22:45 GMT +321 February 2019
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    Kaluts at Dasht-e Lut desert north of Shahdad, Kerman province

    Desert Marathon to be Held in Iran in Scorching + 71°C

    © Flickr/ Oliver Laumann
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    The International Desert Marathon is due to be held in Iran in May where participants will race in an inhospitable climate where temperatures rise as high as + 71°C (159.8°F) over a distance of 250 kilometers.

    The marathon has been organized together with the government of Iran and aims to highlight the beauty of the Dasht-e-Lut desert, considered one of the hottest places on earth.

    According to the news agency ISNA, in Europe this marathon is known as the “Silk Road of Iran,” Apart from it being a sporting event the marathon is rather aimed to create a tourist experience, which will be attended by non-professional athletes as well.

    The purpose of the event, according to the participants is the ability to survive in extreme conditions, as well as to find a way out of a difficult situation together, so there are no prizes involved. However, earlier, the authorities of Kerman province said that there will be some reward still.

    Iran is a country with great traditions and culture. The event will bring tourists from all over the world.

    “The marathon will be a great chance to introduce Kerman’s attractions, especially its exquisite and vast deserts, to the world,” the manager of Italian travel agency L’agenzia di Viaggi, Massimo Tardi said Borna News Agency reported.

    Tardi further noted that there is a lack of comprehensive information on Iranian deserts, “Only a handful of people have visited Iran’s deserts in the past decade because of lack of publicity.”

    Italian marathon runner Paolo Bargini in collaboration with an Iranian travel agency will design the event’s program.

    Regarding the marathon Bargini said, “Here the speed is not important. Travelers of the desert have their own rules. Only 20% of the participants are professional athletes who will be interested in speed competition. The rest will come here to assess own capabilities, self-knowledge and familiarity with the country's culture.”

    The distance through the desert lies at 250 km and the participants will have to overcome it in 8 days.

    The path will begin in a caravan (a traditional hotel in the desert) and the participants will complete their journey at another caravan. This journey was made in order to show people all notable stops on the Silk Road.

    The cost of participation in the marathon for Iranians will be 1,000 euros whereas the foreigners will have to pay 2,500 euros. In addition, to participate in the race one does not have to be a professional athlete.

    Anyone can take part in the marathon but they will have to follow three basic guidelines. Electronic devices are not allowed, participants must bring their own food as only water will be supplied by the organizers and participants can only carry a backpack weighing 5-6 kg.

    The desert marathon is considered to be an important world-class event and the last time such an event was held in Morocco and it was attended by 1,400 people.

    Each year a country, often African, is selected to host the desert marathon, however, due to the deteriorating security situation in many parts of Africa and the Middle East this year's marathon will be held in Iran.

    Iran announced that just in time for the marathon, the Lut Desert will be considered by a committee to become a part of the UNESCO Natural Heritage list. Iran expressed hope that these two events will contribute to the growing tourist attraction in the region.


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    marathon, extreme sports, tourism, Iran
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