Dubai: Organisers of the inaugural Dubai Desert Triathlon believe they may have stumbled across an exciting new concept.

On April 19, more than 200 participants are expected to take part in a first-of-its-kind event, which replaces the swimming stage of a traditional triathlon with endurance horse-riding.

A 25km loop of Dubai International Endurance City (DIEC) on horseback will be followed by a 25km cycling stage at the nearby Al Qudra cycling track and a five-kilometre run through the desert.

The event is held under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and is organised by Dubai Sports Council (DSC) in partnership with Meydan Racecourse.

Participants can enter as part of a team or individually, but those taking part in the horse-riding stage should be registered endurance riders. Men, women and juniors aged 16-18 are encouraged to enter in their preferred disciplines, where they will be linked with entrants to form a team of similar ability if they do not already know a registered endurance rider.

Prizes will be awarded to the fastest team, cyclist, runner and best conditioned horse in male, female and junior categories.

There will also be prizes awarded to the fastest triathlete who competes in all three disciplines also in the above categories.

“The Dubai Desert Triathlon is an innovative concept that combines endurance riding, the heritage of sport in Dubai, with cycling and off road running,” said Nasser Al Rahmah, director of the sports events department at Dubai Sports Council. “This is a new concept that will grow and become popular in the Middle East and beyond. It is another important step in the development of sport in Dubai.”

As this is the first event of its kind, entries are limited based on the number of licensed horses available.

Entries will open on Tuesday, March 11, at