Wadi Rum Full Moon Desert Marathon

The 13th edition of the Wadi Rum Full Moon Desert Marathon took place in Wadi Rum on 13rd of May with the participation of 285 runners from all over the world, according to organisers.

The marathon, which was postponed for the past two years due to the pandemic (COVID 19), this year witnessed increased participation from Jordanians, according to Treks, an outdoor adventure company that organised the event.

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“We are very happy to return to this event. We have much higher participants this year than previous years. This is the first year we have Jordanians being the highest number of registered runners,” Treks co-founder Fouad Kalbouneh told The Jordan Times during an interview at the marathon.

According to Kalbouneh, the 2019 Full Moon Desert marathon included about 40 Jordanian runners as their numbers doubled this year than previous years.

The marathon included 42km, 21km and 10km runs, in addition to a 5km guided fun walk, which included lots of families and children as they run through the Wadi Rum desert under the full moon, following a trail of glow sticks set in the desert, and an end to the run with a bonfire celebration, Kalbouneh said.

Kalbouneh highlighted the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB)’s role in supporting the marathon and adventure tourism.

The marathon included over 40 volunteers, making sure everyone was safe, including multiple medics and vehicles following the runners.

“Next year we are planning to make the marathon on a bigger scale,” Kalbouneh continued.

The marathon winners were announced during an award ceremony on Saturday at Wadi Rum.

The first place female winner in the 42km race, Marie Brenkova, 45, from the Czech Republic, who lives and works in Amman with her family, described the race as “amazing and remarkable”.

“I am a running athlete and a track runner, I am used to running marathons but this was unique and one of the most difficult races I have done. Running on the sand was not easy, but it was still a great experience,” Brenkova told The Jordan Times.

Brenkova’s husband came in third in the 42km race.

“I came with my family and it is not our first time in Wadi Rum, which I find fascinating and huge, but the race allowed us to experience the magic of Wadi Rum like we have never seen it before,” she added.

The first place male winner in the 21km race, Ahmad Al Naimi, 31, from Qatar said, “I found out about the marathon from social media and decided to come with my friends.”

“It was extremely challenging but I persevered. Running in Wadi Rum under a full moon is a remarkable experience,” he told The Jordan Times.

Spanish runner Guillem Sabi, from Barcelona, came first in the 10km race for men.

“I love running and I love practising sports. The marathon was tough and it was dark but I kept following the glow sticks and made it. I have done many races before but all were during the day and in cities, so this was very different and unique and I would love to do it again,” Sabi told The Jordan Times.

Ibrahim Abu Asbeh, a 52-year-old Jordanian runner who ran the 10km race, finishing in an hour and five minutes, said that age should not be an obstacle to people’s lifestyles.

He was among one of the top 10 finishers of the 10km race.

“Unfortunately in Jordan, most old people are not active, which should not be the case, it is good to move and be active at all times, even if minimally, which is why I encourage everyone to adopt any sport regardless of the age, I personally practise running regularly,” Abu Asbeh told The Jordan Times.

He expressed his pride in finishing the race as it was “significantly tough”, noting that it was his 5th time running the desert marathon. “We had fun, the spirit and the support of the volunteers as well as the other runners motivated me even more,” he said.

Source: www.jordantimes.com