Anybody fascinated by isolation and otherworldly landscapes, and looking for a real endurance challenge, should consider taking part in the Oman Desert Marathon – a 165km run divided into six stages (21km, 22km, 25km, 27km, 40km and 30km) – held from 6th to 13th November 2015. This is a perfect event both for less experienced runners and elite runners training for even more extreme contests.
Embracing the experience of an authentic desert existence, runners are completely self-sufficient, carrying all of their own equipment except for water and sleeping bags.
The Oman Desert is breathtakingly beautiful. Following historical camel caravan routes (used for centuries by merchants), runners venture deep into the desert, crossing an oasis and canyons, and scaling towering red dunes. The longest leg of the race, the night stage, immerses runners into the magic of the desert illuminated by stars.
Extremely professional organisation of the event guarantees maximum safety for each entrant. Monitoring occurs from a decent enough distance so as not to spoil the sense of desert desolation, but close enough to keep everybody on track and to provide rapid attention if needed.
More info: marathonoman.com
There are free places for those who raise £2,500 to restore damaged faces and lives.
All UK entrants run on behalf of Facing Africa, a charity which funds two surgical teams of highly skilled and experienced individual volunteers to visit Ethiopia every year to perform complex facial reconstructive surgery on those whose faces have been grossly disfigured by the disease Noma.
The cost of running the Oman Desert Marathon is £840 including all accommodation in Oman, all meals before and after the race, drinks and transfers. However, all competitors who raise a minimum of £2,500 (excluding Gift Aid) in donations for Facing Africa will immediately be refunded the £840 fee.