Lonely Planet Writer

Athletes are attempting to run 650 km through Jordan in a 15 day challenge

The inaugural Jordan Trail run is currently underway, and it will see athletes making the first ever attempt to run the 650-kilometre-long trail, while passing through 52 villages in 15 days.

Athletes have embarked on the first ever Jordan Trail run. Image by The Jordan Trail

The Jordan Trail runs from north to south Jordan and is a lesson in the astonishing diversity of the country’s landscape. It begins at Umm Qais, a regional nexus point, winding past forests, mountains, deserts and canyons to end at the Red Sea in Aqaba. Not everyone has the time or stamina to walk the length of an entire country and fewer than 20 people have hiked the full length of the trail in one go. For this reason, it is built of eight distinct legs, each around 80km in length and taking about four to five days to hike.

The 15-day run was inaugurated by the country’s tourism minister, Lina Annab, who expressed her wish for the runners’ journey “to show people how much our beautiful country has to offer.” Athletes currently embarking on the run include Mohammad Al Sweity, one of Jordan’s renowned trail runners who has completed several long-distance runs across the globe, including the American Badwater Marathon (217km) and the Marathon des Sables in Morocco (251km).

The Jordan Trail is an epic 650km path that spans the full length of the country from Umm Qais to the Red Sea at Aqaba. Image: Ali Barqawi Studios

At the launch of the run, Sweity said that Jordan has some of the finest trails for running in the world, and he hoped it would encourage more people to experience the wonders of its mountains and deserts. British runner Alfie Pearce-Higgins is also running the trail, and he has run across the Gobi Desert, cycled across Sierra Leone, and canoed in Ghana. He said that the Jordan Trail is the one he was most excited about, because of the country’s culture, history, terrain and scenery.

Athletes have embarked on the first ever Jordan Trail run. Image by The Jordan Trail

This inaugural run is set to become a regular event and is being organised as an annual fundraiser to support the development and maintenance of the trail. For further information on the trail, see here.