Complex Made Simple

Record numbers tackle UAE trail running

The North Face Night Rock Run becomes the UAE’s biggest ever trail running event as 500 take part

Trail running climbs closer to becoming the UAE’s fastest growing sport, as a record-breaking 500 participants took on The North Face Night Rock Run on under the guidance of seasoned pro Clare Mullenger.

A combination of fitness fanatics and first-time trail runners enjoyed the unique outdoor adventure experience, traversing Wadi Al Shawka’s dirt tracks, winding trails and tough ridges under the night sky. Kitted out in The North Face’s latest apparel, runners of all fitness and experience levels took on a choice of 5, 10 and 15km distances.

The 15km distance was dominated by James Buchanan in a time of 64 minutes, closely followed by Gerald Routier and Xavier Monbaillard. Bart O’doherty, Leonardo Pace and Si Pepper took first, second and third place respectively in the 10km distance, whilst Augustin Applegate, Ed Brown and Roisin Thomas recorded the top times for the 5km.

Miquel Pancorbo, COO of Sports Division – Gulf Marketing Group commented: “Trail running has experienced huge growth in popularity and demand with the UAE’s desert landscape providing the ideal terrain. It is overwhelming to see tenfold growth in the number of participants since hosting 50 runners at The North Face’s first UAE trail running event one year ago.”

Further proving the sport’s expanding reach, an astonishing 45 nationalities were represented by the 500 runners, with a 50/50 male-to-female ratio.

“We were delighted to see ages ranging from 6-70, as well as an equal number of men and women taking part in a sport that is typically male-dominated,” said Pancorbo.

“The North Face aims to increase access to the sport in a safe and fun way by partnering with organisations such as Urban-Ultra, as well as engaging with influential runners like Clare and thriving local communities like the Dubai Trail Running group,” he added.

Clare Mullenger said: “Trail running provides an opportunity to explore and experience so much more of the UAE’s beautiful and diverse landscape, from mountains and wadis, to farms and villages. It makes you a physically stronger and more self-sufficient runner who listens to their body rather than their wristwatch,” she added. “Through trail running in the UAE I have learned to chase new adventures rather than achieving a few seconds off my ‘personal best’.”

Commenting on the event, Mohammad Baker, Deputy Chairman, Gulf Marketing Group, Said: “It is very encouraging to once again present The North Face event and see large number of participants. This is testament to the success of our community wellness events in the UAE and to The North Face who helped inspire people from within Dubai and the wider UAE community to participate in this weekend’s run.”

On completion, participants enjoyed the stunning desert views at The North Face’s unique campfire area, with a live DJ, BBQ food and refreshments.