Going social

Posted on August 4, 2013

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Whilst I personally am just a little introverted, in my element getting lost in Tori-world in place of being a social butterfly, there are many whose greatest sporting mojo is found when getting and keeping fit with others. And in Dubai, there’s certainly no shortage of options for going social when it comes to sport. Here are my top ten, as published in Aquarius – Aug 13.

TRIATHLON

TriDubai is an informal triathlon club catering for all abilities. Known in Dubai for its inclusive, supportive and encouraging approach, they organise weekly swim, bike and run sessions, led by voluntary members and all sessions are completely free of charge.  Up to 60 triathletes regularly turn up and training is often followed by coffee, breakfast or socials, which really add to the great camaraderie and atmosphere amongst the group. Offline, the members are all highly interactive in supporting each other, sharing training advice and planning races. This only serves to motivate and link people with a shared passion for the sport.

Real-life review

Since joining TriDubai, I’ve a newfound love for getting up at dawn because despite feeling tired, training with the other members of the group, who show such humour and support, really makes the early morning sessions worthwhile. TriDubai attract a great bunch of people from all walks of life and have a real community set up that enables every member to achieve their goals. Vicky, age 31

Need to know

ICE HOCKEY

Women’s ice hockey team, The Dubai Gazelles, consist of 26 women of all ages and nationalities, bound by a joint passion for the coolest game in the desert! The team is a friendly and supportive bunch that actively encourages beginners to give it a try. Like other team sports that encourage camaraderie and provide a great sociable platform, ice hockey also provides a fantastic fast-paced adrenaline-rush requiring multiple skills and a high level of fitness. Throw in the opportunity to have fun-filled girlie getaways to tournaments as far as Bangkok and Prague and it’s little wonder all those involved love it!

Real-life review

I’ve been addicted since the first moment I stepped on the ice. I get to play with a wonderful group of multi-national women and as a result, have formed great friendships and a meaningful social life.  I also get to travel and play in exotic places, meeting like-minded women from all over the world.  Kristin, age 43

Need to know

  • Contact: +971 50 305 4502
  • Go: Dubai Mall & Al Nasr Leisureland
  • Visit: http://www.dubaigazelles.com
  • $$$: AED 90 per session / season sign-ups are discounted

CYCLING

Dubai Roadster’s Cycling Club, organised by Wolfi’s Bike Shop, gives a whole new meaning to the idea of group cycles. Events and planned training sessions include weekly club rides, training rides, desert tours, mountain escapes and the occasional race for good measure! On an average Friday morning, up to 150 riders turn up and spent calories are usually replenished with breakfast at the Track Café in Meydan. Annual cycle tours overseas are also organised so whatever your age or ability, if you enjoy cycling and getting fit outdoors, in a super social and supportive setting, then Dubai Roadster’s should be your first point of call.

Real-life review

‘Exercise and social interaction are key to good mental health. I get both with the Roadsters, cycling is great exercise which by it’s nature has a great social side.  You can’t go on a group ride without meeting new people and making new friends.’ Ian, age 38

Need to know

  • Contact: +971 4 339 4453
  • Go: Meydan Cycling Park / Wolfi’s on SZR
  • Visit: http://www.dubairoadsters.ae
  • $$$: Free trial then AED 200 per year to cover support costs

NETBALL

Dubai Netball League is the largest non-profit netball league in the UAE with over 250 members and still growing each year. The league is formed of women of all ages and abilities and caters for everyone from those who want to play competitively to those who just want to keep fit, make new friends and have fun! Games are played every Wednesday nights at 7he Sevens and there are no shortage of friendly social events planned. New recruits can sign up as a team or as an individual and you’ll be assigned the best team for you.

Real-life review

‘Joining DNL was the best thing I could have done since moving to Dubai and has led me to making the majority of my best friends here. There are four divisions, which is great as it caters for all levels and you get to mix with players from some of the best netballing nations such as Australia and New Zealand.’ Gill, age 28

Need to know

GROUP EX

Group ex-style classes may not immediately strike as overly sociable sporting options but when it comes to group ex with Ignite fitness & wellness, friend forming and social events play as key a role as the sessions themselves. With the approach that exercise is a universal language, the emphasis at Ignite is on breaking barriers and helping others. Boxing sessions on the beach involve working with multiple partners and laughing and jokes are par for the course. Regular sporting events and races are held, combined with fun family days and every quarter, Recovery Drinks see all Igniters enjoy a wind down evening with drinks.

