The Al Adaid Desert Challenge is a big highlight and one of the most challenging cycling and running events on Qatar’s off road cycling and running calendar.
The race is also part of the International Cycling Union calendar. Marked as UCI C2 Cross Country Marathon.
The race covers 40 km of astonishing desert track for regular MTB, 60 km for UCI XCM and 28 km for running event, from Sealine to one of Qatar’s most impressive natural wonders, the ‘Inland Sea’ or Khor Al Adaid.
A UNESCO recognized natural reserve with its own ecosystem, this is one of the few places in the world where the sea encroaches deep into the heart of the desert. Inaccessible by road, this tranquil expanse of water can only be reached by crossing the rolling dunes.
Rider and runners will have to cross over eight and five of them to reach the finish line. Besides the grueling sand dunes, there are several sandy patches on the flat parts which makes the race even more challenging.
Don’t be fooled by the length of the race, every sand dune, each patch of sand takes out something from you. To be competitive, you have to be extremely fit, have a good bike with optimum setup, choose the best path and sometimes also be lucky. As for runners, 30 km is already a challenge by itself, add on the dunes, and you have a real adventure.