Lonely Planet Writer

Dubai challenges contestants to Sandstorm - a hardcore desert adventure race

Dubai is to host Sandstorm, the UAE’s hardcore adventure race, next month.

Arabian Oryx run at the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Umm Al-Zamool, some 290 kilometres south of Abu Dhabi near the Saudi Arabia-UAE border.
Arabian Oryx run at the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Umm Al-Zamool, some 290 kilometres south of Abu Dhabi near the Saudi Arabia-UAE border. Image by KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images

The desert-based obstacle course will challenge contestants in four separate terrains – rocky, wet, muddy, and of course, sandy, over 5 km and 10 km distances. The course will be based at the Al Qudra Lakes, within Al Marmoum Conservation Reserve Dubai and involve about 40 obstacles. Competitors will have to crawl through mud, wade through water, run across sand, and navigate various challenges along the way, according to the race’s website. Local wildlife such as the Arabian Oryx and the Sand Gazelle will be visible on the course.

Ahmad bin Byat, vice chairman and managing director of Dubai Holding, said “Sandstorm is an exciting obstacle challenge that takes advantage of Dubai’s unique energy and landscapes,” reports the National. “The race also underscores our organisation-wide commitment to supporting initiatives that encourage health and well-being in a variety of forms, from simple healthy eating campaigns to organising and participating in national competitive events,” he also told Gulf News. “We are very encouraged to see growing interest and enthusiasm for Sandstorm, and we look forward to welcoming participants from across the UAE and beyond to participate.”

There will be four race categories – women, men, corporate teams and Emiratis, and prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers in each group. Initially the race was to be held 27 January, but the date has been pushed back to 10 February due to high interest. Challenge races have already proved popular across the UAE, with the Spartan Race introduced in Dubai in 2015, and an annual Desert Warrior Challenge in Abu Dhabi. Sandstorm will also host an onsite Race Village, which will offer activities and entertainment for participants and their supporters.

Registration is open at www.sandstormdxb.ae and fees start from Dh350 (£77).