Last Updated on February 7, 2023
Desert races and marathons represent the ultimate challenge for runners facing hostile environments and extreme environmental conditions.
The most famoust desert race is undoubtedly the Marathon des Sables in the Sahara desert in Morocco, but today it is possible to take part in a desert run in several countries around the world.
Below, a list of upcoming desert runs and ultra marathons:
Desert Marathons Worldwide [2023-2024]
DEATH VALLEY TRAIL MARATHON & HALF MARATHON
December 3rd, 2022
Beatty, Nevada (USA)
This scenic wilderness trail run is on a gravel jeep road from Beatty, NV through the picturesque Titus Canyon, finishing in Death Valley (entire run is in Death Valley National Park).
The desert is beautiful this time of year with mild temperatures; lows at night between 30 and 40 degrees and highs during the day from the low-60s to mid-70s.
This is our most spectacular trail event of the year and well worth the weekend away. Truly, an experience you won’t forget.
EILAT DESERT MARATHON
December 16th, 2022
The Desert Marathon in Eilat: The most beautiful and wildest route in Israel!
Join a race that begins in the desert and ends on the Red Sea shore.
The route will lead you on a trek through the mountains surrounding the city of Eilat with their beautiful shades of sand, and breathtaking views to boost runners’ energy.
Come and take part in a huge festival of running in Israel!
DESERT CLASSIC MARATHON
January 28th, 2023
Surprise, Arizona (USA)
The Desert Classic Marathon is an Arizona Road Racers original. Join in on the tradition! The marathon offers a beautiful out-and-back course and offers runners spectacular desert scenery.
The Desert Classic Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K takes runners on a long, mostly straightaway course just to the north of Arizona’s White Tank Mountain Regional Park, a 30,000-acre park filled with rugged, rocky, mountainous terrain and which lies to the west of the Phoenix metro area.
The course is lined with ample views of the majestic mountain scenery in all directions around, as well as the thrill of running through a true arid, desert climate.
OMAN DESERT MARATHON
January 21st – January 24th, 2023
The 8th edition of the Oman Desert Marathon, a 165 km four-stage desert self-sufficient race will be held in the Sultanate of Oman, confirms January 21st to 24th 2023 dates.
With an average high temperature of 25 degrees during the day, and an average low temperature of 17.3°C at night, January offers to the participants of the Oman Desert Marathon the perfect conditions to enjoy the race to the fullest.
DEAD SEA MARATHON
February 3rd, 2023
Ein Bokek, Israel
Israel’s Dead Sea Marathon is a fast race around the shores of the southern Dead Sea up to 21 km on the dike.
The highlight of the race is a run towards the sea on the border embankment of the Dead Sea Works that surrounds the southern part of the Dead Sea.
Only once a year due the security forces permit use of the dikes for sporting purposes and this gives the runners the opportunity to discover breathtaking views that have so far been observed by employees of the Dead Sea factories or security personnel.
The dike serves as the border area between the Israeli Dead Sea and the Jordanian Dead Sea and serves as a barrier without a fence between the two countries that maintain a common and peaceful daily routine.
The route mostly takes place on a dense and flat graveled area and will be secured by the security forces and the army.
The race takes place with the assistance and support of the Israel Chemicals Company, the Dead Sea Drainage Authority and the Government of the Dead Sea Protection Company.
THE PALM DESERT 1/2 MARATHON & 5K
February 12th, 2023
Palm Desert, California (USA)
The Palm Desert 1/2 Marathon & 5K returns to the heart of the desert on Sunday, February 12, 2023! Race the Coachella Valley’s original half marathon, or run/walk our flat, fast 5K course. Kids four to 13 can run our 1K kids run. 1/2 marathon & 5K participants receive an official race t-shirt, finisher medal, timing and post-race food. Kids run participants receive a finisher medal and post-race food. This year will be bigger than ever, so register today and join in on the fun!
