Oman Desert Marathon 2019 - Day 3
As part of the Sultanate's celebrations of the National Day, a picture with the 49th-people formation was taken and runners started the third stage on an unusually cloudy day. Three big sand dunes were ahead of them but the runners took advantage of the cool weather and moved fast in the first half.
In this stage, we saw more presence of local wildlife. Goats and camels were close to the course area, signs of Bedouin encampments, which made a nice memory for the athletes.
The third stage is crucial because the runners that didn't manage correctly their feeding and hydration would start losing all their energy. On the other hand, those who followed a correct strategy, have now fully adapted to the desert and running on the sand has been familiar. For the majority of the athletes, today was the 'make or break' day of the race. A couple of runners experienced discomfort and expressed their concern on the 10 kilometers. They were having second thoughts about continuing and felt overwhelmed by the effort that this stage required. Runner Salim Al Hasni from Oman was the surprise of the day, as he was in the lead when crossing the tenth kilometer, followed by Rachid Almurabity and Mohammed Almurabity from Marocco.
On women's side, Aziza Raji from Morocco was still leading, followed by Fabiana Pizzali from Switzerland and Emmanuelle Romanzi from France.
The landscape continued to impress the runners as they were awed by the change in the color of the sand, from golden sand to red sand dunes, and the rare presence of green vegetation in between the dunes.
It is said that if you can complete the third stage, you are well within reach of finishing the race. Daytime temperatures will be more forgiving as we approach the Arabian Sea in the days ahead.
The last part to get to the finish line was composed of small dunes with dead vegetation and needed considerable effort from many of the runners. Rachid Almurabity claimed the top spot, with his brother, Mohammed Almurabity second-placed and Evgeni Glyva from Ukraine clinching third. The first woman to arrive was Aziza Raji, followed by Fabiana Pizzali and Emmanuelle Romazi from Italy and France, respectively.