At what is likely to be the head of the field, last year’s Muscat Marathon winner Moses Too knows he will have to overcome determined opposition to retain his title.
Five of the seven in the men’s elite group have better personal best times than the Kenyan athlete, notably his compatriot Ronald Korir, Ethiopia’s Belay Asefa, and Uganda’s Jackson Kiprop, all of whom will be out to finish inside Too’s 2018 winning time of 2:19:30. The women’s elite entry list also boasts some stars, with winner of the Milan, Nanjing and Wuhan marathons Asnakech Mengistu from Ethiopia, Kenya’s Gada Bontu and Czech champion Petra Pastorova.
Meanwhile the 1,500 runners taking part in the 10km race will be joined by women’s world marathon record holder Briton Paula Radcliffe.
The across-the-board increase in participation is expected to provide immediate benefits to the sultanate in terms of its economic impact, as well as further develop the long-term objective of establishing Oman as one of the world’s leading sports tourism destinations and the Muscat Marathon as the first of its kind event in the region.
“We are delighted to welcome the many elite and amateur athletes who have travelled to Oman from all over the world,” said Salma al Hashmi, chief marketing officer of event organiser Oman Sail.
The full 42km marathon is the centrepiece of the festival which will also see a half-marathon, marathon relay and the 10km race on Friday. The 5km Charity Fun Run – which has attracted over 2,000 participants – and the Kids’ Run will be held on Saturday.
The marathon, marathon relay and half-marathon events start at 6.30am on Friday, with the 10km race setting off at 8.30am. Saturday’s 5km Charity Fun Run – which will benefit six charities in Oman – starts at 7am, with the first Kids’ Run starting at 8.20am.