UTMB International, the international division of the world-renowned Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB), has opened registration for the second annual OMAN by UTMB ultra trail race in the Middle East Sultanate of Oman.
Building on the inaugural event in 2018, the second edition of OMAN by UTMB take place on November 28-30, 2019. This year’s event features a greater range of distances and difficulty from an elite 170K course to a 50K course.
In what has been called ‘the world’s toughest adventure race’ by National Geographic, OMAN by UTMB features Oman’s dramatic interior, tracking through deep wadis, high ridges, ancient villages and the exotic landscapes of Arabia.
The inaugural race attracted international interest including many high-profile members of the global trail running community. Winning the elite 130K division, Jason Schlarb (USA) and Diego Pazos (CH) crossed the finish line jointly in a thrilling 1st-place tie.
“OMAN by UTMB has instantly established itself as a valued member of UTMB International,” said Michel Poletti co-director of UTMB. “The new courses will dramatically increase the appeal of OMAN by UTMB to both experienced and novice runners. I believe they will encourage many more trailers who practice ultra running to come to Oman and take on a unique experience in an unforgettable landscape.”
2019 OMAN by UTMB courses
- 170K, Total Elevation Gain: 10,400m
- 130K, Total Elevation Gain: 7,400m
- 50K, Total Elevation Gain: 2,300m
The 50K race, which starts on November 29, is recommended for runners new to the sport or looking for a shorter challenge with limited technical sections to navigate. The 50K will start and finish in Al Hamra, taking runners onto Al Akhdar (the Green Mountain) with more than 2,300m (7,500ft) of elevation gain.
The 130K and 170K routes are recommended for experienced ultra runners – with the new 170K course ascending to a height of 3,000m (9,800 ft) on the formidable Jebel Shams, Arabia’s tallest mountain. Runners will require an official International Trail Running Association (ITRA) ranking to qualify to participate in either distance. Both the 130K and 170K start November 28 at Birkat Al Mouz.
Overall, runners will need four ITRA points to compete in the 130K run and five ITRA points to compete in the 170K. No ITRA points are required for the 50KM run.
“Last year was a resounding success and has put the Sultanate firmly on the international trail running map,” said David Graham, CEO of event organizer Oman Sail.
“The additional distances will make the event even more appealing and we look forward to welcoming many runners from far and wide in November. It is an inspiring event that helps spread the word that Oman has a great deal to offer sports tourists and adventure seekers.”
Like all ITRA sanctioned trail running events, taking part in OMAN by UTMB earns qualifying points towards entry for UTMB Mont-Blanc. Runners who complete the 130K run will earn five ITRA points; runners completing the 170K will earn six ITRA points; and runners who finish the 50KM run will earn two ITRA points.
A new qualifying system recently announced by UTMB International means that runners who complete in either the 130K or 170K events are instantly guaranteed entry to race in UTMB Mont-Blanc in 2020. OMAN by UTMB is the first opportunity runners will have to benefit from the new qualifying regulations for UTMB Mont-Blanc.