Dubai: Around 3,000 people, including athletes and residents, are taking part in the Sandstorm Marmoum obstacle race on the outskirts of Dubai on Friday, it was announced on Thursday.

The race, taking place at Al Qudra Lakes, features some 40 obstacles dotted across five- and 10-kilometre course distances.

The event is being held under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.

The Obstacle Course Racing World Championships, the obstacle course racing’s independent world championship, has added Sandstorm as a featured qualifying event for the 2017 World Championships.

The top male and female competitors in the 10km circuit in Sandstorm will be sponsored by Dubai Holding’s Wellness Programme to participate in the world championship on October 13-15 in Blue Mountain resort, Ontario, Canada. More information is available on

Participants will run, climb, and crawl through obstacles, like ramps and muddy areas. There will be prizes for the top three finishers in the categories of Individual Male, Individual Female, Corporate Team and UAE National.

Registration for the race is closed. The race will unfold according to the categories and in “waves” of people for crowd-control purposes. However, the first flag-off is scheduled for 8am while the last one is expected to start around 4.30pm.

The event is not just competitive, but includes a “casual” category, and is open to people of all fitness levels and backgrounds. Besides the races, there will be entertainment and food for spectators and visitors to the Race Village leisure area, not far from Sandstorm. Giant screens and drones will provide live footage of the race.

Khalfan Bel Houl, vice-president of strategy at Dubai Holding, which is organising Sandstorm, said at a press conference on Thursday that the event will also see participation from some members of ruling families in the UAE. He added that the aim of the event is to inspire people towards health and fitness as well as provide an opportunity for families to enjoy an outing.

Cedric Betis, chairman of Dubai Holding Wellness Committee, said there was a deeper meaning to the title of the race. He explained that people need to feel “a sandstorm” within themselves to leave their “comfort zone” and lead an active lifestyle.

“‘Sandstorm’ isn’t just about being ‘tough’; it’s about going through your personal journey as well, for your self-development,” Betis added.

Sandstorm marks the 10th-anniversary celebrations of Dubai Holding Corporate Wellness Programme, the “region’s first employee-focused programme of its kind”, Dubai Holding had said in an earlier statement.

Dubai Holding will also host its annual Sky Run — a race up the stairs of Emirates Towers — on March 3, followed by a swim around Burj Al Arab hotel in the end of March or early April, a Dubai Holding employee said during the press conference.