THE BORDER TO BADLANDS ULTRA
February 25th, 2023
Comstock, Texas (USA)
Come run through the second largest desert in North America. Seminole Canyon State Park is a prehistoric area dating back 10,000 years. This is where Indigenous people left cave art as evidence of their presence tucked into the weather-beaten Chihuahuan Desert.
Experience the unique desert wildlife and flora. Be awe-inspired by the incredible views of where the Seminole Canyon meets the Rio Grande River. View from a distance, cave art as you traverse this loop course over technical single-track trail and backcountry jeep roads.
This is a bucket list event that you don’t want to miss.
February 28th, 2023
The Sahara Marathon is an international sport event to demonstrate solidarity with the Saharawi people and this year celebrates its twelfth edition.
It’s organized by the Secretary of State for Sport, Government of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic with the help of volunteers from all over the world.
For the promotion and coordination of participants from other countries, the organization also partners with Marie Frison from France, Wolfgang Hoffman from Germany, Oddvar Rosten from Norway and Danielle Smith from England.
The Sahara Marathon, which along with the standard-distance marathon also includes the shorter distances of 21km, 10km, 5km and the children’s race, is aimed at promoting sport activity among Saharawi young men and women and financing and developing humanitarian programs.
But also wants, through sport, raise awareness and sensitize the world about a 35-year-long conflict.
37 years of suffering for a population affected by a conflict that is burying their hopes, generation after generation, in the refugee camps of Tindouf (Algeria), far from their home.
37 years during which the international community has not been able to unlock the situation. A race to prevent the Saharawi people from being forgotten.
Desert R.A.T.S. Trail Running Festival
April 15th – 16th, 2023
Fruita, Colorado (USA)
A weekend of fun and running on the beautiful trails near Fruita, Colorado. The weekend kicks off on Friday night with packet pickup and a pasta dinner.
Saturday is the trail marathon and 50K, followed that night with a racer party at a local brewery. Sunday’s events include a 10K, half marathon and kid’s races.
MARATHON DES SABLES 2023 – MOROCCO
April 21st – May 1st, 2023
Back for its 37th edition, the Marathon des Sables is a six-day, 251 km desert ultramarathon, which is about the distance of six ordinary marathons. The longest leg is 91 km.
This multi-day race takes place every year in southern Morocco, in the Sahara Desert, and it is considered the most challenging foot race in the world.
The 37th MARATHON DES SABLES is a foot race, open to runners and walkers, with several stages, free style, and with food self-sufficiency over a distance of about 250 Km.
Each participant must carry his/her own backpack containing food, sleeping gear and other material.
June 18th, 2023
The Gobi March is a 7-day, 250 km / 155 mile footrace that takes place in the stunning Karakorum region of Central Mongolia.
Through the seven days competitors traverse through the vast Mongolian steppes, sand dunes and great rock valleys as they complete the 250-kilometer / 155-mile course.
The race goes through the Khar Bukh Balgas Fortress, many stupas and temples, traditional Mongolian ger villages, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre of the Orkhon Valley and finally ends at the Ancient City of Karakorum.
LA PISTE DES OASIS – NAMIBIA
La Piste des Oasis organizes desert foot races, especially trail stages in several countries of the world. Today, more than 15 countries.
If you are passionate about sports travel, treks, La Piste des Oasis organizes races in several countries of the world, these races are done in 4 stages, about 100km of adventure.
April 28th – May 4th, 2024
The Namib Race is a 7-day, 250 km / 155 mile footrace that takes place within the oldest desert and the largest dunes in the world.
Through the seven days, competitors experience some of the most stunning and iconic desert landscape.
The course takes you through amazing desert scenery including wide-open red plains, scattered mountain outcrops, huge expanses of dramatic sand dunes, moon-like landscape, Atlantic waves crashing against the sandy desert shore-line, and a fascinating array of plants and animals.
