World’s toughest mountain race begins at Birkat Al Mouz

Muscat, Nov 27 – Over 2,000 runners of all ages and from across the globe are arriving in Oman to take part in one of the world’s most unique mountain experiences, the 2019 OMAN by UTMB, at Al Hajar mountain range. Aged from 87 to just 6 years of age, the competitors will fly the flag for 68 different countries when they take on a range of challenges, from the elite and sold-out 170 km to the 2 km race, which will see hundreds of children get their first taste of trail running.

Due to the success of the first OMAN by UTMB in 2018, five additional routes were added for 2019, attracting a mixture of world-class elite athletes, running enthusiasts and those wanting to try trail running for the first time.  The extraordinary 130KM mountain course at the heart of the inaugural event is now joined by a challenging 170KM route. Both events are only open to experienced trail runners with the new 170KM course ascending to a height of 3,000m on the formidable Jebel Shams, Arabia’s highest mountain.

The events will get under way at Bayt Al Rudaydah, a mudbrick fort in Birkat Al Mouz, at the mouth of the Al Hajar mountain range. Over the next few days, runners will test not only their physical endurance but also their mental toughness, as they take on the heights of iconic Jabel Al Akhdhar run through ancient, deserted villages such as Wadi Bani Habib, navigate stunning ridges and plateau edges at Sharaf Al Alamayn, before finally descending into the spectacular mountain village of Misfat Al Abriyeen and on to the finish.

The 170KM and 130KM will both finish at one of Oman’s oldest villages, Al Hamra, with the youth and beginner races to be centred around this historic hub on Friday and Saturday. Among those taking on the ultimate challenge of the 170KM is the Co-Founder of UTMB itself, Michel Poletti. “I am delighted to be returning to Oman for the second OMAN by UTMB here in the majestic Al Hajar mountains. Here in Oman, the race really is an unforgettable experience for every athlete. It is a race for those seeking adventure, and a technical and demanding course in an incredible mountainous environment that they can’t experience anywhere else. I look forward to experiencing the 170KM course myself when the event gets underway on Thursday!”