The undeniable fact is that the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon continues to demonstrate greater appeal every year, for Omanis, and is this year attracting a diverse group of #RunWithUs Ambassadors, from across the Omani sporting spectrum.
Oman’s top rated racing driver Ahmad al Harthy, is currently racing in the Team Blancpain Endurance Championship, but takes on the very different challenge of a 10 km run. He will surely find it a very different experience without the split-second decisions and pressure of 200 kmh racing!
Sultan al Touqi, Oman’s premier showjumping rider, Olympic medallist will also tread the tarmac. The 10 km event on Friday is a bold challenge for him as the physical and fitness demands would appear to be very different, but he said, “Running is essential in building my stamina, fitness, improving my concentration, and of course contributes to a healthy lifestyle.”
Ultradistance runner Hamdan al Khatri, with his second placing in the Oman by UTMB in November, is certainly one to watch. He said recently that “For three weeks after the UTMB I never ran at all, just concentrated on recovery, and have freshened up with a lot of variety in my training. In addition to my usual running I have done gym sessions, cycling, swimming, and even a little bit of speed work, so I am in a pretty good shape really.” He is optimistic of running under three hours and is going to Croatia in March for another ‘ultra-event,’ so this event fits very nicely into his preparation.
Fellow ultradistance competitor, Khusaif al Zakwani is a big improver in ultra-racing too, and said, “I am training hard in the Green Mountains, where I live and work, and in reaching my goals I feel so much pleasure. Sure, it’s hard work, but always fun when I am doing well.”
Barakat al Harthi, the country’s top sprinter, is training two and three times a day, so he will not be in lack of ‘hardness’. He is an interesting runner in the 5 km event on Saturday, where if he can rein himself in early, could be undeniable with his whirlwind finish. In any event, he is certain to hog the media spotlight on ‘Family Day’.
Fatma al Nabhani is a globally-ranked poster-girl for Omani tennis, is competing over 10 km on Friday who says, “sports has taught me discipline and commitment, and how to challenge myself. This event will certainly be a challenge for me, but I urge you, particularly the Omani women, to join me in the 10 km on Friday.”
To some extent, Abdullah al Fahdi is what the event is all about, and is taking part in the event for the third year in a row. He is just one of many enthusiasts who runs for the love of the sport, the exercise, and the healthy lifestyle benefits. He is enthusiastic about his participation, but has a realistic perspective of his chances, explaining, “My preparation and training has been hindered this year by ongoing medical issues, but I do feel fit and I hope to achieve a respectable time in my event.”
The Al Mouj Muscat Marathon 2020 caters to all runners, promotes healthy lifestyles, and is the nation’s largest sporting event, where even being a spectator can be a ‘healthy dose of feel good!’