Muscat Marathon gets bigger, grander with AIMS recognition

The Al Mouj Muscat Marathon 2018, to be held on January 18th and 19th, is going to be a bigger, grander and internationally recognised affair this year with over 6,000 registered athletes across six events. What is most significant about this year’s Muscat Marathon is the formal recognition by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) and has been precisely measured to meet International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) standards. The outcome of this recognition and endorsement is that the Muscat Marathon will now be eligible for recognised record-breaking performances.

To enhance the profile of the event, the Muscat Marathon has been precisely measured by certified South Africa-based Scottish measurer Norrie Williamson, who himself has the experience of having competed in various international marathons. The size of the event will grow exponentially this year simply because of the significant increase in participation. There will be 6,051 runners, both Omani and international, competing in the Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k race and three other new race categories. The international flavour of the event was visible last year when the men’s race was won by Belgian athlete Pierre Breuer and the women’s by Icelandic runner Asta Parker.

The organisers are expecting runners from 86 countries to join the Omani runners to make it a global event. The marathon will have runners from India, Britain, the Philippines and France, closely followed by significant groupings from South Africa, the US, Pakistan and Ireland. More runners from countries ranging from Australia, Brazil and China to Venezuela, Wales and Yemen will also run the race. There is a new value addition to the Muscat Marathon this year and that is aimed at facilitating personal best and possible record times.

To facilitate personal best and possible record times, ‘pacers’ will join the Full Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k race. These ‘pacers’, who will be identified by their bright vests, will provide a pacing ‘bus’ to guide runners to their target times. Each pacer will have a target time clearly displayed and will run a slightly slower first half of their race, speeding up over the final kilometres to ‘pull’ runners along to the target time. The Al Mouj Muscat Marathon has grown tremendously since the first edition in 2012 with just 135 competitors. The marathon has grown in stature and profile owing to the event management expertise of Oman Sail and the support of title sponsor Al Mouj Muscat.

“Oman Sail was delighted to become involved with such a well-founded event in 2017 and we are happy to have been successful in building on that and broadening its appeal for 2018,’’ Salma al Hashmi, Oman Sail CMO said. “It has always been part of our pioneering mission to contribute to the social and economic development of the Sultanate and the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon works on all counts,” she added.

Haridev Pushparaj