Al Mouj Muscat Marathon 2017 on target for record entry

MUSCAT: More than 900 runners have registered for the popular Al Mouj Muscat Marathon in January signalling a marked increase on previous entries and a giant leap forward in the plan to position it in the top league of international marathons. Among the current field of runners is Iceland’s Asta Parker, winner of the Women’s Marathon for several years who also completed the 165-km Oman Desert Marathon in Wahiba last month. Last year, Parker completed the course in three hours and 16 minutes to take the female winners medal with British runner Charlotte Plouvier finishing second in the women’s category.
The women’s contingent in 2017 is set to be a strong one with Jane Hodgson, who came 2nd in the Super Veterans Marathon this year and Helen Graham also in contention. Helen came 3rd in the Veterans Marathon in 2016. Young Omani runner Sami al Saidi, 23, was the overall winner and the winner of the men’s event but among the 2017 contenders, Robert Ambrose, who finished second in the Super Veterans Marathon and Nick Conlan, second placed in this year’s half marathon, are likely to attract attention in the men’s classes as two of the highest profile runners in the region. The Muscat Marathon will feature three event distances: the marathon, half-marathon and a 10-km run with routes for all three expected to be announced shortly.
Now in its sixth year, the Muscat Marathon has grown steadily in popularity with around 600 runners, including 54 overseas participants, competing on a route around the Sultanate’s capital city earlier this year in January. The Muscat Road Runners’ move to team up with Oman Sail as joint organisers and sponsors Al Mouj earlier this year is designed to expand the Marathon’s potential by appealing to a larger regional and international audience, and tap into a flourishing international marathon circuit. Oman Sail has become renowned in the region for organising world class sailing events including the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman earlier this year, the Extreme Sailing Series hosted annually in Muscat and the Laser and RS:X world championships.