Dubai Creek Striders

Meet the Pacers


Back by popular demand, the Johnson Arabia Dubai Creek Striders Half Marathon 2017 will again have a few pacing ‘buses’ to help runners achieve their time goals:

  • 1h30m: Phil Clark
  • 1h35m: Neil Tempest
  • 1h40m:  Sam Witcombe & Saurabh Mehndiratta
  • 1h45m:  Ram Sadhvani & Jenna Wilkinson
  • 1h50m:  Deepak Sharma & Richard P. Dela Cruz
  • 2h00m: Ellen Pavlovic & Rajesh Maghnani
  • 2h15m:  Mamta , Ankur Sharma & Sushil Chettri
  • 2h30m: Elaine Forsythe & Carla Duarte

Please see below for the profiles of these talented folks and look out for them on Race Day. You will be able to identify them as they will have a flag – and possibly balloons! – indicating the ‘bus’ time. Make sure you join them in the correct starting pen for your target time.

1h30m: Phil Clark


It’s time to hang up my racing trainers and really enjoy the DCS Half marathon by helping a group to achieve or dip under 1hr:30min. I’ve been a DCS runner for 10 years running races in the Middle East, Europe and sweaty Singapore. Also during these 10 years I’ve helped with DCS training, leading long runs on Friday mornings and enjoying the Dubai running social evenings, which kids have now dampened my attendance. Who knows I may have to push a stroller around on race day?

Come and join me for a chat or a PB on the 8th Dec.

1h35m: Neil Tempest

Age: 31              Nationality: British                    Profession: National Account Manager

Neil’s running history:

My running career started in 2013 when suddenly one day I woke up and decided I wanted to run a marathon. I’d always been a fast twitch athlete in my younger years until I retired from rugby at the age of 25 due to a serious injury. The idea of a challenge which was completely alien to anything I’d done before where I could channel my competitive energy was something that appealed. Needless to say I ran London marathon and was instantly hooked to the world of endurance sport.

Running achievements:

  • DCS Half Marathon (2014): 1hr 26mins
  • Paris Marathon (2015): 3hr 03mins
  • Dublin 70.3 Ironman (2017): 4hr 38mins
  • Copenhagen Ironman (2016): 9hr 49mins

Why do you want to be a race pacer and not just run your own race:

I joined DCS on my third day of arriving in Dubai where I’ve met some special friends over the years. Being able to give back to the club which welcomed me with open arms is something that is important to me. Achieving PB’s is a special feeling for any athlete, therefore if I can help even one person do this on race day I will be smiling just as much as themselves at the finish line.

How do you prepare for these big races:

Leading up to races I follow a consistent plan which involves a mixture of running, cycling, swimming, strength and conditioning training sessions. Injury prevention is the key to having a successful race day so regular yoga and deep tissue massages are a crucial part of my training regime.

What is your ultimate running goal:

Run a sub 3 marathon.

Neil’s message:

Endurance sport is very simple, consistent training = PBs. Don’t try anything new on race day and always be disciplined with pacing. Don’t be a hero at the start line and remember your race doesn’t begin until the last 20% where it’s truly won or lost.

Breakfast of champions:

Porridge, eggs and honey

1h40m: Sam Witcombe & Saurabh Mehndiratta 

Join Sam & Saurabh  if you want to finish at 1h40m time. If your training and level of fitness coincides with a 1h40m goal time, then this is the bus for you.


Sam Whitcombe

A proud Dubai Creek Strider running for the past 8 years. The club runners has helped me break my personal best times year after year for countless half marathons, 5 marathons (with 2 x sub 3 hour marathons) and an ultra. I loved the commitment of training, breaking my physical and mental boundaries through running and also the buzz of race day. Now I love the social aspect of running with my friends in the Dubai running community, seeing others so passionate about running and giving back by helping them achieve their goals.

Saurabh Mehndiratta

I am delighted to be a 1:40 pacer for the 2017 DCS half marathon and is all excited to help you cross the finish line in 99 minutes.  I started running in 2013 and thanks to fellow club members (the very famous two Rajesh’s) started doing long runs December onwards. Over the past 4 ½ years, I have completed 10 full marathons and several distance races, including 4 ultra-marathons.  My fastest time at half marathon is 1:29:55 and at DCS Half is 1:31:05, both achieved in 2016.

1h45m: Ram Sadhvani & Jenna Wilkinson

Join Ram & Jenna if you want to finish at, or just under, 1h45m. If your training and level of fitness coincides with a 1h45m goal time, then this is the bus for you.



Ram Sadhvani

Age:   44                           Nationality: Indian                Proffession: Electro-mechanical Contractor

Ram’s running history:

I was introduced to long distance running in 2011 through a regular Friday run with DCS – The Creek Classic. During the last km of the run, my legs were moving but I didn’t seem to move. Was in pain the rest of the day and thought it was inhuman to run such a distance, but so many runners were doing this while laughing and chatting!! So I had to come back and try again, the rest is history.

