Get set for Esrar Race 2018
March 14 2018 12:04 AM
Mutaz Barshim (second right) and Amad al-Hosni (left) with senior officials of AZF and Diverse at the press conference yesterday. PICTURE: Noushad Thekkayil

More than 180 participants from 35 countries, including 10 Kuwaitis, will participate in the second edition of Esrar Race, scheduled on March 23 and 24 at Aspire Park. The Esrar Race 2018, an obstacle course race, is organised by Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) in partnership with Diverse – a Qatari business that specialises in sports events management, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), Ooredoo and Al Mosak, a fitness food company.
AZF’s Events and Venues director Abdullah Aman al-Khater told a press conference yesterday that the event’s popularity last year prompted them to add an additional category for men and women’s relay teams instead of having individual races only.
“The Esrar Race 2018 has generated an increase in popularity among sports enthusiasts from within and outside Qatar, especially in the region, and we extended it to two days,” he said, adding that the second day (March 24) of the competition will witness relay team races.
Al-Khater said each member of the team will need to travel 200m and overcome eight obstacles. The relay races will comprise different teams from gyms across Qatar who signed up their clients and trainers to enter the races. “This is to encourage a healthy competition between gyms in Qatar, and to give their members a target to train towards,” the AZF official said.
Out of the 180 participants, 36 are women. There are 90 Qataris who will take part in the individual races while 36 have registered for the relay teams races. Amad al-Hosni, the Omani national footballer who currently plays for Fanja FC, will also participate in the Esrar Race as an honorary ambassador, along with Qatar’s Olympic Champion and IAAF Athlete of the Year Mutaz Barshim.
“AZF has also increased the number of obstacle courses from 14 to 21 this year, which will be set up along a distance of five kilometres in Aspire Park,” al-Khater said. “All obstacles were designed and built in-house by AZF’s Logistics team.”
“Some materials used were originally purchased for the Asian Games 2006, demonstrating AZF’s commitment to extending the legacy of the Games for more than a decade,” he stressed.
The obstacles include The Log Jam, the Low Wall, Barrel of Laughs, Tyre Mire, Container Detainer, The Big Squeeze, Leaning Wall, ZZ Hop, Netfix, Killa G’rilla, Walk of Rain, Sidewalk Shuffle, Sandbagger Hill 1, Rolling Thunder, Splashdown, Updown Updown, Sandbagger’s Hill 2, Mudder’s Delight, Zig Zag, and Bladder Ladder.
“I was present as an honorary ambassador during the first Esrar Race last year. This year, I’m going to be a participant,” Barshim said. “The race shouldn’t only be about winning because every participant is a winner. It should be about having fun and doing something people love to do.”
Diverse CEO Khalid Saadoun al-Kuwari said: “After taking part in an obstacle course a few years ago, I thought about bringing that sort of event to Qatar for the first time (by establishing Diverse sports management company).”
“That’s how Qatar’s first Esrar Race 2017 came to be. The idea started out of my passion for the sport, and it became a reality, thanks to AZF’s logistical support,” he noted. QTA’s chief marketing and promotion officer Rashed al-Qurese said Esrar works to develop and position itself on the regional sports and fitness calendars and contribute to the growing sports tourism sub-sector in Qatar.
“Supporting Qatari-owned and -operated participation events like Esrar is a key area of focus for us as we implement the Next Chapter of the National Tourism Sector Strategy 2017-2023,” he said. “We are particularly proud of this sporting event as it promotes Qatar’s sporting culture and creates a Qatari challenger to the global giants in the fast-growing obstacle course racing arena,” al-Qurese stressed.

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