Best Ultra marathons across the Middle East

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Written By Amber Dale

Amber is one of our placement students working here at Ultra X. She is currently studying Business Management specialising in Marketing at Cardiff University.
She loves her sport especially netball but is now switching it up and testing her limits on the trails. 

13 January 2023

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best ultra marathons across the middle east 

The Middle East is full of places that should be on every person’s bucket list whether you are adventure seeking trail runner or not!

We have put together a list of ultramarathons in the Middle East that we hope will prove useful in guiding you on events to explore this magical part of the world.

Ultra X Jordan

Ultra X Jordan is a stunning race which takes place in the Wadi Rum, in the land of Lawrence of Arabia. As you run through the desert you will pass historic sites, amazing wadis and incredible sand dunes.

For us at Ultra X it is our baby. The original and the ultimate. What was called the Wadi Rum Ultra was started by Jamie Sparks and Sam Heward and it was organising this event that made the pair create Ultra X.

High temperatures and heavy sand are the challenges here, but for those that make it they will never forget their week.

Click here for more information!

Where: Wadi Rum
When: 2 – 6th October
Distance: 220km
Elevation Gain: 2,522m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Medium
Entry Price: £1,395

Camel and runners in Jordan

Iranian Silk Road Ultramarathon

The Iranian Silk Road Ultramarathon is located in the stunning provinces of Kerman and Sistan-Baluchistan in Iran. The route is special for its panoramic view during the sunset of Dasht-e Loot and going through the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Participants run 200 km in 5 stages across the desert, camping in a range of locations.

Runners will battle against the heat if they have not acclimatised but this race will definitely be an adventure.

Where: Iran
When: 10-14th October
Distance: 200km
Elevation Gain: 2,000m
Terrain: Trail 
Difficulty Level: Brutal
Entry Price: £2,192

Ultra X Iran

Wadi Bih Run

The Wadi Bih Run is the classic sporting event of the region. 

Located in Waddi Hatta just outside of Dubai this is the ultimate mountain adventure allowing runners to traverse through wild mountain areas. There are a range of categories for individuals or teams to compete in, which leaves runners with plenty of options if they would prefer a longer or shorter distance.

With some serious steep terrain, runners might just find themselves climbing on parts of the course! The perfect getaway to escape the city.

Where: Waddi Hatta, Dubai
When: 29th January
Distance: 70km
Terrain: Mountain
Difficulty Level: Difficult
Entry Price: £69

Ultra X Wadi Bih Run

100km Pharaonic Race

The Pharaonic Race is the most iconic and oldest race in Egypt supposedly dating back to 690-665 B.C.

It is an showcases the wonders of this historic country between Sakkara Pyramid and Faiyum Oasis. Runners will also pass by the Hawara Pyramid at fayoum, Kefren Pyramid, Elleshet Pyramid, Dahshour Pyramid and Memphis.

If runners would like to still compete in this race but not run as far there is a relay option where you can compete against other teams.

Where: Egypt
When: 17th November
Distance: 100km
Terrain: Road
Difficulty Level: Brutal
Entry Price: £144

Ultra X 100km Pharaonic

Dead Sea Ultramarathon

The Dead Sea Ultramarathon is also known as the lowest race on Earth.

If you are travelling to the Dead Sea you will already be trying something new so why not try an ultra-marathon at the same time? The course itself is simple to follow and provides runners with a scenic but flat beach route.

For those who want to run along the dead sea but not as far, there are plenty of shorter distances that will still present a challenge, however for those that wish to race this is a competitive one. This ultramarathon is now an Israel Championship recognised race and attracts some of the best runners in the region.

Where: Israel
When: 3rd February
Distance: 50km
Elevation Gain: 228m
Terrain: Sand
Difficulty Level: Medium
Entry Price: £94

Ultra X Oman

Himam Trail Race

In 2022 this was the biggest trail event in the Middle East. The Himam Trail Run Race is designed to push those to breaking point as trail runners will take on the most challenging terrains of Al Hajar Mountain.

The course itself will start in Al Hamra at the heart of traditional plantations, picturesque canals and villages taking runners on a journey through time. Throughout this route runners will also get to experience the foothills of Jabal Ahdar, before heading to the gates of the old Fort in Birkat Al Mouz, which is a race village for spectators. Ultimately, this route is designed to challenge runners mentally and physically, but participants get to experience aa taste of culture and ancient history.

Absolutely brutal but 100% worth it.

Where: Oxfordshire
When: 8th-9th July 2023
Distance: 100km
Elevation Gain: 1,129km
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Entry Price: £235

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