THE NAMIBIA CROSSING
Sendelingsdrif (Republic of South Africa)
A 200km, five-day foot race from South Africa to Namibia through the ancient arid landscape of the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.
From the crystal fields of Sendelingsdrif in South Africa to the infamous giant boulders of Tatasberg deep in the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park; this unparalleled journey then crosses the Orange River into Namibia and the wild lands of the Fish River Canyon.
This is the running experience of a lifetime; this is the this is the Namibia Crossing.
ULTRA MIRAGE EL DJERID 50/100K (UMED)
September 30th, 2023
The Ultra Mirage© El Djerid (UMED) Race series is the first desert Ultra taking place in the stunning Tunisian Sahara desert.
The Event is organised in the Djerid region every first weekend of the month of October.
Both 100km and 50km single stage races take runners across a wide diversity of terrains, ranging from soft sand, small dunes, rocks, dried river beds, oasis…
Both medical and technical help as well as water supply will be available at each checkpoint.
This race is open to all types of athletes, from professional ultra runners to anyone passionate about ultra trails.
JORDAN RUNNING ADVENTURE RACE
October 31st, 2022
Unique and incomparable, The Tendao Running Adventure Races are achievableby all.
Ultra-runners, adventurers, well-trained runners or evenaccompanying people will live huge emotions. Your only one goal will be tofollow the path, to realize your dreams and discover the most beautiful places of the Earth. Three Races are proposed:
100 km in 3 stages or 60 km in 3 stages (the routes are marked) in semi autonomy.
The first (24 km) and third stages (25 km) are common to the 2 races. The second is 51 km for the 100 km race and 11 km for the 60 km race.
185 km non stop with a departure from Petit Petra, a passage in the ancient site of Petra, then a final of more than 100 km in the exceptional Wadi Rum desert!
SAHARA DESERT TREK (GURUN SAHARA) – MOROCCO
26th November, 2022 at 7:00am – 3rd December, 2022 at 6:00pm
Rediscover true adventure in the awe-inspiring Sahara Desert. This five day trek covers 100km; passing through Morocco’s forbidding landscape punctuated by peaks, gorges, dunes and oases.
At night, sleep under Africa’s star strewn skies and enjoy traditional Berber hospitality.
This challenge goes beyond the Jebel Saghro region, starting on the Maider El Kbir plateau, before ascending Jebel El Mrakib, and admiring the stunning views.
Walking through palm gorges, the route joins the dry Rhris River and heads towards an oasis of tamarisk trees.
The final days are spent trekking along the Tikertouachene River, before celebrating a successful end to the challenge in Ouarzazate.
- Cover 100km on this five-day trek
- Pass through valleys, gorges, plateaus, sand dunes and oases
- Climb Jebel Lamrakeb, with incredible views of the region
HALF MARATHON DES SABLES – PERU
December 3rd, 2022
Spend 7 days out of time in the most beautiful places in the world. 4 days of adventure in the middle of the desert, a route divided into 3 stages, 100 or 120km, to be done by running or walking.
Each HMDS includes a majority of walkers, with an average of 50% women and a 94% finisher rate.
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Desert Running Gear
Hanes Men’s Long Sleeve Cool Dri T-Shirt UPF 50+
Little Donkey Andy Men’s Stretch Convertible Pants, Zip-Off Quick-Dry Hiking Pants, UV Protection, Lightweight
Butrends Women’s Hiking Capris Pants Outdoor Zipper Pockets Workout Travel Cargo Pant
Oboz Sawtooth II Low B-Dry
HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 7
Xero Barefoot Shoes Terraflex
75% Merino wool socks
66% Merino wool socks
40% Merino wool socks
Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat
Columbia Unisex Adult Bora Bora Booney
Panama Jack Mesh Crown Safari Sun Hat
SPF 100 Banana Boat Sport Ultra
SPF 100 Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch
SPF 100 La Roche-Posay Anthelios
SPF 110 Neutrogena Age Shield
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