World|sport|January 11, 2019 / 11:22 AM
World's longest desert ultramarathon kicks off in Dubai

AKIPRESS.COM - The Marathon des Sables in the Moroccan Sahara has long been considered the blue ribband desert ultra, and one of the longest at approximately 250 kilometers (155 miles). But last month an even longer race was born in the Dubai desert, CNN reports.

Set in a rugged national conservation area, the Al Marmoom Ultramarathon claims to be the longest desert ultra in the world. The 270km (168 mile) route was run over five days in December in temperatures as high as 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit).

In its inaugural year, 19 runners (15 men and four women) completed the race, with 36-year-old Moroccan Rachid El Morabity - a six-time Marathon des Sables winner - crossing the finish line first in 31 hours and 17 minutes. Eleven runners didn't make it, as well as many others in the shorter 100 km and 50 km versions of the race.

The Al Marmoom Ultramarathon will join 400-plus local sporting events ranked by the Dubai Sports Council. Acting director of events Ghazi Al Madani says planning for 2019's race is already underway.

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