By Mudassir Raja Muscat
*Event aimed at fostering an active lifestyle
Details of the 2020 edition of Oman’s largest and most popular running event, ‘Al Mouj Muscat Marathon’, were unveiled at a press conference held recently at Kempinski Hotel in Muscat.
The press meet that was attended by local and foreign media marked the opening of registration for the 2020 event. The next edition of the two-day festival of running will take place on January 17 and 18, 2020 and it aims to raise the appeal to international runners and get more Omani youth active.
Registration, now open can be done through the official event website: https://muscatmarathon.om/
Under the slogan #RunWithUs, the national campaign comes in light of the rising levels of diabetes, obesity and hypertension in Oman. Seven top athletes from a variety of sport disciplines joined forces with the organisers as inspirational ambassadors for the event to highlight the mission. The sports ambassadors also attended the press conference along with the organisers.
They included Ali al-Habsi, Oman’s top goalkeeper; Ahmad al-Harthi, sportscar racing driver; Sultan al-Touqi, Olympic showjumper; Barakat al-Harthi, sprinter; Fatma al-Nabhani, tennis player; Musab al-Hadi, sailor and Olympic hopeful. They alongside Paula Radcliffe, British long-distance runner, global ambassador and world record holder, will act as role models to add to the collaborative effort by the event organisers, Oman Sail, and supporters to engage a bigger segment of the youth population to follow an active lifestyle.
Speaking about the new campaign, Ali al-Habsi said: “Al Mouj Muscat Marathon is the perfect opportunity to make the youth aware of the importance of being active. The annual event provides a fun platform for people to challenge themselves and work towards a fitness goal. My children took part in the kids run last year and really enjoyed the experience. I look forward to running in the event next year.”
Tennis star Fatma al-Nabhani said: “It is an honour to be working with Al Mouj Muscat Marathon on a campaign that brings the whole nation together for a healthier future. The risk of not being physically active is too high. I would love to see more women participating in the event, because nothing is beyond our reach. I have never done anything like this before, but I love to challenge myself and hope that many people will join me at the event.”
Younis al-Siyabi, Chairman of the Oman Athletics Association (OAA), said: “We are proud to add our support to the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon and its important goal of encouraging people in Oman to become more active. It is completely in step with our goals and objectives and we applaud its central role in next year’s event.
“At the heart of the OAA is the mission to promote sport and athletics across the sultanate, and the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon has a very important role to play in that endeavour.”
The opening day – January 17 – will feature the main marathon event along with the half-marathon and 10km races. The second day – January 18 – will feature the popular 5km Run and the Kids’ Run. All events will be hosted around Al Mouj Muscat, which will again provide a striking background for the range of athletic endeavours.
Nasser al-Sheibani, CEO of Al Mouj Muscat, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be the title sponsor of this remarkable event for another year. The Muscat Marathon is a great match for our ambitions at Al Mouj Muscat to promote a healthy lifestyle for our multi-national residents and many visitors. It has become a great spectacle which has been embraced by the community as a whole.”
David Graham, CEO of Oman Sail, said: “We have been delighted to see the tremendous growth of the event over the past three years which has been a result of the dedicated work of many entities around Oman and the generous support of our commercial partners, Al Mouj Muscat and Port Sohar.
“The benefits of having an active lifestyle are very well proven and documented. It is no coincidence that 93% of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies played regular sport in their youth. Sports have far reaching benefits for individuals and society as a whole and we are really grateful to the Omani sporting icons for helping us with the mission of getting the youth active.”
The 42.195km marathon and subsidiary events are all certified by world-running organisation AIMS to conform to International Association of Athletic Federation (IAAF) standards and offer a great variety for runners. “The mix of events and distances has proved a great success and very popular with runners of all ages and abilities,” said Ahmed al- Malki, Chairman of the Muscat Road Runners, who organised the first Muscat Marathon in 2012.
“We have been delighted to see the tremendous growth of the event over the past three years, in large part due to the organisational expertise by Oman Sail, the dedicated work by more than 170 volunteers and the generous support of Al Mouj Muscat,” he added.
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