Oman by UTMB is an ultra-trail runner’s dream: an extraordinary trip through the Al Hajar mountains range deep in the country’s interior. Designed to highlight Oman’s natural beauty and take runners off the beaten track, OMAN by UTMB will start from the historic town of Birkat Al Mawz, at 600m, and climb up to heights of 2,200m at Al Jabal Al Akhdar, the Green Mountain. The course has long and technical climbs with a total vertical gain of more than 7,800m, taking in mountain top ridges and passing through ancient villages, palm plantations, deep wadis and narrow gorges. The journey will lead runners off the beaten tourist tracks, allowing them to explore the Sultanate’s hidden gems located deep within its rugged, untouched landscapes.
Athletes will enjoy breath-taking views and historic plantations alongside the sights and scents offered by lush terraces teeming with pomegranates, figs, almonds, grapes, apples and roses! Packed with variety and some tough terrain, climbs are at times exposed, requiring runners to be confident at height. Given the ultra-trail’s remote and difficult to access sections, a capacity for personal self-sufficiency is required. The first finishers are expected to complete the course in around 20 hours, having experienced temperatures ranging from 25°C at low level to 10°C and less in the mountains and overnight.
Enthusiasm to be a part of the first ever OMAN by UTMB has seen hundreds of runners sign up, including many of the best-known members of the close-knit ultra-trail international community. With more than 49 countries already represented on the startline, the high demand saw organiser Oman Sail extend registration for a sought-after place until 30 September 2018. Among those registered to run in the Middle East’s first ever ultra-trail event are:
2016 Ultra-Trail World Tour Champion Gediminas Grinius, an achievement the Lithuanian-born star has built on since, with a series of top results that includes a victory in this year’s other international UTMB event, China’s Gaoligong by UTMB
Film-maker Jason Schlarb, the top American finisher in the 2014 UTMB Mont Blanc
Ida Nilsson, a successful Swedish track athlete with an increasing social media following who has graduated to long distance running as well as ski mountaineering
Diego ‘Zpeedy’ Pazos, the extrovert Swiss athlete also known as the ‘bow tie trail runner’
Wyoming-based Meredith Edwards, one of the leading and most popular female runners
on the circuit.
Benefits of Participation
In addition to the adventure, running OMAN by UTMB – which is a UTMB International event — carries a number of benefits for those wishing to enter the lottery to run in the heavily-oversubscribed UTMB Mont-Blanc:
• Every finisher gains the maximum number of qualifying points (6) valid for 3 years (instead of the usual 2 years) and every finisher saves one year in the UTMB Mont-Blanc registration process.
• So, for the 2019 edition, each OMAN by UTMB finisher doubles their chance in the entry lottery, if registering for the first time, or gains entry – if registering for the second time — having been unsuccessful in 2018.