Wadi Adventure Race #18 – the mother of all obstacle races in the UAE
It was in 2012 when OutdoorUAE visited the first ever Wadi Adventure Race in Al Ain. The inaugural race attracted just a few dozen adventure enthusiasts to make the long drive from Abu Dhabi, Dubai or other emirates to the foot of Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain.
The one thing which makes WAR unique is the inclusion of a lot of water obstacles and long river wading which cannot be found anywhere else in the region. Now six years and 17 races later, Wadi Adventure Race has grown to be one of the most popular and beloved obstacle races in the region which is so popular that it takes place 4 times a year. The race has not only grown in spectators and participants; the team of Wadi Adventure is also eager to adjust the course each time, come up with new challenges and obstacles to keep the race surprising and fun every time. The record participant number was almost 1000 runners. Since participants are now in the hundreds the race offers different categories: 5k, 10k and 15k race distances and 1.5k juniors (7-13years) race was also added which makes it a race for the whole family. The race is separated in 10 waves, so that the course does not get too busy and that there are only short queues in front of obstacles.
For the adults the race is timed for the competitive participants even though most people participate only for the fun factor. To be able to make it to the podium and an official ranking you need to be registered in the elite category and you are not allowed to skip any of the obstacles. If you don’t compete it is up to you to skip obstacles.
The winners get a trophy and product prizes, but all participants receive a medal, t-shirt and free breakfast buffet.
To make the 44 obstacles and a maximum track distance of 15km plus a few hundred metres of river crossing safe for all participants, an army of volunteers is involved in the race, giving instructions and directions as well as two ambulances on standby, two safety vehicles, and over 20 first aid kits around the course.
WAR 18 had 421 participants (excluding juniors) from various ages (youngest 14 – oldest 59), 39 nationalities and backgrounds plus a few hundred spectators. The great thing about these kind of events is that the majority come for the fun and social factor so you see many groups of friends racing together and helping each other overcome obstacles, personal challenges and fear. You can find also corporate teams as well as government entities who participate with their teams as a health initiative and to bond employees together.
Luke Skippon from UK winner 10k: It was my fist race and I enjoyed the running. I will train for the next one in 2019 and definitely will be back.
One of the elite race winners was asked, which was the most challenging obstacle on the 15k race and his answer was: “The running itself, on the gravely and sandy ground is the biggest challenge.”
James Bridger from Wales: It’s my fifth W.A.R and monkey bars are my favorite.
Mark kennigen living for 27 years in the Dubai but originally from UK: This time it was a lot more running and more obstacle. A great fun, I enjoyed it.
Suhail from United Arab Emirates and part of team Desert Shield: The event is great but we need more races a year maybe five. W.A.R 18 was fun and the obstacles were great.
Rashid Abdula Al Balousi from United Arab Emirates: I liked the event so, so much and the best was the walk in the river.
Jerry from Philippines and running for Dubai Future Foundation: It was an amazing experience and I had fund with my colleagues. Thank you to the organizer to put together such an outstanding event and I will be back for the next one.
Karen: I did the 5k run and I really liked the obstacles especially the one in the river it was very refreshing.
Lada Amudi from Lebanon: It was my first WAR and I really liked it, I am looking forward to the next one.
Mohamed from UAE: This was my first time and it was really challenging, I usually do other obstacle races but I am now looking forward for this one in 2019.
Arnold Morob from Denmark: I did the 10k in this really well-organised event and my favourite obstacle were the monkey bars. It’s always great to come to Al Ain and W.A.R.
Diana from Kenya: I did the 10k and the obstacles I like most the monkey bars and the water.
Marcus from Brazil: It’s my first time and I love the water. I like to see next time is an obstacle with more energy which makes people run faster but the race was great.
Joan Fencer from South Africa: I love the event it’s the 5th or sixth I have done. I like the monkey ropes but I don’t like the monkey bars. My son and I will be back.
Rick Dezoren from Spain: I really like the race it’s a great environment to come together. My favourite obstacle was the net climb you really had to race to reach it fast and be on top first.
Claudio from Spain: I really enjoyed the race because I could do it with my friends. My favourite obstacles were the sand bags because my friends helped me.
Myria from Germany: This was my second race and I really enjoyed it.
Leon from Slovenia: It’s a really cool facility here and I like the race very much.
Noreen from Egypt: The event was really nice and I like the water obstacles. ■
(Note: we apologise for any misspelled names which were transcribed from our audio recordings)
The next WAR will take place in February 2019 and we are all keen to see what new obstacles the Wadi Adventure Team will come up and how many new and regular W.A.R heroes will we meet.
To book for the slot, visit www.premieronline.com