Unique chance to explore Qatar's natural beauty

The fourth edition of Al Adaid Desert Challenge, set to take place on Friday, 1 March 2019, is expected to be the biggest ever in the history of the one-day outdoor annual event.

The first few weeks of registration saw more than 250 adventurous cyclists and runners from Qatar and all over the world signing up for the challenge which will take them through one of the few places in the world where the sea encroaches deep into the heart of the desert.

Taking place in Khor Al Adaid, a UNESCO recognized nature reserve in the south-east of Qatar, the race will kick off from the area next to Mawater Sand Dune, opposite to Sealine beach resort. Participants will then head towards the Inland Sea, a tranquil expanse of water that can only be reached by crossing the rolling sand dunes. Cyclists will have to overcome seven of these dunes as they cover a distance of 38.5 kms to reach the finish line, while runners will follow a 26.7 km route that includes four dunes.

The UCI MTB Class-3 event is organized by Qatar Cyclists in association with Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) and is supported by Qatar Cycling Federation.

A finish line camp will provide an area for the participants to relax and celebrate after the race, while a non-competitive kids’ race at the camp will offer a chance for all members of the family to enjoy the event.

Rashed Al Qurese from QNTC, commented, “The Al Adaid Desert Challenge attracts visitors and residents to one of Qatar’s most impressive natural wonders by offering a unique challenge, exciting sports and fun activities for families. We are proud to continue supporting this annual event which has steadily grown over the years, and promises to contribute to the country’s efforts to develop the sports tourism sub-sector in Qatar.”

Dr. Jamal Rashid Al Khanji, Managing Director of Al Adaid Desert said: “We are glad to collaborate once again with QNTC for organizing this remarkable event which reinforces Qatar’s reputation as a destination for adventure sports enthusiasts. It offers the participants a unique chance to explore the beauty of Qatar’s nature. Thanks to the continuous support of our sponsors, the previous editions achieved huge success, especially last year when a running competition was introduced, and we will do our best to guarantee that the 2019 Al Adaid Desert Challenge will be the most successful ever.”

The Al Adaid Challenge has earned a reputation of being the toughest off-road mountain bike race in the region, attracting cycling enthusiasts and adventure seekers from all over the world, and with the introduction of a running race last year, the number of participants has significantly increased, reaching 359 cyclists and runners from 48 different countries.

Last year, Dutch legend and former Olympic medalist Erik Dekker defended his title in the men’s UCI elite category as Finland’s Pia Sundstedt won her third straight title in the women’s competition. Meanwhile, more than 60 Qataris took part in the cycling event, and Fawaz Al Hichan came on top to clinch the National MTB Cross Country Championship title.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al Kuwari, President of Qatar Cyclists, won second place in the same category. He said: “Cycling is more popular than ever in Qatar, we can clearly see that through the rapid growth of the number of participants, not only in community events organized by Qatar Cyclists, but also in official competitions organized by Qatar Cycling Federation. Al Adaid Desert Challenge is among our top annual events, it offers a mix of endurance and adventure sports, and once again a thrilling finale is expected as Qatari cyclists will be competing for the national title.”

Registration for the event is still open via the official website www.aladaid.qa and will run until 26 February 2019.

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