Muscat, The countdown to the 2019 OMAN by UTMB� has begun, with elite runners from around the world to compete against the backdrop of the dramatic Al Hajar mountain region during 28-30 November.

An exceptional world-class field of record breakers and ultra-trail running champions will enjoy an adventure and race to remember when the second edition of OMAN by UTMB� begins on November 28.

Building on the success of the inaugural event in 2018, the 2019 OMAN by UTMB� will be an exciting new chapter for the sport of ultra-trail running. Over three exciting days of competition, almost 2,000 runners from over 60 countries will be immersed in the natural beauty of Oman's dramatic interior, taking them through deep wadis, high ridges, ancient villages, and more than 2,200M of elevation gain onto Al Jabal Al Akdhar, the Green Mountain.

Run by Oman Sail and part of the UTMB� family of international events, OMAN by UTMB� will provide not only competition and challenge, but showcase the beauty of Oman's mountainous landscapes. Among those who will be competing in this unique Arabian environment are: First Arab Women to Summit Everest. Oman's own Nadhirah Al-Harthy, Mona Shahab of Saudi Arabia, and Nelly Altar from Lebanon became the first Arab women to summit Mount Everest this year and will once again reunite to take on the OMAN by UTMB�. Nadhirah will take on the 130KM route, while Mona and Nelly will compete in the newly introduced 50KM distance.

Headlining the contingent for the women's 50KM race is Brazil's Fernanda Maciel. The Environmental Lawyer will certainly be a contender; she has made the podium in four previous UTMB� events and holds the world record as the fastest woman to run up and down Mount Kilimanjaro. Holly Page, who represented Great Britain in the 2018 Trail Running World Championships, will also be among the elite field, as will young Nepalese duo Sunmaya Budha and Mira Rai, with their head-to-head battle to add extra excitement to the competition.

America's Meredith Edwards will return to Oman after finishing third overall in the 137KM event in 2018. However, Edwards will face tough competition in Francesca Canepa, the 2018 Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc winner.

The men's 130KM field will be one to watch with many strong competitors entered, including Sebastian Chaigneau, who is preparing by racing 150-200KM every week, and fellow Frenchman Julien Chorier; Masashi Shirotake of Japan, and Mike Foote, who has caused interest since breaking into the ultra-running scene in 2011, when he finished the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc as the first American and placed third the following year. Foote also set the world record for most vertical skied (61,200 ft) in 24 hours in 2018.

The sold-out 170KM will be a first for OMAN by UTMB�, with the athletes taking on this challenge to follow the 130KM route up Jebel Al Akhdar, before carrying on along the top of the plateau and climbing to an altitude of almost 3,000M around Jebel Shams.

Adding to the excitement surrounding this thrilling new event, Co-Founder of UTMB�, Michel Poletti, has announced he will be taking on the challenge. Poletti, who contributed to designing the OMAN by UTMB� course, said: In Oman, trail runners will discover incredible landscapes unlike anywhere else in the world. It truly is a unique experience in an unforgettable landscape.

The event in 2018 established OMAN by UTMB� as a valued member of the international UTMB family. The team from Oman Sail did an unbelievable job in creating the trails for last year's event and this year will be no different. I look forward to testing them out personally!

Like all ITRA sanctioned trail running events, taking part in OMAN by UTMB� earns qualifying points towards entry for UTMB� Mont Blanc. Runners who complete the 130KM run will earn five ITRA points, runners completing the 170KM will earn six ITRA points and runners who finish the 50KM run will earn three ITRA points.

A new qualifying system announced by UTMB� means that runners who complete either the 130KM or 170KM events are instantly guaranteed entry to race in Chamonix in 2020.

OMAN by UTMB� is the first opportunity runners will have to benefit from the new qualifying regulations for UTMB� Mont Blanc.

As well as the elite fields, OMAN by UTMB� has introduced 10KM, 5KM, and 2KM races to give youth runners and adults the chance to embark on a fun introduction to trail running in Oman's magnificent Al Hajar mountain region.

Source: Oman News Agency