Running achievements:

I have run 20 half marathons, 14 full marathons, and 1 ultra-marathon(Comrades).

Why do you want to be a race pacer and not just run your own race?

It felt good helping new runners finish a 2:30 hr DCS half as a pacer in 2012. Since then I have paced DCS half every year and it’s my way of giving back to the club.

How do you prepare for these big races?

I just try to keep up with regular running sessions (3-4 times a week), as well as swimming for cross training. Keeping a disciplined routine and diet is also important.

Breakfast of the champions:

Water, Nuts, dates, black coffee, a bit of chocolate for ‘feel good’ vibes.

Jenna Wilkinson

Age: 30                       Nationality: British                   Job: Maths Teacher

Running History:

I started competing at age 12 to 17 before taking a (10 year) break. I joined the sport again in 2015 (age 27) and now I can’t see my life without running in it! I’ve now ran 6 half marathons, 1 marathon and an ultra-marathon!

  • PB Half – 1hr 34
  • PB Marathon – 3hr 33
  • PB Ultra 50km – 4hr 28

Running Achievements:

Since joining the striders I’d never even ran a half marathon before, so to run my first marathon in January of this year was quite a big achievement! Then I thought that it would be a great idea to run an ultra-marathon for my next goal, and I came 2nd! I don’t think I’ll ever forget that feeling of crossing the finish line!

Why do you want to be a pacer?

This race is a great opportunity to give something back to the striders and the running community. There’s nothing better than seeing others achieve their goals and if I can help with that then that’ll be the perfect way to spend a December morning.

Jenna’s message:

I’m a big believer in positivity, keep your mind strong and your legs will believe you! Let’s smash the 1:45 goal!

1h50m: Richard P. Dela Cruz & Deepak Sharma

Join Deepak & Richard if you want to finish at, or just under, 1h50m. If your training and level of fitness coincides with a 1h50m goal time, then this is the bus for you.



Richard P.Dela Cruz

Age: 40            Nationality: Filipino         Job:  Telecommunications Engineer

Richard’s running history:

  • Running since 2010
  • Joined DCS in 2010
  • Total number of races: 6 marathons, 16 half marathons
  • Personal best DCS half PB: 1.47.10

Running achievements

Ran DCS Half marathon with my wife and being pacer for the past 2 years & sold running to some non-running friends

Why do you want to be a race pacer and not just run your own race

DCS Half Marathon is special to me and I’m proud of being part of this amazing team.  I really enjoyed every minute of running along with group of runners trying to cross the line at their target finish time.  It’s also my tribute to a friend and fellow runner who lost to Cancer.

How do you prepare for these big races?

Run 3-4 times a week with combination of LSD, Intervals, Drills, Strength and Conditioning and cross training.

What is your ultimate running goal?

Marathons in each continent of the world with Full Ironman Distance Triathlon along the way.

Richard’s message:

Just keep moving, enjoy the surrounding along the Creek and the excitement of adrenalin rush on the way to finish line.

Deepak Sharma

Age : 44         Nationality : Indian       Work : Petrochemicals Technical Consultant

Running History

  • Running since 2014 & joined DCS in 2014 with total
  • 2 Full Marathons  & 7 Half Marathons
  • Personal Bests: DCS HM : 1.41.43.
  • Have done ITU Maxi & 70.3 Ironman Dubai

Why do I want to be pacer

Running is what I enjoy & it brought me to DCS. Its not always pacing for yourself but being a part of the club & supporting the event in our own way. Happy to be promoted to a pacer this year from being the trail biker last year.

My Message

Running is free, even the road doesn’t care that I am there, so I use it. I love to sweat & get to see my town in more intimate details than most people living here, to talk to people who talk your language & jargons & its an addiction that doesn’t need curing… Someone made me run, hope I get few.

You have a chance to run with a smart young man to finish your DCS HM in a good time.


2h00m: Ellen Pavlovic  &  Rajesh Maghnani

Join Ellen, Rajesh and Marie if you want to finish under the magic 2 hours. All are experienced runners and will bring you in (just!) under 2 hours.



Ellen Pavlovic

I’ve been with the awesome Dubai Creek Striders for 6 years now and have successfully run 4 Dubai Marathons, a few 1/2 marathons, and 3 Ultra marathons (including the great Comrades Marathon in South Africa). This is my 3rd year pacing the 2-hour group and my fellow pacers and I are excited to bring this bus in under 2 hours with a victorious smile. 


Rajesh Manghnani

Rajesh Manghnani

It all started for me when I did my first race, the DCS Half Marathon in 2006. The joy of completing this wonderful (but not-so-easy) event along with hundreds of fellow runners got me addicted immediately. Since then I’ve been lucky to participate and complete plenty of marathons around the world. As a pacer I would like to see others feel the same joy of running and completing a race as I do. And I hope to get you past the finish line with a smile.


