It’s been billed as the Middle East’s toughest multi-event endurance race – so who will be crowned the Sultan of the Desert when the dust settles in Al Ain next month?
The first ever Red Bull Sultan of the Desert race, described as an ‘extreme endurance test’, will feature teams of three going head to head in three different disciplines, including running, mountain biking and kayaking when it blows into Al Ain on Friday, October 10.
Each of the relay race’s three main disciplines spans nearly 15km, with the running and mountain biking taking place at the foothills of the UAE’s highest peak, Jebel Hafeet, which will surely put strength and stamina to the test.
Meanwhile, the 12km kayaking section is set to make a splash in Al Ain’s scenic Al Mubazzarah lake and Wadi Adventure’s notorious whitewater channels, which have become a favourite winter training spot among world-class athletes.
Kayakers will have to run 2km while carrying their 22kg vessels before hitting the white water (class 2) for another 2km. After that they’ll need to rip through 8km of flat water in a rapid race to the finish line.
Endurance and individual skills are the name of the game, and the participating teams of three, which can include mixed gender trios, will need to go all out to lay their claim to the Sultan of the Desert title.
Al Ain city is famous for its terrain as well as hosting endurance events and challenging athletes with natural obstacles, so you can be sure that the Sultan of the Desert event will be no mirage.
Online Registration for the event closes on Sunday, October 5 at 23:59.
Endurance experts stress that proper training is crucial to successfully completing the race.
Australian endurance athlete and Dubai Fitness Competition winner Eva Clarke says it is highly recommended to practice on surfaces similar to that of the race terrain itself.
“This competition is all about the right techniques, so it’s crucial to acquire some experience before hitting the race grounds. You need to get used to the rough surfaces and the weather as well, especially that you’ll be running under the summer sun on a 15 km off-road track, which forces your body to consume more energy. So you need to get out and not limit your practice to the treadmill.”
Australian expat Eva is billed as the UAE’s fittest woman. She invented her own workout called HUA, a genuine military workout based on her time as a military fitness instructor in the Australian Army and Air Force.
Super fit Eva also smashed the world record for the most knuckle push-ups in the space of 24 hours and one hour at Al Wahda Mall, Abu Dhabi, in February this year.
She completed 1,206 knuckle push-ups in one hour and went on to record an amazing total of 9,241 push-ups in the next 24 hours, obliterating the previous record of 7,000.
Good preparation is also the advice echoed by mountain biker Andy Whitaker, founder of HOTCOG- MTB. “The gravel, rock and sand terrain of Jebel Hafeet is very challenging, requiring good techniques to make sure you avoid any mishaps such as a sinking bike in the sand or torn tyres by sharp rocks,” he said.
Spectators are welcome to attend on all three sections of the event, but with the mountainous course proving an obstacle, fans are best advised to hang out at Wadi Adventure, where the finish line is.