Muscat, December 18th 2018: The highly successful OMAN by UTMB® is set to return next year, with the event expanding to offer something for all trail runners and all levels of experience.
The date in the international ultra-trail diary is 28-30 November 2019, with more days set to be added as decisions are made about the final format.
Remaining at its heart will be the challenging 137km course which earlier this month saw 326 ultra-trail athletes from 52 countries set off through the streets of Birkat Al Mouz to take on the heights of Jebel Al Akhdar – the Green Mountain – deep within Oman’s rugged interior.
Less than 21 hours later joint winners Jason Schlarb and Diego ‘Zpeedy’ Pazos crossed the finish line arm-in-arm, to be joined over the following day by dozens of tired but elated runners.
Both winners were full of praise for the unique experience presented by OMAN by UTMB®. Schlarb said: “The course was unbelievably challenging – technical and exciting all at once. The people were hugely inviting and wonderful, shaking my hand, it was great.”
Pazos added: “The course was more than challenging I think. It’s really incredible – the most challenging race I have ever done that’s for sure.”
It was a view shared by UTMB® Mont-Blanc Race Director Michel Poletti who hailed the route as “tough but wonderful”. At the race’s conclusion he added: “What a technical race! An event with a real mountain, absolutely in the UTMB® DNA. The idea was to offer runners an unforgettable experience, within a magical landscape.”
Building from that, in 2019 OMAN by UTMB® will take a page from the original UTMB® Mont-Blanc playbook and branch out to offer a greater variety of courses.
Already agreed is the addition of a longer 166km route that will include Oman’s highest mountain, Jebel Shams. Also planned are shorter courses and less technical route options, though still based around the original route.
All will deliver on the UTMB® philosophy of providing spectacular and safe courses with high-quality organisation and back-up for runners and their supporters.
At the same time OMAN by UTMB® meets the objectives of event organiser Oman Sail in promoting sport and adventure tourism in the Sultanate, and creating a long-term legacy which will benefit the country as a whole, the region, and the local communities who played a key role in planning and improving the course.
“The first ever OMAN by UTMB® has been a great success, and we are proud to have produced a course that was received with enormous enthusiasm by UTMB® and that has challenged the hundreds of runners who took part,” said Salma Al Hashmi, Chief Marketing Officer at Oman Sail.
“We will build on that and introduce new elements in 2019 which will further expand the appeal of the event, and at the same time offer a marvellous opportunity for people to come to Oman and experience our welcoming culture and incredible natural beauty first hand.”
Watch this year’s OMAN by UTMB® highlights here for a taste of what is to come: