Muscat: Fitness enthusiasts in Oman and the rest of the world can now begin preparations for the 2018 edition of the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon, which is pencilled in for next January.
Scheduled to take place on January 18 and 19, the latest edition of the marathon is set to be its largest ever, with more than 5,000 runners expected to take part in it next year.
While that is a sharp jump from the 1,290 participants, who took part this year, David Graham, chief executive officer (CEO) of Oman Sail—one of the organisers of the event—is confident that the three way partnership with Muscat Road Runners and Al Mouj will reap dividends.
“This edition of the Al Mouj Marathon will be the largest and most comprehensive,” he said.
“2018 is set to be our biggest year. We’re personally focusing on individual development, tourism and contributing towards the national economy. We plan to develop Oman as a world-class sports tourism destination.”
“Sports tourism is a big part of the country’s Tanfeedh plans for economic diversification,” Graham added.
“Mass participation in sporting events helps businesses, local merchants and hotels, who welcome participants and their families for a holiday. Also, it has been proved that this social demographic has a higher spending (capacity) so with one racer you have about five tourists coming in.”
In addition to the 42 kilometre (km) marathon and 21 km half-marathon, as well as the 10 km run, a children’s run and marathon relay have also been added to the list of events for the first time. Also scheduled for this year’s Al Mouj Marathon is a charity run.
“Of course, it’s not just about getting runners in, but about preparing them accordingly for the race, and ensuring that they recover well afterwards,” said Oman Sail’s Graham.
“We have good ties with schools in the area, so we will be inviting them to take part in our kids run, while we will be turning to companies to send in relay runners for the marathon as well.”
Graham’s optimism was echoed by the other organisers of the race as well.
“Across all of the international running events, we received a 90 per cent rating last time; it’s hard to get that if you don’t deliver quality and we hope to get that this time as well,” revealed Ahmed Al Malki, chairman of Muscat Road Runners.
“Muscat Road Runners has more than 100 members at present and we are delighted to see the numbers growing as we look forward to welcoming a growing numbers of foreign and local participants next year,” he added.
This opinion was shared by Nasser Al Sheibani, CEO of Al Mouj, because “every aspect we promote is to develop components of an active lifestyle. This marathon is a natural extension of what we offer. 2017 saw the Sultanate of Oman establish itself as a running destination. Talent from Oman and across the world will compete in this running festival.”
“The athletes get to be themselves in the beautiful surroundings of our country,” he added.
“This promotes a healthy lifestyle and tourism, and encourages Omanis to take up the sport, also aiding in the delivery of long-term benefits to the economy.”
To register, participants may to go www.muscatmarathon.om