08-05-2019 - News

2019 edition of Oman by UTMB returns in November with added appeal for trail runners

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Building on the hugely successful inaugural event in 2018, the second edition of the challenging OMAN by UTMB® trail event has been unveiled by host organisers, with distances that will open the event and the Sultanate of Oman to trail running enthusiasts with a broad range of experience. 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 on 28 – 30 November by a 50KM course and an ultimate 170KM challenge.

Last year’s pioneering race attracted enormous international interest including many high-profile members of the global trail community, and immersed runners in the natural beauty of Oman’s dramatic interior taking them through deep wadis, high ridges, ancient villages and memorable landscapes in a unique Arabian environment. Winner of the 2018 edition, Jason Schlarb (USA), who crossed the finish line jointly with Diego ‘Zpeedy’ Pazos (CH) described the event as “unbelievably challenging – technical and exciting all at once.”

“OMAN by UTMB® has instantly established itself as a valued member of the international UTMB family,” said Michel Poletti co-director of the UTMB®. “The new courses will dramatically increase the appeal of OMAN by UTMB® to both experienced and novice runners. I believe they will encourage many more trail runners to come to Oman and take on a unique experience in an unforgettable landscape.”

The 50KM race, which starts on November 29, is aimed at runners who are new to the sport or less experienced and would like to take on the challenge of a tough but fair short ultra-run with limited technical sections to navigate. It will start and finish in Al Hamra, taking the participants onto Al Akhdar (the Green Mountain) with more than 2,300m of elevation gain.

The 130KM and 170KM routes are only suitable for experienced trail runners with the new 170KM course ascending to a height of 3,000m on the formidable Jebel Shams, Arabia’s highest mountain. Runners will require an official International Trail Running Association (ITRA) ranking to qualify to participate in either distance. Both start on November 28 at Birkat Al Mouz.

Overall, runners will need four ITRA points to compete in the 130KM run and five ITRA points to compete in the 170KM run. No ITRA points are required for the 50KM run.

“Last year was a resounding success and has put the Sultanate firmly on the international trail map,” said CEO of event organiser Oman Sail, David Graham.

“The additional distances will make the event even more appealing and we look forward to welcoming many runners from far and wide in November. It is an inspiring event that helps spread the word that Oman has a great deal to offer sports tourists and adventure seekers.”

Like all ITRA sanctioned trail running events, taking part in OMAN by UTMB® earns qualifying points towards entry for UTMB Chamonix. Runners who complete the 130KM run will earn five ITRA points, runners completing the 170KM will earn six ITRA points and runners who finish the 50KM run will earn three ITRA points.

A new qualifying system recently announced by UTMB International means that runners who complete in either the 130KM or 170KM events are instantly guaranteed entry to race in Chamonix in 2020. OMAN by UTMB® is the first opportunity runners will have to benefit from the new qualifying regulations for UTMB® Chamonix.

Runners can register for the 2019 OMAN by UTMB® at: https://omanbyutmb.com/enter/

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