Are you looking for a new and exciting marathon to participate in? If so, Saudi Arabia may be the place for you! The country is home to a few unique marathons that are sure to provide an unforgettable experience.
Historically, there have been no officially managed marathons in Saudi Arabia, until this year. The first-ever international marathon in Saudi Arabia was launched on 6 March 2022. This is the start of many more to follow, hopefully.
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Marathons In Saudi Arabia
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If you are looking for a marathon to run in Saudi Arabia, you have missed the first Riyadh Marathon. Despite the COVID situation, The Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA), organized a successful marathon for the first time in history. The event hosted over 10000 participants from several countries in the Middle East and across the globe.
The first Riyadh Marathon, 2022, was regarded as a historic event. One that will only get bigger and better next year. It is also the best way to promote Riyadh as a tourist destination because, let’s face it, every major world-class city needs its own marathon.
Riyadh Marathon is also a great way to promote the sport in Saudi Arabia. Over half of all participants were locals, which is a very encouraging sign that people are keen to start running.
Race date: March 2023
>> Check where to stay in Riyadh
The less hyped Jeddah Marathon has been organized by the Hijaz Ultra Club for the past few years. It is more of a local run that is kept alive by a group of runners who are eager to promote the sport. However, I’m certain that it will be upgraded in the new year as part of Saudi Arabia’s new tourism drive to attract visitors.
Race date: January 2023
>> Check where to stay in Jeddah
Al Ula Ecotrail Ultra Marathon
This year also marked the introduction of the first-ever Ultra Marathon in Saudi Arabia, the Al Ula Ecotrail. This new race consists of 25, 50, and 80km.
The race took runners through the UNESCO sites and historical landmarks of the beautiful and majestic Al Ula. Around 800 runners tackled the rough off-road terrain, passing by the iconic Maraya, Elephant Rock, and Hegra. It’s another great race in a great location.
However, in a country where proper marathons are few and far between, it would have been a better idea to schedule Al Ula Ecotrail for another month of the year, since Riyadh Marathon is also in March.
Race date: March 2023
>> Check where to stay in Al Ula
Al Khobar Marathon
This is more of a fun run to encourage the youth but it does include a 21km race, for those who what to get some mileage on their legs. Last year the race attracted almost 2000 participants.
Race Date: December 2022
>> Check where to stay in Al Khobar
Saudi Arabia has been absent from the international running scene since its inception. It’s clear that the Saudis have a lot of catching up to do and are not wasting any more time. You can expect more big races that offer huge prices in order to attract top runners and encourage more people to visit Saudi Arabia for sport and leisure.