Five Omani runners conquer Doi Inthanon mountain in Thailand

Sports Sunday 18/December/2022 15:06 PM
By: Times News Service
Five Omani runners conquer Doi Inthanon mountain in Thailand

Muscat: Omani ultra-trail runners Hamed Al Harthi, Hamdan Al Khatri, Mohammed Al Shizawi, Issa Al Abri and Dr Yaqoob Al Nadabi all took part in and completed Thailand by UTMB® set within the Doi Inthanon National Park near to Chiang Mai in the country’s north.

Fresh from a successful race at the Himam Trail Run Race, all five travelled to Thailand to gain more experience and acquire the Running Stones credits needed to qualify for the big one: UTMB® Chamonix 2023, taking place at the end of August next year.

Hamdan Al Khatri finished second in the Al Hajar Range Challenge 100km race in Birkat Al Mouz, just seven minutes behind legendary nine-time Marathon des Sables champion Rachid El Morabity of Morocco.

He continued his good form by finishing the Summit 160km race in 31 hours, 36 minutes and 51 seconds, finishing 43rd out of 287 finishers.

He said, “I really enjoyed the race. At times it was difficult, but I trained well, and the Himam Trail Run was great preparation. I feel I am running really well in all conditions and will look to continue this form as we get close to UTMB® Chamonix 2023 in August and September. It really was amazing to see the landscape and turning the corner to see the mountain tops and rice fields gave all of us, I think, the inspiration to keep going.”

As one of Oman’s most experienced ultra-trail runners, Hamed Al Harthi has completed races all around the world. This time out he also took on the Summit 160km race, completing the course in 45 hours, 56 minutes and 23 seconds. At 64 years old he was one of the oldest competitors in this year’s race and finished 2nd in the 60-64 age category.

Fellow Omani Mohammed Al Shizawi finished 155th overall in the Summit 160km race, crossing the line after 42 hours, 32 minutes and 25 seconds.

Speaking after the race, Hamed said, “Switching from the dry heat of Oman to the humidity of Thailand takes time to acclimatise to and adds a new challenge to the race. I am pleased with my performance to have completed the course. Aside from the conditions, the climb to over 2000 metres is difficult but the views from the top are worthwhile. I am thankful to the local people for their kindness in welcoming all of the runners to their region; it really shows that we are all one community.”

Dr Yaqoob completed the 100km Al Hajar Range Challenge at the Himam Trail Run Race in 27th place – crossing the line with a time of 26 hours, 23 minutes and 41 seconds. Issa raced The Adventure 55km route in Birkat Al Mouz, finishing 7th overall in a time of seven hours, 16 minutes ad 49 seconds.

The pair took on the Pagoda 50km race in Thailand with Issa making it home first out, in 77th place overall out of 1,061 runners and completing the course in eight hours 51 minutes and 49 seconds. Dr Yaqoob was just over two hours behind, finishing in273rd place with a time of 11 hours, five minutes and 18 seconds.

Each route took runners on an incredible immersive journey through native forest, taking them up a gradual climb from 400 to 2100 metres above sea level.

 The race routes gave all four a close look at the local culture as they pass through ancestral lands of the Hmong, Pga-Gan-Yaw and Karenic tribes, allowing them to experience the peaceful ways of life as well as enjoying awe-inspiring views of the terraced rice paddy fields and cool temperatures in beautiful, tropical, humid forests.

Training will resume in January as each runner looks to build endurance and cover a variety of distances in preparation for a busy calendar of races in Oman and around the world.