee

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