An expanded Muscat Marathon has stepped into the arena to help satisfy the increasing international appetite for marathon events, and registrations have been snapped up for the 2018 festival of running with over 5,000 participants expected.
Created and run for its first five years by the local Muscat Road Runners organisation, the grassroots event extended its international reach in 2017 with the established event management expertise of Oman Sail and the support of title sponsor Al Mouj Muscat, the renowned waterfront destination.
After record entries in 2017, the global appeal of the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon will be further enhanced in 2018 as the seventh edition becomes an extended two-day festival of running with international appeal.
Held on January 18th and 19th, 2018, the event will feature three new additional running categories with a significant increase of runners. Participation is expected to reach over 5,000, a large increase from 1,290 who took part in the 2017 event.
January offers perfect running conditions with average temperatures between 17°C and 25°C, and a beautiful coastal course along the Muscat shoreline. The international flavour of the event was shown in 2017 when the men’s race was won by Belgian athlete Pierre Breuer and the women’s by Icelandic runner Asta Parker.
“Our partnership with Oman Sail and the title sponsorship of Al Mouj Muscat has enabled the event to reach new heights,” said Ahmed Al Malki, Chairman of Muscat Road Runners.
“The exciting new aspects of the race will offer new opportunities for international competitors of various ages and skill levels to compete and provide a new way to discover our beautiful country.”
“Our continuing sponsorship of the Muscat Marathon reflects our belief in the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, which is a key community objective at Al Mouj Muscat,” said Nasser Al Sheibani, CEO of the thriving waterfront complex.
“Al Mouj Muscat with its world-class facilities has enabled the Sultanate to host international sport events. We are proud of Al Mouj Golf, Oman’s first signature course considered one of the world’s most stunning golfing facilities which host international golf tournaments. Al Mouj Marina, of course, has been providing an international focus to Oman by regularly attracting elite international sailing events,” he said.
CEO of Oman Sail, David Graham, added: “In January this year we built on the foundations of a successful event established over several years by Muscat Road Runners. In 2018, we are going further in promoting the marathon to attract more regional and international runners.”
The 2018 Al Mouj Muscat Marathon route is being finalised and an announcement will follow shortly.
The first of the new running categories – a Kids Run – will feature on the opening day of the event on Thursday, January 18, and will include three courses: 1km for children aged 7 and 8; 2.5km for 9 and 10 year-olds; and a 4km course for youngsters aged 11 and 12.
The following day will see the running of the established full Marathon, Half-marathon and 10km races, as well as another of the new categories, a Marathon Relay open to teams of four to six runners who will each run part of the full 42km course.
Though partly aimed at corporate and business teams, the Marathon Relay is open to everybody with trophies on offer for the winning male, female and mixed teams with at least two female runners.
Meanwhile, the 5km Charity Fun Run – the third new running category – is offering participants the opportunity to have fun and support an organisation at the heart of an Omani national campaign to fight diabetes.
The Oman Diabetes Association (ODA) is at the forefront of a project to prevent and reduce diabetes in the Sultanate and improve the lives of those already suffering from the disease. As the official charity partner for the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon, 20% of the Charity Fun Run entry fee will go directly to the ODA, a non-governmental, non-profit organisation. ■