OMAN by UTMB trail run returns in November offering stunning diverse landscapes

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Up for the challenge: Last year's OMAn by UTMB race proved to be a massive hit

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.”

Ready for it? The 2019 OMAN by UTMB

Ready for it? The 2019 OMAN by UTMB

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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Abu Dhabi-based Jamie Greene aims to build on success at Reebok CrossFit Games

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After twice falling short, third was the lucky charm for Jamie Greene at the Reebok CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin, last weekend.

The Abu Dhabi-based athlete clinched third in the overall women’s standings, finishing 220 points behind winner Tia-Clair Toomey and just 25 points behind second-placed Kristin Holte.

Greene, who trains at CrossFit Yas in the UAE capital, made her debut in the team’s division in 2016, finishing third, before placing eighth and 11th as an individual in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

But the Dunedin native, who has been living in the Emirates since 2014, looked a class apart of her rivals over the four-day event last weekend, notching third in the First Cut, fourth in the Sprint Couplet, third in Mary, fourth in Split Triplet, fourth in Swim Paddle and second in The Standard.

Speaking to Sport360 after returning to the Emirates earlier in the week, Greene said: “It definitely felt different to other years. You get back home, you rest for a little and then you’re back to square one again because you realise what you want and need to work on.

“I had a lot of weaknesses to work on, smaller things like the mental game, pushing through when you do get tired, changing your training so you can handle the volume when it comes to competition time.”

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Crossfit Games 2019- Hell of a ride🤙

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With twelve gruelling events taking place over four days at the Alliant Energy Center, recovering both mentally and physically comes down to fine margins, especially if the athletes are to get the best out of their vast talents in each workout.

“You have to manage your energy. Everyone feels like that, you can have a bit more energy if you spend a bit of downtime between events resting,” said Greene. “And being smart about how you use your energy, whether that’s cutting down time on social media, talking to people or walking around doing stuff you don’t need to do.

“You know what you’re there for so if you can focus on that then you have much more energy for your events.”

Gymnastics has always been a key strength for Greene since an early age, but other workouts from a strength element require some extra work. With so many different workouts and routines to practice and manage, it’s important to cover all bases effectively in advance of competition.

“We go through different blocks throughout the year. I do basic strength work for a while. I just get the body used to a lot of volume. You build up volume throughout the year and then when it gets to competition time you break it down as if it was an event,” she said.

“You hit each workout like it’s competition intensity. That’s the big difference instead of just cruising throughout the workout.”

Knowing she can now shine against the best in the world, Greene’s podium spot is sure to provide additional firepower to her training over the next few months as she attempts to replicate another strong display at the CrossFit Games in 2020.

“You need to take note of the little things,” she said. “The importance of recovery so you can hit every workout harder. Going into training with a purpose, know what to achieve in that position instead of just going through the motions. I’ll need to increase the running and strength blocks and hopefully to come back next year.”

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CrossFit Games 2019: Mat Fraser and Tia-Clair Toomey reign supreme and other talking points from day four

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Tia-Clair Toomey and Mat Fraser successfully defended their Reebok CrossFit Games titles in Madison, Wisconsin, on Sunday.

Toomey dominated the women’s field to seal her third successive title, while Fraser fought back after surrendering the leader’s jersey on Friday to lift his fourth crown.

Here, we look at the key talking points from the final day of action.

TIA AN ALL-TIME GREAT

The Queensland native is the first woman to win three CrossFit Games championships.

Like four-time winner Rich Froning, she has never finished lower than second overall and looked utterly dominant since securing victory in the first event on Thursday morning.

In fact, the 26-year-old finished outside the top-four in just two of the 12 events this weekend, one of which had 75 athletes and another event that only lasted 95 seconds.

She ripped through massive sets, kept the pace all the way through to triumph in the First Cut, Split Triplet, Clean, Swim Paddle and The Standard events.

Toomey has taken significant leaps forward to how she operated in previous years, but in addition, it’s been scary to watch her superiority over rivals in Madison all week.

It’s not her physical game, but her mental game that impressed, and on a weekend where she was faced with a lot of unknowns, she handled herself with a lot of composure and the ferocity she brought to the competition was nothing short of sensational.

With four championship wins, we’ve yet to see the ceiling with her. There is more to come for this messiah.

FEROCIOUS FRASER

The American pushed at a pace he’s never gone before in order to stay ahead of overnight leader Noah Ohlsen and lift a fourth crown.

Trailing by 15 points heading into the final day, the 29-year-old backed up a solid swim with second in Ringer 1 and then winning both the Ringer 2 and The Standard workouts.

He’s so durable, and apart from early setbacks in the Ruck and Sprint Couplet, he wiped the floor clean when it came to sessions in the coliseum, winning three of the five events there.

A phenomenal return.

One may argue against this, but this is the most impressive triumph of his four titles to date. With Ohlsen ahead until Sunday afternoon, and the pressure building, Fraser earned this trophy more than his previous successes back in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

His victory in Madison is a testament to him as an athlete, a competitor and a general person. He held himself together with great calmness and barreled through the reps with conviction.

Depending on its current size, they’ll need a bigger trophy cabinet at his training base in Cookeville as he is also a team-mate of four-time champion Toomey.

If Fraser can continue this sparkling form, he looks difficult to stop any time soon.

PROUD FINISH FOR OHLSEN

A first podium for the Miami man.

It’s easy to get down on him having the leader’s jersey on Sunday morning and then dropping back in the final two events but he still produced a phenomenal weekend.

He wasn’t able to keep up with Fraser on the Ringer workouts, clinching 4th and 5th in comparison to the champion’s 2nd and 1st.

The final event, in particular, was immense to watch as he traded places back and forth with Fraser in the clean and jerks, muscle ups and snatches.

It was an outstanding display, nevertheless, and Ohlsen has nothing to be disappointed about when he leaves Madison to return to his base in Florida later this week.

He needs to set his schedule now for the year ahead and come back hungrier and sharper in 2020. Grabbing that white leader’s jersey should be a key target for the popular 28-year-old next year.

GREENE SHINES

What can we say about Jame Greene. An impeccable result for the Abu Dhabi resident.

The Kiwi-born athlete wheeled away in celebration as she crossed the finish line to seal second in The Standard and clinch a first-ever podium finish at the Games.

With Katrin Davidsdottir breathing down her neck ahead of the final event, Greene needed to produce something majestic, and her performance on the muscle ups was a joy to watch.

The 28-year-old, who trains out of CrossFit Yas in the UAE capital, placed eighth back in the 2017 Games and was a model of consistency all week in Wisconsin.

Among her standout displays from the competition were finishing third in the First Cut and Mary, second in the Standard, as well as a host of other fourth-place finishes.

It caps off a memorable week for Greene who hummed with perfection at the Alliant Energy Center.

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