Real-life review

‘The camaraderie at Ignite is phenomenal and feels like family – we cry together during punishments but the strength of the rich friendships and the common goal to enjoy a healthy lifestyle regime as working professionals always supersedes the pain.’ Ed, age 40

Need to know

SWIMMING

The Dubai Masters Swimming Club is Dubai’s biggest club of organised swimming training with sessions morning and evenings, six days per week, in the pool and the open water and catering for everyone from those who just like to swim in a structured, group setting to those at competitive level. Sessions are popular with mums who swim and then enjoy a social coffee post school drop off and big seasonal social events are organised which make for the perfect backdrop for making new friends and bonding with fellow swimmers. Members also regularly enter local and international swim events, which entail group travel, extensive support and a great opportunity to compete with and against like-minded people.

Real-life review

‘Before moving to Dubai, I swam mainly on my own so I was a little apprehensive about joining but the first session proved that my fears were groundless. They were very welcoming and I’ve made many new friends. I would encourage anyone to come along and give it a go.’ Charlotte, age 36

Need to know

  • Contact:  050 574 7942
  • Go: King’s Dubai, Umm Suqeim
  • Visit:  http://www.aquaswim.ae
  • $$$:  AED 50 per swim or AED 400 per 10 sessions

RUNNING

The Dubai Creek Striders running club is considered an institution in Dubai. The club meets near the Trade Centre at 6am every Friday with often over 100 runners turning up of every age and nationality. There are different pace groups catering for all, from the elite to the more social runners and all routes are planned in advance. The club is a fantastic opportunity to discover Dubai on foot in a friendly and supportive setting. Runners often travel overseas together to compete in international races and most find the training runs, the perfect build up to compete in the annual Dubai Marathon. The striders also organise regular nights out, barbeques and other events.

Real-life review

‘I’ve been running with the club for three years and it has really helped keep me motivated. Everyone is very friendly and I’ve made some great training partners too. DCS also organises the ‘world’s most beautiful half marathon’ held in Dubai in December, the best running event of the year!’ Martin, age 43

Need to know

  • Contact: dubai.creek.striders@gmail.com
  • Go: Meet on the car park opposite the Trade Centre
  • Visit: http://www.dubaicreekstriders.org
  • $$$: AED10 for water every week

VOLLEYBALL

DUPLAYS is the region’s largest sports and social club with a whole host of sports and formats on offer. Their goal is to enable people to discover sport through community participation and they do this by organizing sports leagues, events and tournaments that connect people from different cultures, nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds. There are currently a few volleyball options, taking place in either indoor sports halls or outdoor, floodlit sand courts and there are dedicated nights for those who want to get competitive and those who just want to have a laugh. Whatever option you choose, you can be rest assured that the focus will be firmly fixed on socialising through sport!

Real-life review

‘If you’re new to Dubai or Abu Dhabi, this is the place to meet people.  Whatever sports you want to do, Duplays will offer it!  The events are really well organised and are always great fun.’ William, age 34

Need to know

TENNIS

Super Sport’s weekly Ladies Tennis mornings are the ideal opportunity to scrub up on your volleys and perfect your backhand whilst chatting and socialising with a warm, open and friendly bunch of like-minded women. The mornings entail doubles tennis for both intermediate and advanced players and provided you can serve consistently and know the doubles rules, you’re most welcome to join in. Tennis, by its very nature, is a sociable game but with Super Sports, you really do form great friendships whilst improving your tennis and benefit your game from playing against and with lots of different people. Tea, coffee and post-game fruit platter included!

Real-life review

‘This is the ideal way to spend a Sunday morning with fellow tennis enthusiasts. Having a bit of a run around, catching up on the weeks gossip and socialising with some great people is what it’s all about.’ Carrie, 35

Need to know

  • Contact: 056 1072 768
  • Go: Le Meridien Mina Seyahi and Dubai Marina
  • Visit: http://www.supersportsdubai.com
  • $$$: AED 30 for members & AED 60 for non-members

GOLF

Both Emirates Golf Club and Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club offer group ladies programmes where the emphasis is on improving your drive in a fun, relaxed and social atmosphere. Programmes run in eight-week blocks with time set aside for professional instruction as well as time to practise your swing and have a good natter. After each session, the ladies head to the bar for coffee and biscuits. Between sessions, you’re able to practise as well so there’s simply no excuse not to see a huge improvement in your game! Complete beginners as well as those looking to improve their existing game are both welcome.

Real-life review

‘At Emirates Golf Club ladies mornings, my golf skills have improved beyond measure and the atmosphere is super friendly. I’ve made some great friends to play with in between sessions.’ Kathy, age 39

Need to know

  • Contact: 04 380 1234
  • Go: The Academy at Emirates Golf Club / Dubai Creek Golf Academy
  • Visit: http://www.dubaigolf.com
  • $$$: Enquire for details
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