Some of the world’s leading long distance runners will descend on Doha later this year to compete in the prestigious IAU (International Association of Ultrarunners) 50 Kilometres World Trophy Final, which will be hosted by Aspire Logistics. The announcement came ahead of Qatar’s first official ultramarathon, the International 6:50 Race, due to take place tonight at Aspire Zone.
The IAU 50km World Trophy comprises a series of races held around the world, culminating in a grand finale. Current series event host nations include Ireland, Germany, Norway, Australia, Spain and the United States.
Announcing the event at a press conference in Doha today, Nadeem Khan, IAU’s Director of Communications, said, “Ultramarathon running is a sport that is rapidly growing in popularity. It is an absolute privilege and honor to be bringing the first IAU event to the Middle East, and to Aspire Zone. Tonight’s 50km long-distance run will serve as a test event for the World Trophy in 2014, and will only be a small example of what you will see later on this year.”
Philip Templar, Director of Venues & Events at Aspire Logistics, said, “We are expecting over 20 elite athletes to take part in the race in October. This event is a fantastic opportunity for Doha, as it puts Qatar on the map for ultramarathon and long-distance running. It also demonstrates the diverse range of sporting activities that Aspire Zone can offer the local community.”
The last 50km World Trophy Final was held in Vallecrosia-Bordighera in 2012 and saw runners from around the world travel to Italy to compete. Held once every two years, the 50km World Trophy alternates with the IAU World Trail Championships.
Paul Astley, who will be participating in tonight’s race, described the preparations he has taken ahead of the grueling contest.
“The International 6:50 Race is my first official ultramarathon run,” he said.
“I have, however, trained for similar events, and I regularly run 40kms plus. I am apprehensive about the race because after a certain distance I know it’ll become a mental, rather than a physical, challenge. My plan is to start slow and steady, and keep my energy levels high. I really want to enjoy the experience.”
Abdullah Al Khater, Head of Sports and Events at Aspire Logistics, said, “The aim of the ultramarathon is to promote healthy lifestyles among Qatari residents. Over 150 people are taking part in tonight’s event. This is the first time an ultramarathon is being held in Qatar, so this is a very encouraging figure.”
Aspire Logistics is constantly seeking new and innovative ways to shape a healthy, sports-loving society, and the International 6:50 Race is its latest offering. Participants in tonight’s event will attempt to complete 10 laps of a 5km circuit.