Dakhiliyah com­mu­nity — a race win­ner

Oman Daily Observer - - OMAN/WORLD -

The in­au­gu­ral edi­tion of a fiveyear fran­chise, the Oman leg of the UTMB race se­ries took place in the Dakhiliyah Gov­er­norate on Novem­ber 29, 2018. Race Direc­tor Glynn Broomberg, and the Head of the Or­gan­is­ing Team, Event Direc­tor Andy Mccann were adamant later that it could not have hap­pened with­out the un­prece­dented level of com­mu­nity in­volve­ment they have been for­tu­nate to en­gage with from the start line at Birkat Al Mouz, to the fin­ish line at Al Hamra.

“From the time the course was be­ing mapped out, to mak­ing new, safer tracks in ‘risky’ en­vi­ron­ments, to tak­ing ad­vice on sup­port points and over­all health and safety con­cerns, lo­cal iden­ti­ties were al­ways part of the con­sul­ta­tion process,” said Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor As­sim al Saqri.

With the race be­gin­ning on Novem­ber 29, at the bot­tom of the mighty Ja­bal Akhd­har, in the quiet vil­lage of Birkat Al Mouz, 455 ath­letes tra­versed the heights of Ja­bal Akhd­har, through the Alila Re­sort Com­plex, across the green moun­tains to Jebel Shams and Mis­fat Al Abriy­een, con­clud­ing at Al Hamra.

“We were al­ready win­ners,” said Mccann, “be­cause one of our most sig­nif­i­cant ob­jec­tives was to im­print the event with a ‘com­mu­nity dna,’ and the suc­cess of the event from that per­spec­tive was al­ready en­sured by the lo­cal com­mu­nity.”

Point­ing to the more than 100 lo­cal vol­un­teers, the part­ner­ships es­tab­lished with lo­cal busi­nesses, civic au­thor­i­ties and house­hold­ers, the or­gan­is­ers were em­phatic they could not have asked for more.

Broomberg, a pre­vi­ous or­gan­iser of the mas­sively suc­cess­ful ‘Cape Epic’ event in South Africa, agreed that the scale of en­thu­si­asm and as­sis­tance they had en­coun­tered was “phe­nom­e­nal. We have for ex­am­ple the Al Hamra Foot­ball Club, who just ‘gave us’ their club rooms for a week, their lo­cal com­mu­nity or­gan­ised a foot­ball tour­na­ment to run in con­junc­tion with our race, and an­other group had a ‘fun run.’ It’s just amaz­ing.”

Com­mu­nity it seems, takes on a whole new mean­ing away from the bright lights of the city, and it’s not all one-way traf­fic ei­ther, as San­deep Jaitly, Gen­eral Man­ager and CEO of the Golden Tulip Ho­tel Nizwa, the race or­gan­i­sa­tion base, and stag­ing point for much of the event, ex­plained that an open in­vi­ta­tion had been ex­tended to the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion to enjoy his es­tab­lish­ments hos­pi­tal­ity, by way of a thank you from the or­gan­iser’s and around 500 lo­cals availed them­selves of the free food on of­fer at each of the start and fin­ish points of the event.

“This is the big­gest thing to come to the re­gion in a long time,” he said, “and the or­gan­iser’s ded­i­ca­tion to uti­liz­ing lo­cal trades­men, ser­vices, and busi­nesses, is a wel­come boost, not only eco­nom­i­cally, but in terms of demon­strat­ing our ca­pa­bil­ity to re­spond to the myr­iad of chal­lenges that come with host­ing such events, in the re­gional ar­eas. It’s fan­tas­tic that the event or­gan­is­ers, Oman Sail, haven’t just talked about it, but have con­sciously and ac­tively pro­moted the re­gion, through its peo­ple.”

Elite ath­letes to week­end war­riors, housewives, soldiers, stu­dents and shop­keep­ers, came from all over the world to line up on the start line for this unique event, which will be­come a ‘must do,’ for ex­treme sports en­thu­si­asts around the world.

A suc­cess be­fore it be­gan, off the tracks and trails of the moun­tains, the event has drawn so much praise from par­tic­i­pants, in­clud­ing the joint win­ners, Ja­son Sch­larb and Diego Pa­zos, that the event they have dubbed, ‘The Beast,’ can only get big­ger, brighter and bet­ter. In what is clearly a sig­nif­i­cant val­i­da­tion of Oman Sail’s com­mu­nity links pol­icy, and a won­der­ful ex­am­ple of what is pos­si­ble with com­mu­nity in­ter­ac­tion, Oman­byutmb is also a glow­ing tes­ta­ment to the will­ing­ness of or­di­nary Oma­nis to be in­volved both in the pro­mo­tion of the Sul­tanate, and to share of them­selves with over­seas visitors, dis­play­ing the renowned Omani hos­pi­tal­ity.

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