Muscat: More than 10,000 runners across all ages and fitness levels will come together this weekend for the ninth edition of the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon, Oman’s largest showcase of healthy lifestyle in the Sultanate.
The increasingly popular two-day festival of running will see athletes representing no fewer than 102 nationalities flocking to Oman’s premier lifestyle destination, Al Mouj Muscat, for the event that has secured a growing international profile.
High-profile former British Olympian and women’s marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe MBE is again on board as global ambassador, as well taking part in the 10KM race. She will join six local ambassadors as part of the #RunwithUs campaign, a national initiative to inspire an active and healthy lifestyle.
Taking part are leading Omani sports personalities tennis star Fatma al Nabhani, Oman’s first Olympic medal winner Sultan al Touqi, racing driver Ahmad al Harthi and sprinter Barakat al Harthi, while Olympic sailing hopeful Musab al Hadi and Ali al Habsi, captain of the national football team will be following the crowds from afar.
The centrepiece full 42KM marathon, half-marathon and 10KM race will start on Friday, February 21, and will be held on fast, flat courses all certified and aligned with International Association of Athletic Federation (IAAF) standards.
The second day, Saturday, February 22, will see the extremely popular 5K Charity Fun Run – which has attracted more than 3,000 runners – as well as the children’s races, which will see young runners aged from 12 to seven years old take on three courses of 1, 2 and 3KMs. This year’s official Charity Partners are the Oman Diabetes Association and the Environment Society of Oman.
The Muscat Marathon was first held in 2012 when it was organised by the grassroots group the Muscat Road Runners, attracting 135 competitors. In 2017 the organisers joined forces with Oman Sail and the Oman Athletic Association in a bid to develop the annual event into a ‘must-do’ marathon with global appeal. “We are incredibly proud to have built on the vision and foundations of the race originally created by Muscat Road Runners,” said David Graham, CEO of Oman Sail.
“As we have worked to develop the profile of this international event, our focus has also been on increasing local participation. I am delighted that the nation has embraced running and the number of Omanis competing in the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon has increased year on year. The event has created new opportunities for people across the country to challenge themselves with new distances, become more confident in their abilities and aspire to improve on their achievements with each race.”
And he added: “With the 2020 festival of running taking place over two days and involving a wide variety of local stakeholders, I am thankful for the support of our title sponsor Al Mouj Muscat, our many event partners and the fantastic volunteers who are all integral to the continued success of the event. At its heart, the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon is, and always has been, a community effort. I would like to thank the Ministry of Sports Affairs, the Ministry of Tourism, the Oman Athletic Association, Muscat Municipality and the Royal Oman Police for their ongoing direction and support.”