In 2018 “Oman by UTMB” shouted it’s arrival on the global trail running scene as it welcomed trail runners from around the world to it’s beautiful mountains. Few knew what awaited them, even fewer seemed to want to return in the following years. Even UTMB pulled out after being associated with the event for 2 years. Reason? The course was too hard!
This did not demotivate the ever growing Omani trail running community as 2021 saw the launch of the Himam ultra showing that there are can still be great races in great places with or without UTMB.
Sitting practically on our doorstep, the mountains of Oman, just a 5 hour drive from InnerFight are absolutely unique. To conquer them takes a mindset, a legset and an ability to withstand the wicked combination of gradient and “no marked trail” that the hardcore trail runner lives for. This is not a running race, training for running will not prepare you for it. The opportunity is way bigger.
The 2023 edition offered up 5 distances in total. 115km, 55km, 20km, 10km, 5km of which we had InnerFight athletes in the first 3.
The weekend is a festival of trail with the 115km kicking off on Thursday morning in Hamra at 6:30am and demanded the runners to be at the finish in Birkat Al Mouz no more than 36 hours later. A timeframe that on paper looks straight forward but in reality the story was different. Our trio of Bachir, Joao and Tina of course all made it to the finish line well within the cut off and with war stories and scars to share. An experience of a lifetime for sure, being out there over 24 hours.
Friday saw the start of the 55km race with Brian, Rob, Adrian and Marcus on the start line. With the route taking in the final 25km of the 115km race there was much chat at the end about the amazing climbs, but more on the insane canyon that the route took the runners through for 5km before serving up a flat wadi with a built in headwind for the final 12km to the finish. Would they want it any different?
Rushil, Kerrie and Adriana joined over 200 people to take on the later afternoon 20km for their dose of Omani trails and even over this relatively short distance got a sound understanding of what Oman has to offer.
These trails are beautiful, the mountains are high and relentless but they are here for everyone who want’s it. All the races have generous time caps and well manned aid stations to keep the runners safe, what are you waiting for?
There are other places you could enter the world of trail running but Oman is a playground that is likely to give you the experience you need to be successful on most other courses!
Thank you Himam Ultra and we will certainly be seeing you in 2024.
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If you want to swim faster on race day, it’s no secret you’ve got to swim fast in training.
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