The inaugural Oman by UTMB challenge represents a unique experience in a unique environment, bringing ultra-trail running to the Middle Eastern region for the very first time.
From 29 November to 1st December 2018, Oman by UTMB will see an international field of athletes take on a remote and rugged 137-kilometre route located deep within some of the most stunning and challenging mountainous terrain that Oman has to offer.
“Oman by UTMB meets every requirement of the UTMB brand with a challenging mountain course and an extraordinary adventure in a truly breath-taking destination. The Sultanate is like no other place I’ve run before; spectacular scenery, incredible, huge mountains and warm people. It’s a must-do event!” Michel Poletti, UTMB® Mont-Blanc Race Director.
The challenge is an extraordinary trip through the Al Hajar mountain range deep in the country’s interior. Designed to highlight Oman’s natural beauty and take runners off the beaten track, the race will start from the historic town of Birkat Al Mawz, at 600m, and climb up to heights of 2,200m at Jebel Akhdar, the Green Mountain.
The course has long and technical climbs with a total vertical gain of more than 7,800m, taking in mountaintop ridges and passing through ancient villages, palm plantations, deep wadis and narrow gorges. The journey will lead runners off the beaten tourist tracks, allowing them to explore the Sultanate’s hidden gems located within its rugged, untouched landscapes. Athletes will enjoy breathtaking views and historic plantations alongside the sights and scents offered by lush terraces teeming with pomegranates, figs, almonds, grapes, apples and roses.
Packed with variety and some tough terrain, climbs are at times exposed, requiring runners to be confident when it comes to height. Given the ultra-trails remote and difficult to access sections, a capacity for personal self-sufficiency is required.
The first finishers are expected to complete the course in around 20 hours, having experienced temperatures ranging from 25°C at low level to 10°C and less in the mountains and overnight.
Enthusiasm to be a part of the first ever Oman by UTMB challenge seen hundreds of runners sign up, including many of the best-known members of the international community.
With more than 49 countries already represented on the start line, the high demand saw organiser Oman Sail extend registration for a sought-after place until 30 September 2018.
Among those registered to run in the Middle East’s first ever ultra-trail event are 2016 Ultra-Trail World Tour Champion Gediminas Grinius, and filmmaker Jason Schlarb, who was the top American finisher in the 2014 UTMB Mont Blanc, to name a few.