The 2019 OMAN by UTMB returns in November offering adventure-seekers the GCC’s most unique experience.
The second edition of the ultra trail event will be held in the Sultanate of Oman on 28th-30th November, with varying distances opening the event to all trail running enthusiasts in the region. The extraordinary 130KM mountain course at the heart of the 2018 event – hailed by National Geographic as the ‘world’s toughest adventure race’ – will now be joined on the international trail running calendar by a 50KM course and an ultimate 170KM challenge.
Last year’s pioneering race attracted enormous interest including many high-profile members of the global trail running community, and immersed participants in Oman’s natural beauty, taking them through deep wadis, high ridges, ancient villages and memorable landscapes. Winner of the 2018 men’s edition, Jason Schlarb (USA), who crossed the finish line jointly with Diego ‘Zpeedy’ Pazos (CH) said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to win the first ever OMAN by UTMB and to share it with someone like Diego was a dream come true. We didn’t discuss it until the last 20 kilometres when we worked together and pushed each other – we both ran faster and harder than we would ever have done on our own. The people were hugely inviting and wonderful, shaking my hand.”
“Tough but wonderful”, was the verdict of UTMB Mont-Blanc Race Director Michel Poletti, who added: “The idea was to offer runners an unforgettable experience, within a magic landscape.” 327 ultra-runners from 57 countries, enjoyed the unique hospitality of the Omani people from start to finish as they crossed the iconic Jebel Akhdar (the Green Mountain). With over 1,500 runners expected at this year’s event, participants will run through the country’s beautiful wadis and ancient villages and experience some of the region’s most breath-taking views in ideal weather conditions with daytime mountain temperatures of approximately 21C and 10C overnight. Runners will also have the opportunity to explore Oman’s diverse landscapes before and after the event. The winner of the 2018 women’s race Anna-Marie Watson, a former British Army captain said: “UTMB holds a really special place in my heart. When I heard there was going to be one in Oman, I just had to be part of it. I spent several holidays here, diving, seeing the turtles, and chilling out. There is so much to explore in Oman. It is a true gem in the Middle East.”
With a few months to go, the reduced price Early Bird entries are almost sold out. The 50KM race, which starts on November 29th, is a new addition to the Oman by UTMB family and is aimed at runners who are new to the sport or looking to take on the challenge of a tough but fair ‘short’ trail-run with limited technical sections to navigate. It will start and finish in Al Hamra, taking the participants onto Jebel Al Akhdar with more than 2,300m of elevation gain.
The 2019 event has also added the super-challenge of a 170km course that ascends to a height of 3,000m on the formidable Jebel Shams, Arabia’s highest mountain.
The original and now classic 130km course remains at its heart, complete with climbs totalling 7,800m. Both distances are only suitable for experienced trail runners, with participants requiring official International Trail Running Association (ITRA) ranking points to qualify to participate in either distance. Both start on November 28th in the village of Birkat Al Mouz.
New for 2019 is a big bonus for all those on the 130km and 170km courses as completion within the barrier time means a guaranteed entry for the 2020 UTMB Mont-Blanc in Chamonix, France. The sell-out event is the pinnacle of the trail running calendar attracting thousands of runners from all over the world each year. Oman by UTMB will be the first event that will offer runners the chance to guarantee their trip to Chamonix. To register visit www.omanutmb.com/enter/ and find more information on Instagram: @utmboman.
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