The event was initially started by the Qatar Chain Reaction (QCR) cycling group in 2010. The event was called the ‘Inland Sea Traverse’ and the number of participants varied between 50 – 60 riders per year. The event was run on a minimal budget and dependent on the support of the participants’ friends and families.
In 2015 the Qatar Cyclists Centre participated in the event for the first time and also provided some logistic support to the QCR group. They realised that this event is truly unique in Qatar as well as in the GCC region. The Qatar Cyclists then offered to undertake the event concept and management. They then rebranded and renamed the event in 2016 and elevated the status to become one of the top off road cycling events in the region.
In 2016 the inaugural Al Adaid Desert Challenge took place with 130 riders successfully completing the race and paying out a total of $20,000 in gifts and prize money.
The second edition of the Desert Challenge saw a growth of almost 100% in riders participation and also more then doubling the prize money which was 50.000 $ in total.
In 2017, the number of registered participants rose to 239, with 40 different nationalities on the start line and 43 Qatari nationals. The event was also part of the International Cycling Union (UCI) calendar as C3 event.
2018 saw even more participants with added running event. In total there were 359 athletes. Qatari nationals participation rose to 80.
Off road duathlon was added in 2020, totalling 636 participants along with MTB and run contest finishers.
Future year plans
Our yearly targets were met every year. We are looking at around 750 participants in the future, focusing on event quality rather quantity and focusing on bigger international participation.