Middle East

World’s biggest endurance race to host Middle East and Africa Championship at Mleiha

Spartan Middle East and Africa Championship, the regional version of the US originated series of obstacle races, has announced that it will return to Mleiha, Sharjah, next month with newly introduced Age Group categories and a competitive Kids heat. The Championship to be held on Friday, 15 February 2019, will see more than 4,500 attendees with an estimated 2,500 racers from the region who will compete in three race types and six race categories, in the historic tourism destination of Sharjah.

Organized in partnership with the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), and the Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism project, the new edition will open gates to multinational athletes at the venue in Mleiha Archaeological Centre.

With the return of the Championship Elite, Sharjah becomes the first city to also be chosen by the Spartan brand to debut their long-awaited ‘Championship Age Group’ race category. The two categories will fall under the ‘Beast’ race type, which was launched across the Middle East and Africa during the Spartan race in Mleiha in 2016.

Qualifiers for the Championship Elite Beast and Championship Age Group Beast will be the racers who have completed the qualifying races including the Spartan Kuwait race (January 2018); the Spartan Bahrain race (February 2018); the Spartan Women’s race (October 2018), the Spartan Hatta race (November 2018), the Spartan Oman Trifecta Weekend race (December 2018) and the Spartan Stadion race which will be taking place in Bahrain this Friday, 18 January, 2019.

Also debuting this year, will be ten age categories instead of six last year, raising the volume of athletes and elevating the chances for participants to make the cut to the top 3 finalists across all race types and categories. The age groups for this year include 14-17, 18-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, and 60 years and above.

“It pleases us to have Mleiha as the Spartan brand’s top choice for debuting the Middle East and Africa Championship race. Our first experience partnering together in 2016, which saw the launch of the brand’s first-ever new race type – the “Beast”, has successfully communicated one of our most important messages about Mleiha and about Sharjah, that fitness, wellness and healthcare are an important part of the rich culture and heritage of the Emirate which it prides itself for,” said Mahmoud Rashid Deemas, General Manager of Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism project.

“There couldn’t have been a better choice than Mleiha for such a championship, as the land shares a history of more than 130,000 years of struggle, evolution and overcoming the harsh climatic conditions across a number of periodic ages. Its natural scenes, mountains and dunes serve as a perfect opportunity for athletic warriors to genuinely experience the rush of one of the most difficult endurance sports events in the world,” he said.

“We’re excited to kick off the New Year with a number of new value-added events and make it a good experience for fans and participants both locally and globally. Our last experience in Mleiha in 2016 has left a very strong and impactful memory at how we, the organisers, and the participants have truly felt the competitive energy during the races. It therefore made perfect sense to return to Mleiha for our upcoming edition, with the debut of the new Age Group Championship category as well as the competitive kids heat,” said Rayyan Yacob Agha, Managing Director at Spartan Arabia.

“We are expecting a much larger number of participants this year, and more diversified participations both geographically and age-wise, especially with the two championship titles in this edition functioning as key incentives and motivation for the participating Spartans. This year, we have four out of six race categories open for registration for athletes in the UAE and the region, for females, males and children from the age of 4 and above. Only the two championship categories will be open to qualifying racers. Our goal is to promote diversity, healthy lifestyle and wellness within the Spartan brand, as well as support the hardworking women and men who maintain and develop their physical endurance, stamina and strength, and spread a positive message about healthy competitiveness by pushing themselves to new limits,” he said.

The Spartan Beast, which features three race categories: Championship Elite, Championship Age Group, and Open Heat; is considered the Championship’s most difficult race type, encompassing a 20 kms track and more than 30 signature Spartan obstacles.

The Spartan Sprint features a track of approximately 5 kms and more than 20 obstacles, while the Spartan Kids, which features two race categories: Competitive Heat for kids between the ages of 10 to 13 years old and Spartan Kids, which is broken down into three age brackets of 4 to 6 years racing 800 m, 7 to 9 years taking on 1.6 kms and 10 to 14 year olds conquering 3.2 kms of obstacles safely and carefully designed to allow young participants the entertainment and joy of being active and put their own little strengths to test.

Also with the association and support of Shurooq, the Spartan Middle East and Africa Championship will be organising a number of workout sessions that are free-to-enter for the public, and will take place every Friday at the Flag Island from 8:00 am until 11:00 am.

Online bookings for the Spartan Race are now open up and can be made through the event’s official website: www.spartanarabia.com.