10 Nov 4th Oman Desert Marathon – The Night Marathon Stage
The night Marathon stage is the climax of all the Oman Desert Marathon: 42 kilometers to approach the Arabian sea. This stage has two separate starts: one at 14.30 and one at 16.30. Only the 20 fastest runners are allowed to start at 16.20, while the rest of the group starts at 16.20. For most of the runners the first hours of race are exhausting: the heat it is at its maximum level and the temperature starts to decrease only at about 17.00. A great exploit for Adnan Al Hatali from Oman, that left with the group of 14.30 and was able to finish before the first top runners completed the stage, in about five hours. Winner again Rachid Elmorabity, with an excellent time of only 3 hours and 42 minutes, followed by Evgenii Glyva only a minute later. Salameh Alaqra and Sami Alsaidi arrived later, as they lost time for a mistake in navigating the desert. All course was perfectly marked by led lights, small every 50 meters, and tall at intervals of 500 meters. The competitors can’t get lost as the visibility of the route is very good, however the might decide to point directly to a light, ignoring the closest one: this kind of choice might take them to a shorter course but may also give a more challenging ground. During the day is easier to navigate the desert: with daylight the dunes and the flags are visible, and this kind of choice can be done better evaluating the shape of the dunes and the type of sand. During the night, of course, this is more difficult, Alaqra and Alsaidi paid the price of their decision.
Unfortunately, the Italian Mauro Nadalutti drop the race, a decision derived from the high mental stress of this stage: his mind decided he could not continue. The medical team tried to convince him not to drop but his decision was irreversible. Also Imad Barakat, a veteran of the Oman Desert Marathon had to abandon the race, but in this case for a physical problem. Two runners were assisted by our medical team: the Omani Khamis Alrawahi, that was fallen down at km 28 and was and the Egyptian Salah Elsayed, in the top 20, that was taken to the ambulance and had to stop for a while. He was dehydrated and exhausted.
For most runners this stage was long but easier than the previous ones: compact ground and smooth descent towards the Ocean and also lower temperatures are the factors that created this positive condition for the runners. The next and last stage will start at 7.30 Am, only 5 hours after the last runner arrived. The last effort before crossing the finish line!