2h15m: Mamta, Ankur Sharma, Sushil Chettri

Join Mamta & Ankur & Shusil if you want to finish as close to 2h15m as you can.

Mamta Daryani

Age: 41                                  Nationality: Indian                                     Profession: Home maker

My Running History

  • Started running in 2013
  • Joined DCS in November 2012

Running Achievements

Have ran few half, full and few ultra marathons.

Why do you want to be a race pacer and not just run your own race?

DCS and its members made me believe that I can run and run so long. I aspired to do a sub 2 half which again a DCS member helped me do last year. I believe it would simply be wonderful if I can pace someone achieve his/her target time in a race.

How do you prepare for these big races?

I run 3-4 times a week mostly easy runs. I increase my mileage as I approach a race. I take the race as it comes. DCS Friday run is a ritual, so I don’t miss it.

What is your ultimate running goal?

To be able to run until the last moment of my life and finish all runs and races with a smile.

Mamta’s Message:

I personally like to enjoy each of my runs. So would like u all to have a good run n enjoy each bit of the race and the scenic views of Dubai and finally reach the finish line with all smiles on your faces.



Ankur Sharma

Age : 36                      Nationality : Indian                   Job : Banker

Running history :

  • Running since 2013
  • Joined DCS in 2014
  • Total 15 races :   3 Full Marathons (Dubai, Rome & Paris)    9 Half Marathons;  Wadi Bih Run & a couple of 3 Emirates Runs
  • Personal Best:     Half PB: 1h46m     Marathon PB: 4h:20m

Running Dream

Doing a Sub 4 Marathon; running marathons in all 7 continents; Conquering Comrades, Mount Everest marathon,  Great Wall of China Marathon etc.

Why do you want to be a race pacer and not just run your own race?

It feels less agonizing to sweat when you make others sweat harder than you…..jokes apart,  DCS & fellow runners are like a family to me and it feels very motivational to make runners achieve their timing goals and see those exhausted-but-jubilant faces at the finishing line……..

Race Strategy

I believe in running at an even pace, not being unfair to those who believe in positive or negative splits, if you get some sense of comfort training at 6:30 min per km (slightly less than 9.5 Km / Hr) then you can enjoy a great camaraderie with the 2:15 group pacers. Please visit DCS or runners world website for some helpful tips on half marathon preparation. If you have got any questions, please mail me at

Sushil Chettri

Age: 33                           Nationality: Indian                      Job: Real Estate

Sushil Chettri’s running history:

  • Running since 2015 & Joined DCS in 2015
  • Total 12 races5 marathons, 7 half marathons
  • DCS half PB: 1.50.36
  • 10K PB: 47 min, 21k PB: 1.47 min, 42K PB: 4.58 min

Running achievements:

  • Ran one of major marathon last week ( Chicago 2017)
  • Was able to convince my wife to run ????

Why do you want to be a race pacer and not just run your own race?

DCS is very special to me as I started my running journey with the club, I am achieving my goals hence want to help others to achieve theirs.

How do you prepare for these big races?

Run 4-5 times a week and long run on Fridays with Club.

What is your ultimate running goal?

For now, its to complete World Marathon Majors soon.

Sushil’s message:

If you are running the marathon to complete it within 2.15 with fun on the run, you are on the right group. For any query email me at

2h30m: Elaine Forsythe & Carla Duarte

Elaine & Carla will guide you to a comfortable finish in 2h30m.


Elaine Forsythe

Elaine Forsythe

I am delighted to be the 2.30 pacer for the half marathon this year along with Carla. Having been a DCS member for 7 years, I have benefited from the wisdom and advice of others in the club. Since joining the Striders I have completed 6 marathons, 3 Ultra marathons and 30 half marathons. Those who don’t know me might think being a pacer is a selfless act but the truth is I couldn’t afford the entry fee! I am looking forward to supporting the runners on our “bus”, especially the first-timers. It’s a great feeling to see them cross the finish line and to achieve their goals. Besides, it’s always fun carrying a pacing flag for 21 km! Looking forward to running with you.


Carla Duarte

  • Started running in the Dubai summer (crazy, I know!) of 2012
  • Joined DCS in 2013 after stalking the Facebook group for over a year
  • This will be my fourth DCS half marathon
  • In December 2014 I participated in the 7EmiratesRun completing 222km in less than 2 weeks (the DCS Half Marathon was the cherry on the top!)
  • No PBs, I run for the love of it!
  • Proudest moment: crossing the finish line at the 2015 Two Oceans Ultra Marathon to the sound of 20+ Striders chanting my name (I finished with 5 minutes to spare…so proud that the man with the rope did not turn me away!)
  • Best thing about running: being part of a wonderful running community and literally “running the world” (oh, and all the pretty running shoes!)
  • Breakfast of champions: Cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter and a banana.
  • Running tip: don’t judge the race by the first few kilometres…’em endorphines take a little time to do their magic.