Ready, Set, Go! Muscat Marathon is Coming

With 6,094 competitors last year, across the different class and distance events, the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon aims even higher for the 2019 event, held over two days, Friday and Saturday, January 18-19.
Head of Communication for the organisers, Oman Sail, Assim Al Saqri, commented this week, “There has been a significant amount of interest in the event to date as a result of the massive amount of behind the scenes, in which the Ministry of Tourism and the Implementation Support and Follow-Up Unit play a significant role, as we seek to achieve the objectives behind sports tourism initiatives.”
He explained that the focus on the event has been to deliver a quality event that participants, and their support teams, will want to return to compete in subsequent years. “Eventually,” he said, “We would like to see the event date pencilled in as soon as the athletes get home and have their friends and fellow competitors want to be involved as well. Ultimately, we want this to become an athletic ‘bucket list’ event, and it is a realistic expectation.”
It’s a maxim that repeat business is a hallmark of achievement, with returning customers a validation of satisfaction. Similarly, event promoters worldwide in entertainment, retail, and marketing will always contact previous customers first, and that’s not by accident, as it’s calculated it costs five times more to source new customers than existing ones. Business sources have long held the view that prospective customers have around a 10-15 per cent chance of buying, while repeat customers have a 60 per cent chance of purchasing, with similar statistics evident to sporting event
promoters. Most competitors will return to an event on multiple occasions.
Looking at an athletic event from a business perspective is not new, well not globally at least, and it appears from the outside that Muscat, and the Sultanate as a whole, can benefit significantly from the lessons of the harsh realities of the business world in also driving up the economic impact on the event through the tourism and hospitality sector, and retail links.
There should too be associative community benefits and in country value (ICV) as the number of local competitors increases, driving nationally inspired ‘healthy lifestyle’ initiatives. Omanis, physically, are very well proportioned for athletic events, and significant Omani participation has the potential to be a genuine catalyst for a change in the enthusiasm towards athletics here in Oman.
In fantastic news for the event, Al Saqri advised that, “The upcoming edition will have around 8,000 runners doing 42 km, 21 km, 10 km and 5 charity road runs in Muscat, and Paula Radcliffe, MBE, three-time London Marathon winner, and the fastest marathon runner of all time, is coming as the Event Ambassador.” This is indeed a testament to the world standing of the event, and again marks Oman, Oman Sail and sports competition and tourism as an area of massive potential.
Another competitor, in the half-marathon, will be British athlete, but Chinese domiciled, Pavel Toropov. Though recently hindered by a hip joint capsule injury, the 42-year-old resident of Kunming in the republic has a greater profile as a trail runner, having ran semi-professionally for the 2XU Extreme Team in the past. He told the Observer, “The injury I’ve been carrying is common in runners, but it has been bothersome more than anything. However, I’m working my way back to top form and have ambitions to run near my personal best of 1hour 15m for the half. I’m used to the heat and humidity of China, so I should manage the conditions, and I’m really looking forward to the event.”