Come November 10 and Hatta will come alive with the cries of more than 5,000 Spartans as they take to the rugged hills, testing their resilience in the XDubai Spartan Race.
Organised by Spartan Arabia and Dubai Sports Council (DSC), and sponsored by XDubai and Dubai Holdings, this will be the first Spartan Middle East Championship with more than Dh 183,000 prize money on offer in the regional championship.
Hatta has been chosen as the venue not just for its challenging and diverse terrain, but also to promote the region as per the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, who announced a Dh1.3 billion comprehensive development plan for Hatta in November to enhance the social and economic capabilities of the region, and to boost its attractiveness as a sporting and tourist destination.
“As per the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, we at the Dubai Sports Council are working to develop the sporting infrastructure in Hatta and looking to organise many local and international sport events there, taking advantage of the geographical diversity of the region and turning it into a premier sporting destination, not just inside the country but in the region,” said His Excellency SaeedHareb, the general secretary of DSC, at a press conference to announce the details of the XDubai Spartan Race at the DSC headquarters on Tuesday.
“In that context, this XDubai Spartan Race is one of the most important events being organised and supported by the DSC and we would like to thank the Executive Office of His Highness for backing this pivotal event.”
HE Abdullah Mohammad Saeed Bin Touq, Director-General of The Executive Office of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was also present at the press conference along with HE Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), Abdulla Binhabtoor, General Manager of XDubai, Bader Khalaf, Regional Operations Manager of Spartan Arabia, and the Emirati duo of FahimaFalaknaz and Abdulla Al Balooshi, who have represented the country at international Spartan Races.
“I would like to thank our brothers and sisters in the Dubai Sports Council for organising this event,” said Bin Touq. “I remember on May 25, 2016, His Highness sat down with us and he told us that we would like to work on this project and collaborate with other governmental agencies to present a different image of Dubai, one that is not just about the high-rises and the skylines, but the pastoral, arcadian side of Dubai, the natural beauty of our countryside.
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“On November 7, 2016, His Highness visited Hatta and launched the Hatta strategic development plan, which has three primary focus and sports is one of them.
“The unique thing about Hatta is that it is not part of the city. It is pollution free and that is why are trying to project Hatta as a beacon of sports and tourism activities. This is the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid.”
Al Karam, who will be taking part in the Spartan Race along with more than 70 employees of KHDA, added: “We have always been active on the fitness circuit and the Spartan Arabia race events are an opportunity for us to come together as a team. KHDA has participated in these races since the first edition in 2015 and more than a third of our organisation participates in different categories of the Spartan run. This reflects our commitment to create a shared culture of fitness that believes in encouraging schools, universities and the wider community to look at adopting fitness as a way of life.”
“We have enjoyed a long and solid relationship with Spartan Arabia, dating back to 2015 with the very first Spartan Race in the region, which took place here in Dubai at the Jebel Ali Race Course,” said Binhabtoor. “Since that time, working closely together we have built a strong proposition through the X-Dubai Spartan Race, widely recognised amongst athletes of all abilities, all across the region.
“Now, thanks to the support of Dubai Holding, we are looking forward to elevating the Spartan Race even further this November with the first Middle Eastern Championship, and the first race of its kind to be held in Hatta.
“As a race of firsts, it will also fittingly take place during the very first Dubai Fitness Challenge, allowing both elite and amateur athletes alike to challenge themselves to achieve their very best during this very important Emirate-wide initiative.”
There will be six races on the day, with the Championship Beast male and Championship Beast female races kicking-off the proceedings at 7.30am. The Spartan Beast involves negotiating a challenging 23km terrain with about 35 obstacles along the way. Obstacles typically include climbing seven-foot walls and rope ladders, crawling under barbed wire, running with weights and jumping across fire pits.
The Championship Beast races are only open to Spartans who have finished in the Top 20 of an Elite Race in the past and there is a prize purse of Dh 183,000 on offer in this category, with the winners of the male and female races taking home Dh 18,000 each.
While there will be no cash prizes on offer in the Elite and Open categories of the Spartan Sprint races, there will be plenty of goodies, like Finisher Medal and Finisher T-Shirt on offer, and, of course, bragging rights will be at stake as well.
The Spartan Sprint is open to racers of any fitness levels, shape and sizes. Newbies can opt for the open races, while the more advanced Spartans can try the Elite race, which is a 5km to 7km race with around 23 obstacles on the course.
There will be a Spartan Junior race as well – a 1.5km run in the mud for 4-14 years old, with around 14 obstacles on the course.
“Spartan Arabia has, to date, enjoyed three thrilling seasons in Dubai and the Middle East with the ongoing support of our regional title sponsor XDubai, as well as Reebok – the Global Outfitter of Spartans,” said Bader Khalaf the Regional Operations Manager of Spartan Arabia. “And for the Hatta race, special thanks to Dubai Holding for sponsoring this event.
“We also have to send our regards to all the governmental agencies, especially Dubai Sports Council as they have always shown their support for all the sports activities in the community.
“We are now getting ready for the first-ever Middle East Championship and this Championship will indeed be an epic race as Hatta offers outstanding scenery and different terrains, which give this race its unique character and makes it challenging, and yet equally rewarding for our participants, who will be travelling from near and far to visit Hatta on November 10.”
To sign up for the challenge, visit the www.spartanarabia.com website. On the day of the race, participants need to arrive at least an hour in advance to complete the pre-race formalities and carry their Emirates ID with them as it will be required for the Liability Certificate that needs to be submitted by every participant before the start of the race.